Anthem by Leonard Cohen 

[This song was brought to my attention by a reader — Donna L. M. — in a comment on December 6, 2011’s  post.  The words are remarkable. Leonard Cohen is a poet, songwriter, and highly regarded artist from Canada. ]

Here are the lyrics

Anthem

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government —
signs for all to see.

I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring …

You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

[SOURCE: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leonardcohen/anthem.html%5D

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About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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5 Responses to Anthem by Leonard Cohen 

  1. sharonandsal says:

    Good!! Thanks!

  2. When people ask me to name my favorite poet, I always say Leonard Cohen. This is not an admission I neither know nor like Shakespeare, Longfellow, Frost and the others. I do. I do. But Cohen brings out the poet in me on those dry occasions when poems won’t come.

    Here is one of my favorites by Cohen:

    I wonder how many people in this city…

    I wonder how many people in this city
    live in furnished rooms.
    Late at night when I look out at the buildings
    I swear I see a face in every window
    looking back at me
    and when I turn away
    I wonder how many go back to their desks
    and write this down.

    -Leonard Cohen

  3. Paul Wharton says:

    I never thought about city windows quite the same after Hitchcock’s Rear Window. He, too, included himself in his work through his cameo appearances that people waited for in each new movie.

    Did you know that preachers can get preacher’s block?

  4. Kelly Rose says:

    You know, I’ve wondered about that often, … how a preacher finds the material for her Sunday sermon. Meditation and prayer must help? Or angels that come in and our of our lives in the most mundane of days?

    I am not familiar with Leonard Cohen, though I did buy one of his albums years ago because I heard so much about him. I thought he was Buddhist, knew that he had spent nearly a decade at a Buddhist monastery, and yet, reading about his life, it says he is Jewish, that he has never not been Jewish and he sees no conflict in Buddhism with his Jewish faith as there is no deity in Buddhism to which he needs to yield. Interesting.

    I think I will give a listen to his album again.

  5. Donna Musgrave says:

    Richard Rohr, OFM, often writes of the importance of elders in society—those whose vision has expanded to contain more and more truth. We can’t help but be affected when we encounter their radically inclusive spirituality. I guess that’s why I’m drawn to the works of Leonard Cohen and why I’ve come to believe he is one of the true elders among us.

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