The Songs We Will Sing,

#55: Leonard Cohen: Anthem:1992.

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Leonard Cohen’s most famous song is Hallelujah and we will talk about it one day but for today I want to discuss Cohen’s deeply moving, Anthem. Cohen said this song took 10 years to write, it was released on The Future album in 1992. The lyrics are dark, they paint a pretty bleak picture of life but always with a glimmer of hope. One could say Cohen was prophetic for many of the dark words he wrote in reference to political and social unrest, today 30 years later, many folk would say are just too true.

Cohen is up there with Bob Dylan as one of the most influential musicians of his time. Like Dylan, Cohen was a poet / song writer; his lyrics had something to say and he covered all sorts of topics; brokenness, death, depression, isolation, loss, lonliness, heartache, religion, relationships, romance, sexuality, war and violence. He was a highly intelligent man with an obvious love for words and a deep, thoughtful mind expressed through his songs, poetry and literature, often the result of personal experience.

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. This is Cohen wisdom!

Ring the bells that still can ring: There are still bells of truth that can ring and it is our responsibility to ring them, loud and clear, because folks are listening for them.

Forget your perfect offering Our offering can never be perfect. We are imperfect beings but that should never stop us from offering what we are able, if done with a pure heart, it will be good enough!

There is a crack, a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in. We are all broken and when we realise that, that is when the light gets in. I would say also that when people have been cracked, when they have had to face their worst fears and come through them without bitterness or rancour, that is also how the light gets out! Think of anyone you know who has suffered and if they have come through wiser and kinder, they are going to be some of the most beautiful and “lit” people you will ever meet.

Born into a Canadian Orthodox Jewish family, taken to Catholic church by his nanny and dabbling in Zen, Cohen was always searching for spiritual meaning. In aligning himself with brokenness he also recognises the brokenness of Christ for our sakes. Religion, Old Testament Biblical knowledge and his constant search for meaning found a way into the words of his song writing. He began his singing career at the age of 33, somewhat reluctantly, after realising that although his poetry and novels were being well received, there just wasn’t enough in them, at the time, to pay the bills. I am sure Leonard Cohen’s words will be listened to, mulled over, discussed and find meaning in many hearts for many years to come. He passed away in Los Angeles in November 2016 at the age of 82.

As always there is much that can be read about Leonard Cohen in the public space on the WWW. I encourage you to have a read. A very interesting man!

You will have to open this link But it sure will be worth it.https://youtu.be/48AJBXs5dNc

Leonard Cohen – Anthem HD 1080 (w/lyrics) London 2008

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