I imagine that there are some poetry purists who don’t consider Leonard Cohen a great poet and in my opinion they are wrong. Cohen is in my opinion one of the great poets of his time and the fact that they are expressed musically, adds rather than detracts from his artistry. One of Cohen’s great songs “Hallelujah” was first released in 1984, but received little attention until Jeff Buckley recorded it in 1991. The animated movie “Shrek” where it was used, ignited the song’s fame to iconic status. Cohen has said he is “sick” of the song, because in its widespread popularity and the misinterpretation of what it is really about. The song is about sexuality and the sexual relationship between men and women. Yet it is often thought to be about religion, because of its title and reference to King David of the Torah and its title. It is because so many mistake what the song is about, that it was even specially played for Pope Francis during his last visit, that I’m presenting the lyrics first so you can decide for yourself what it’s about. Then Leonard Cohen singing this wonderful piece of poetry that expresses so much truth about human relationships.


Well 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?
Well it goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah


Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and 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

But baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
You know, I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah


Well there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me do ya
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah


Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya

And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah


I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried 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 tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah