Nov 11 – Veteran’s Day and Leonard Cohen’s passing

Friday,  November 11, 2016  “There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

Last Monday, the day before the election of Donald Trump, Leonard Cohen died.  I am not alone getting the news later (i.e., this morning on NPR).  I was beginning my morning contemplation, taught by St. Ignatius, of attending to my “inner disturbances.”   What wants my inner attention in this place and moment?   Today, Veterans day and Leonard Cohen’s passing are looking for attention.  Amy, a list reader, sent me this email at 5:35 a.m.; like me, she thought LC died last night but media searching tells me that he died November 7.

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“Dear John,

I’m not sure if you know Canadian poet/singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. He just passed last night. His deep, dark poems/lyrics have always struck a chord with me. Here’s a link to him performing one of my favorites. 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.”

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When Cohen wrote “Anthem,”  did he foresee the acute inner disturbances in the wide world of 2016 that may make his hymn so apt this week?  No matter:  “Anthem” works for today’s post.  Best to read the poem out loud with pauses. {“Attention should be paid to some more important places in which I have experienced understanding, consolation, or desolation.” (Ignatius, Spiritual Exercises  # 118)}   Perhaps better to listen to L Cohen perform it in London, 2008 (below).

 

john sj

p.s.       A shout out to Detroit Mercy graduate,  Leonard Cohen fan and  U.S. Air Force Veteran Sarah Shaffer, Peer Counselor, Veterans with PTSD, San Francisco.

p.p.s.    Try to allow the weekend to bless you and the people with whom you share time and place.

Today’s Post,  “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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wRYjtvIYK0

 

leonard-cohen

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