11 November 2016

The Flame

Eight-and-a-half years ago, as I was driving around in my car listening to one of my CDs, I thought to myself, "If there is one person that I would like to see in concert more than any other musician, it is Leonard Cohen.  But that isn't going to happen because he is old and he doesn't tour."  When I got home that day and turned on my computer, a headline popped up that said, "Leonard Cohen Announces World Tour."

I had the opportunity to see him twice in concert - 2008 in Toronto and 2013 in Winnipeg; both memorable evenings.  Then yesterday evening, the news reached the world that Leonard Cohen had died.  I am thankful for everything that I have learned from Leonard Cohen.

This poem wasn't the next one I was planning to share; but in response to the events of the world this week - the US election results, the death of Leonard Cohen, and the death of one of my friends - here is my response.

(Information about the class assignment that this poem comes from can be found here.)

The Flame

Before the beginning, there was darkness
Then God said, “Let there be light.”
            And there was light.
A tiny flame
            flickering in the darkness
            flickering in the chaos
            flickering in the fear.
Shadows dancing.
What is hiding in those shadows?

The bard sings,
            “Magnified, sanctified / Be thy holy name.”
The bard sings,
            “Vilified, crucified / In the human frame.”
The bard sings,
            “We kill the flame.”[1]

Can we kill the flame?
Can our fear
        our chaos
        our darkness
                        overwhelm the light?

The light shines in the darkness
            and the darkness does not overcome it.

[1] Leonard Cohen, “You Want it Darker,” in You Want it Darker (Sony Music Entertainment, 2016), compact disc.

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