Monday, November 14, 2016

Cohen, Coming To Reward Them

My Friend Leonard Cohen: Darkness and Praise - The New York Times:

Leonard Cohen is dead as of last Tuesday. The song many know him by is "Hallelujah", but generally not with his original words. I've included them below, but you will likely not have any trouble hearing them on Willie's version.

Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
Hallelujah ........
Songwriters: Leonard Cohen 
We won't go into how many evenings I sat in my favorite listening chair in Chatfield in front of my stereo that worked fabulously in that room, producing a wonderful sound stage.  Often with a Scotch or Bourbon, listening to my favorite Cohen song ... but that has been a few years. We moved to Rochester in '95. Here it is ... even better, Stevie Ray Vaughn is playing on this track -- dead at 35, Aug 1990, East Troy WI -- thank God Clapton didn't take that helicopter with him.

My favorite line then with more than a decade at IBM at that time, was "they sentenced me to 20 years of boredom, for trying to change the system from within. We're coming now, we're coming to reward them ...." Still thought IBM was "fixable" up to somewhere between 25 and 30 years of my career.

Has Trump come to "reward us"? Politically, H W Bush through BO was nearly 30 years of "boredom" for me -- a sense of America as a lost and dying idea. All growth involves risk, and fear is ALWAYS a sign of potential growth. Of disaster and death as well, but as we slide toward winter, we all know that death is part of the promise of life.

I loved this tribute to Leonard in the article.
“Man was born for toil, since his perfection is always being actualized but is never actual,” he observed in an essay on frivolity. “And insofar as he attains perfection, something is missing in him.
After 3 weeks of classes (over a week ago last Friday), where I told my story and listened to many others, this one last Cohen song has to be included .... It is also a long time favorite in which the speakers in my room dissolved and Jennifer was standing right in front of me.

So many hearts I find, broke like yours and mine
Torn by what we've done and can't undo ... 

I love his complexity, his Judaism, his darkness.

Leonard wrote and sung often about God, but I am not sure what he meant by it. Whatever it was, it inspired “If It Be Your Will,” his most exquisite song. He sought recognition for his fallenness, not rescue from it. “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” He once told an interviewer that those words were the closest he came to a credo. The teaching could not be more plain: fix the crack, lose the light.
I'd say that there is a Christ shaped hole in every soul. We have lots of "cracks" -- and we do need to admit that -- frequently. On our knees at communion ... some of us have more cracks than others.

But acceptance that we are broken is the big step -- I pray that it was enough for Leonard to come to reward the hosts in Heaven.

'via Blog this'

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