Leonard Cohen: How the light gets in…an appreciation
Lucie Snow, November 13th 2016
Election day lingered on as darkness descended on America’s East Coast in the early hours of Wednesday, November 9th, met by the dawning realization that the least-worst candidate had not “won.” The unimaginable was becoming more real by the hour, as the sun rose, harshly outlining the truth of it.
You Want it Darker, the title of Leonard Cohen’s new album and first song, now sounding like a threat fulfilled, met me where I was – sleep-deprived and heavy with disbelief, offering its ‘lullaby for suffering,’ railing and raging against no less a foe than the Creator Himself.
Smiling wryly, I made my way through Cohen’s songs, my appreciation renewed at this time when I needed them most, once again.
From Cohen’s Democracy:
“Democracy is Coming…to the U. S. A… the cradle of the best and of the worst…”
to The Future:
“…Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that’s left
and stuff it up the hole in your culture
Give me back the Berlin Wall
give me Stalin and Saint Paul
I’ve seen the future brother:
it is murder…”
an apocalyptic vision strangely apropos in current circumstances, considering the concern with what the famously temperamental new President-Elect might do with “the codes”…
Cohen’s signature mixture of sacred and profane never fails to delight me, yet I feel we owe him our biggest debt of gratitude for those slivers of hope that shine through, as this one that peers through in The Future:
“…I’ve seen the nations rise and fall
I’ve heard their stories, heard them all
But love’s the only engine of survival…”
Anthem gets my vote for the song for this strange new day:
“…The birds they sang
at the break of day
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in…”
Thank you Mr. Leonard Cohen, for pointing to the light.