May 2, 2010

The Great Souls of Our Era: Leonard Cohen Sings "Anthem"

Deeply moving. See him now. We shall not see his like again.

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.

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.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 2, 2010 2:26 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Never cared too much for this guy except for four or five songs. But you're telling me he's the real thing? I'll take another look.

Posted by: see-dubya at May 2, 2010 5:15 AM

I shall have to be content with seeing Van Morrison next weekend.

I never knew of Leonard Cohen until you pointed him out to your readers. That's what comes of never having been cool. *sigh*

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at May 2, 2010 6:38 AM

He is the real deal. Has been for decades. This last tour just sealed that deal.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 2, 2010 7:46 AM

Yes! Can't imagine not getting through my still formative years without Dylan and Cohen. If I had to choose, I'd pick Leonard. The man caressed my sad, broken heart like no other.

Posted by: Mizz E at May 2, 2010 10:07 AM

Grace incarnate. Holy humility. I - can pinpoint the moment I became an adult, lying on the gymnasium floor with my eyes shut listening to Susanne. If ever there was a need for aesthetic bookmarks in my life, Leonard Cohen is that, to me. I do have to wonder what that says to me about the oncoming ending of things....

Posted by: anonys at May 2, 2010 11:06 AM

Leonard Cohen defines the concept of sui generis. Thanks for this, Gerard.

I don't know much, but I do know my music. The truly great song, the best of the best of those we know as "standards" have a human heart that stands so strong that they show that heart best and strongest when all that is superfluous is pared from them. Let me share this with you as thanks.

As a young man I used to occasionally eat breakfast next to a battered piano in an off-campus gyro joint and hash house that once housed a young band of callow Hoosiers bent on world domination and good times, though not necessarily in that order. It is said that one of those callow Hoosiers wrote this song on that piano.

Meet two young Austrians whose hearts have been conquered by the power in this old tune.

Posted by: mezzrow at May 2, 2010 3:32 PM

I don't think his art has any staying power. I'm Canadian and we've been listening to him up here for nearly 50 years. Or more.

However, back in the day, 1971 to be exact, I was in Montreal and found a slim volume of "The Love Poems of Leonard Cohen", ore something similar, being remaindered for $.50 a copy. I and a friend bought 5 each on the theory that they would prove efficacious gifts to young ladies.

They were, Holy Cow, were they ever.

Posted by: Fred Z at May 2, 2010 8:57 PM

Great musical poetry, Gerard, rendered with great dignity and quiet authority, but with gentle humility; a tuning fork for the Universal Force that we will can never fully know, but can always feel if we take time listen to messengers like LC and his ensembles. Staying power? Not if the eye of the beholder is dim and ear of the listener deaf Fred Z. Turn your brain on and your dick off occasionally, or at least let the former drive the latter, rather than vice versa.

Posted by: Frank P at May 3, 2010 5:03 PM