Halleluyah For Leonard

On November 9th, our world was astounded by the sharp turn of events known as the 2016 American elections. Whoever we voted for…we all ended up shocked. Into that messy mix of emotions we learned the news of the passing of an unmatched poet of our era – our very own priestly Leonard Cohen, obm. Since his passing there has been a tidal wave of renderings of his beloved masterpiece, Halleluyah. The poet’s prayerful hymn somehow captured the heart of the world with a surging soaring Halleluyah as version upon version of this song erupted on our computer screens. Each one a stirring reminder of life’s exquisite complexity. Each one a hope. Each one a blessing. I have attached some of the more sublime versions below. And I add this little sliver of a poem to the rising chorus of ¬†Halleluyah.

For Leonard

I heard there was a troubadour
whose sacred chords
a shattered world…
Whose snuffed candle
a thousand flames.
Whose single hand
the Holy Name.

But you don’t really pay
your prophets
do ya?

I heard there was a path to Light
where all beasts
wrong from right
where ancient secrets
sold out
grocery stores
and the richest orbs
only the poor could afford…

But you don’t really dare to shop there, do ya?

It goes like this…
first we break
then we lift.
The husks of light
burst from our baffled lips
and on our broken wings
are born the barest of

So take a look at that sacred book
there by your bed.
It’s the very same one that Leonard read…
It’s used for the worst
in the name of the best.
A torch to scorch
or a blaze to bless.
But don’t let its baggage
blind ya
– it’s a treasure chest.
Just like the Cohen said,

Now hold that hymnal close
and chorus in
dare to boast and blare
the holy hymn…
Put to use the cracks
where the light gets in
’cause, did I mention,

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For just as the darkness sets in its teeth
A flame is born
from the passing Priest
and from our million mouths
are torn a tortured mourn of

Calling us to sing yet another round
to share the links
and rally ’round
this unceasing priestly sound of

Leonard could do it…
May we inherit his skill
And quickly,
before all the priests are killed….
Fill our mouths
to the limit
that mouths may fill
– with Halleluyahs.

In memory of Leonard Cohen obm, Nov.7th 2016