Shattered Hallelujah: Tribute to Leonard Cohen


Image by Gorupdebesanez, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Shattered Hallelujah

—for Bowie,[1] Cohen,[2] Emerson,[3] and Squire[4]


Darkness closes its fist

over the season, November rain

clamps down the sky,

summer’s cumulus gone.


One by one, the great voices

leave us—shards spun

from the sun,

the mind’s borealis aflame.


When shadows are hip deep,

how do we keep walking?

Will grief leave its breadcrumb trail

out of the forest? How will we sing


when we can’t even cry?

Holy voices, strike flint

in my marrow, lend your breath

to a starving flame.


Teach us the shattered Hallelujah,

that we may fling its broken body

in the face of nights too callous

to hear our shattered prayers.


©2016 / 2017 Sean Arthur Joyce

[1] David Bowie, musician, actor, artist, 1947–2016.

[2] Leonard Cohen, poet, musician, 1934–2016.

[3] Keith Emerson, keyboard player/composer for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, 1944–2016.

[4] Chris Squire, bass player & founding member of the band Yes, 1948–2015.


About seanarthurjoyce

I am a poet, journalist and author with a strong commitment to the environment and social justice. If anything, I have too many interests and too little time in a day to pursue them all. Film, poetry, literature, music, mythology, and history probably top the list. My musical interests lie firmly in rock and blues with a smattering of folk and world music. I consider myself lucky to have lived during the great flowering of modern rock music during its Golden Age in the late 1960s/early '70s. In poetry my major inspirations are Dylan Thomas, Rilke, Neruda and the early 20th century British/American poets: Auden, Eliot, Cummings. My preferred cinema includes the great French auteurs, Kirosawa, Orson Welles, and Film Noir. My preferred social causes are too numerous to mention but include banning GMOs, eliminating poverty (ha-ha), and a sane approach to forest conservation and resource extraction. Wish me—wish us all—luck on that one!
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1 Response to Shattered Hallelujah: Tribute to Leonard Cohen

  1. Ruth Roberts says:

    A fabulous tribute to Leonard Cohen and the mood it creates is suitable to this rainy season.


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