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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cohen, for Real Toads weekend challenge

Kim has provided two versions of the song Hallelujah to prompt members and participants in the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads to write a poem of praise this weekend.
Wikipedia photo,
album cover circa 1980s
The song was written after much struggle and many rewrites by Canadian singer-songwriter-poet-author Leonard Cohen and became, to the world, much more than a single track on a 1984 Cohen album.
It has been covered so often, and changed so often, that more than 300 versions of it now exist: many, or even most of them, Christian, despite having been written by an observant Jew who is also a Zen-Buddhist.
Kim says of this challenge: "To inspire your own rendition of praise, I share two videos. Watch them. Feel the emotion in each. Hear the beauty in both. Become inspired."

I know Leonard Cohen suffered from depression, and his early works often contained themes of self-harm and suicide. My poem today is in praise of Cohen himself, a man who triumphed over his doubts and fears to become one of the most honored and decorated men in my country today. 
Wikipedia says of him "Leonard Norman Cohen, CC GOQ (born 21 September 1934) is a Canadian Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. Cohen has been inducted into the AmericanRock and Roll Hall of Fame and both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honour. In 2011, Cohen received a Prince of Asturias Award for literature."

I have used many words and phrases taken from the video of Leonard Cohen performing the song as he wrote it. My poem suggests that there was a time or more when his faith was gone. I don't know that it ever was, but I suspect it because of his history of depression.

Wikipedia photo
Leonard Cohen, 2008
The Word

Leonard Cohen knew the word
he knew the only word
was hallelujah
when his faith was gone
he needed proof
he stood and cried
upon the roof
and tried to find
deep in his mind
the note that made them sing oh hallelujah
he cursed the crowd
and pulled his hair
and from his lips he drew a hallelujah
but wondered if it was the chord
that David played, that pleased the Lord
or was it just a lonely hallelujah
a brilliant, lonely singer’s hallelujah?
Kay Davies, December, 2013          

19 comments:

Sam Edge said...

perfect Kay. from top to bottom a great poem and tribute to our boy Leonard.

Susan said...

O. Kay.
I believe this is exactly right.
Further, I totally love it!
And I think he would too.
Thank you.

Jo said...

Hi Kay, perfect poem to honor this talented man. To overcome depression and obstacles with music was obviously the way to go for him. I prefer his recent photos (2008) to the cover pictures of him in the eighties. There he certainly looks tortured. Hope you're all three having a really wonderful weekend. (((Hugs))) Jo

Susie Clevenger said...

Such a beautiful tribute Kay

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Love his Hallelu ya.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Extraordinary Kay!!! That's all I can say...your words/poetry is EXTRAORDINARY.

Robert Bourne said...

I have to concur with the others perfect poem...

Grace said...

I like how you used the lyrics of the songs to honor the man ~ Very well done Kay ~ Happy Sunday and hope you are keeping warm, smiles ~

Björn said...

This I think hits home just like the song itself.. works almost like a condensation of Cohen's work.. and I believe you have really pinned the real thing behind the song..

Helen said...

Kay, he is indeed a treasure .. I have many of his CDs and never tire of listening .. especially his early work. There are not enough superlatives in our language to convey my admiration. Your poem is the loveliest of tributes!!

Tammy said...

Oh, Kay. Your poem gave me chills just as the song does!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This captures the tone of the song, and I suspect, the cry of his heart, to perfection, Kay. Wowzers!

Dimple said...

I have been a fan of Leonard Cohen, and learned some of his songs when I was younger. But I didn't know, until today, that this song was his. It brought tears to my eyes, and praise to my lips. Thanks for the link to the videos.
Your poem echoed the song, and also the singer.
Blessings--

Peggy said...

Lovely tribute Kay. I also enjoyed reading about Cohen and his background as I must be one of the few around who was not aware of him and his music in his younger years.

Fireblossom said...

"You don't know me from the wind/ you never will, you never did/ I'm the little Jew who wrote the bible"

Just another of his clever and twisty lyrics! You have told me much that I didn't know about LC, Kay. I know his music very well, but almost nothing about the man himself. It's interesting to find out about his struggle with depression, something know about personally.

Mama Zen said...

What a great take on the prompt, Kay! I think this is beautiful.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Very well done, Kay.

Hannah said...

Such an informative and loving tribute post, Kay...well done.

Kay said...

This is absolutely beautiful, Kay. Do you know the first time we heard about Leonard Cohen was when we were in Canada. He was having his last tour or something like that in Vancouver (I think). We met a young girl who came all the way up from South America just to see his concert.