Shattered Hallelujah: Tribute to Leonard Cohen

Shattered Hallelujah


Darkness closes its fist

over the season, November rain

clamps down the sky, the day

awash in night’s wreckage.

Summer’s cumulus gone, clouds

prick my bones with steely fingers,

a flute straining for music.


One by one, the great voices

leave us—Bowie,[1] Cohen,[2] Emerson,[3]

Squire[4]—shards spun

from the wheel of light,

setting the mind’s borealis aflame.


When shadows are hip deep,

do we keep walking? Or learn

to swim, eyeless in the depths?

If we befriend grief, will it leave

a bread crumb trail out of the forest?


How will we sing when we can only

cry? O voices of the holy word,

the holy song, strike flint in my marrow,

lend your breath to a starving flame,

warm away the moisture

that creeps beneath the skin.


Teach us again the shattered Hallelujah,

that we may fling its broken body

in the face of remorseless gods

and starless nights.


©2016 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!
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One 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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s