For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Monday, 22 December 2008

A Blaze Of Light In Every Word


Hallelujah

I've heard there was a secret chord
that David played to please the Lord,
but you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth,
the minor fall, the major lift;
the baffled king composing Hallelujah!

Your faith was strong but it needed proof.
You saw her bathing on the roof;
her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you.
She tied you to a kitchen chair,
she broke your throne, she cut your hair,
and from your lips she drew the Hallelujah!

You say I took the Name in vain;
I don't even know the name.
But if I did, well, really, what's it to you?
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 learned to touch.
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you.
And even though it all went wrong,
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
with nothing on my lips but Hallelujah!


(additional verses)

Baby, I've been here before.
I know this room, I've walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch,
but love is not a victory march,
it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah!

There was a time you let me know
what's really going on below
but now you never show it to me, do you?
I remember when I moved in you,
and the holy dove was moving too,
and every breath we drew was Hallelujah!

Now maybe there's a God above
but all I ever learned from love
is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.
And it's no complaint you hear tonight,
and it's not some pilgrim who's seen the light -
it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah!

From Leonard Cohen's Stranger Music: Selected Poems And Songs (1993)

These lyrics are so good I'm still completely awestruck by them - even after listening to different people sing different versions of this song for many years.

2 comments:

Alan Sloman said...

Agree - totally! Those additional verses...

swiss said...

you're not wrong. what's more, easy to leant and sing. badly! lol