Leonard Cohen, Rest In Peace
As written recently by Jonathon Van Maren, "For all his many faults, Cohen is nothing if not unblinking. His work shows a clear and progressively growing disillusionment with our throwaway culture’s crude approach to everything good and beautiful, and his words often smolder with contempt.
"In Diamonds in the Mine, for example, he mourned the transformative effect of the Sexual Revolution on people:
Ah, there is no comfort in the covens of the witch,
some very clever doctor went and sterilized the bitch,
and the only man of energy, yes the revolution's pride,
he trained a hundred women just to kill an unborn child.
"Such lines have attracted the ire of some of his feminist fans, who began to identify an anti-abortion ethic throughout his work. One pointed to Cohen’s The Story of Isaac, where he condemns those who 'stand above them now, your hatchets blunt and bloody':
You who build these altars now
To sacrifice these children,
You must not do it anymore.
A scheme is not a vision.
"Another (feminist) wrote that Cohen’s famous Dance Me To The End Of Love was suspect because of these lines:
Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love....
"More revealingly and certainly more grotesquely, a third pro-choice writer claimed that Cohen was condemning abortion in Teachers:
Some girls wander by mistake
into the mess that scalpels make.
"Cohen’s vision and insight are so far removed from the jingles produced by the shallow and interchangeable faces of today’s musical marionettes that his words become riveting. Cohen sees more than most poets, and certainly more than most musicians. He sees the ugliness lurking just beneath the buzz of the mad pursuit of pleasure, and he sees the bloody hangover in the haze of the horizon. His lines bemoan the loss of innocence, and he conjures up the image of tiny humans in trash bins on street corners, and he warns us that innocence discarded leads to innocents destroyed.
"And though he is not a Christian, at one point in his dystopian vision there is a crack, and the light gets in: The choice that stands before the world, he writes, is 'Hiroshima or Christ.'" Leonard Cohen against the sexual anarchists
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 you
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