Glory be, Hallelujah; glory our broken bodies and broken gods, a poem

leonard

Walkers are lined-up neat by the dining room,
like race horses at the starting gate and the
Asians wear crosses, insured by Christianity.
The Europeans find comfort in Vipassana,
Savor the ironies. Hallelujah. Glory be!

Glory be, Hallelujah; glory our broken bodies
and the broken gods that haunt our lives
Praise in all perfect and fractured Hallelujahs

At three they’re viewing Brokeback Mountain,
but I’m staying in my room, playing Hallelujah!
Compressor humming in the background.
I’m just toking O2, pondering the complexities,
savoring the ironies. Hallelujah. Glory be!

Glory be, Hallelujah, glory the broken bodies
and the broken gods that haunt our lives
Praise in all perfect and fractured Hallelujahs

“Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means ‘Glory to the Lord.’ The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.” Leonard Cohen (b. 1934), Canadian musician, singer/songwriter, poet and novelist

© 2016, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


The recommended read for this week is Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast by Pulitzer Prize winning Megan Marshall who studied with Bishop at Harvard. This biography is richly spun,  energetic, engaging and even inspirational despite the breathtaking depth of Bishop’s losses, her sense of marginalization and her head-long push into alcoholism. Indeed, some of the inspiration comes because with all her loses, Bishop managed to hold poetry tight. Her poems were for her a charm “against the loneliness they often expressed.” The book covers Bishop’s relationships with other poets and her romantic interests, the last was for me the singular wearisome downside, much overrided though by the book’s pleasures and values. It is laced with Marshall’s own stories and together the lives of these two bare witness to the power of words to give shape, sense and meaning to life. We come away with a strong sense of Elizabeth Bishop, one of America’s most extraordinary poets. A page-turner. A must read or everyone who loves and writes poetry.

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