Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen

Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen


“This song is included here in remembrance  of Joe K., who never made it to the rooms. Children of the 60’s Cultural Revolution, Joe and I had much in common, not the least of which was our desire to change the world, our love for the same woman, and, of course, the bottle.  When “it all went wrong” as Leonard Cohen puts it, I found a solution in AA, where I eventually learned to make it right. True to the rebel still in him, Joe sought a solution in Paris. Whatever answer he might have been searching for, it seems to have eluded him there. Alcohol followed his every step, robbing him of his spirit and finally of his life. In keeping with his wish, they played “Hallelujah” at his funeral. Exactly what the song said to him I don’t know. But to me it revealed a vulnerability I had never seen in Joe, an awareness if not an admission of his own brokenness. Behind the facade of anger and defiance, Joe was after all just another suffering alcoholic. I could now identify with him. He now lives in the song for me. And so I honor his memory with it. 

Hallelujah, Lyrics

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased 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"
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Your faith was strong but you 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 and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Now, maybe there's a God above
As for me all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
But it's not a cry that you hear tonight
It's not some pilgrim who claims to have seen the light
No, it's a cold and it's a very broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Halleluja
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Oh people, I’ve been here before
I know this room, and I've walked this floor
You see, I used to live alone before I knew you
And I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But this isn’t love, love is not some kind of victory march
No, it's a cold and it's a very lonely Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now, now you never even show it to me, do you?
I remember when I moved in you
The holy dove she was moving too
And every single breath that we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
I’ve done my best, I know it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I learned to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come here to London just to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand right here before the Lord of Song
With nothing, nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

To listen to Hallelujah,  or return to The Language of the Heart, please click on link.