There’s a light at the end of the digestive tunnel. (Sorry, can’t resist.) Four bowls of broth, two teas, a bit of jello, four glasses of water and an Italian ice have all made it past my pancreas, now once again the cooperative beast it was for close to 61 years before it revolted a week ago, dropping me into a trough of pain and inconvenience.
In the morning I get my first solid food, then start careful eating habits for the duration. If my pancreas agrees, I’m outa here by noon.
Which brings me to this comment by my buddy Chip, pointing to Leonard Cohen performing his song Hallelujah on German television, I’d guess in the mid-80s. (Cohen wrote the song in ’84.) It blew my mind. Cohen is a transcendant poet and songwriter, but also a performer of such unusual calm and grace that I’m stunned by how well his schtick works, even in a hokey TV stage setting.
And these lyrics just give me chills:
|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 told the truth. I didn’t come to fool ya.
And even though it all went wrong,
I’ll stand before the lord of song
with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.
“Hallelujah” has been covered out the wazoo. It’s the Pachelbel Canon of poetic ballads. On YouTube alone, you’ll find outstanding covers by the quartet of Kurt Nilsen, Espen Lind, Askil Holm and Alejandro Fuentes, the Shrek soundtrack, Allison Crowe, Sheryl Crowe, Damien Lieth, Rufus Wainwright, Bon Jovi, Amanda Jenssen, k.d. lang, k.d. lang (again), The OC, Jeff Buckley (many from him) John Cale…
I’ve listened to all of them, some several times, and still I like Cohen’s the best, maybe because his is the only one with the lines I quoted above.
Among my resolutions for life after Liberation is to sustain my love of music, rekindled here in the hospital. It’s not hard, that love. We all have it. Maybe that’s why I like the opening stanza of “Hallelujah”, as everybody sings it. Dig.
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