Leonard Cohen, Book of Mercy, 12

I draw aside the curtain. You mock us with the beauty of your world. My heart hates the trees, the wind moving the branches, the dead diamond machinery of the sky. I pace the corridor between my teeth and my bladder, angry, murderous, comforted by the smell of my sweat. I weakened myself in your name. In my own eyes I disgraced myself for trusting you, against all evidence, against the prevailing winds of horror, over the bully’s laughter, the torturer’s loyalty, the sweet questions of the sly. Find me here, you whom David found in hell. The skeletons are waiting for your famous mechanical salvation. Swim through the blood, father of mercy. Broadcast your light through the apple of pain, radiant, sourceless, source of light. I wait for you, king of the dead, here in this garden where you placed me, beside the poisonous grass, miasmal homesteads, black Hebrew gibberish of pruned grapevines. I wait for you in the springtime of beatings and unnecessary death. Direct me out of this, O magnet of the falling cherry petals. Make a truce between my disgust and the impeccable landscape of fields and milky towns. Crush my swollen smallness, infiltrate my shame. Broken in the employment of my soul, I have driven a wedge into your world, fallen on both sides of it. Count me back to your mercy with the measures of a bitter song, and do not separate me from my tears.

Leonard Cohen, Book of Mercy, 12

5 thoughts on “Leonard Cohen, Book of Mercy, 12

  1. I see it as reflecting perhaps the harshness that our inner voices can impose and the harshness that we see around us impacting the vulnerable. Yet, ultimately, I find it hopeful: “Count me back to your mercies.” I see this as helping me to overcome the harshness of my inner critic – “crush my swollen smallness, infiltrate my shame” – but never separate me from my tears, my empathy.

    It is a realistic, beautiful commentary on the need to wrestle with inner demons and critics and come through in hope, without being blind to the pain and sadness around us. At least, that is my take. Thanks for posting Brian. Very thought provoking.

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