Saturday, March 25, 2023

Leonard Cohen's poetic Hallelulah - what a beautifully moving start to my Saturday morning (with lyrics and meanings)

I came across this version that was in a comment on a Facebook post and I'm so glad I listened to it.

Leonard Cohen writes such amazing poetry for lyrics. I have much respect for him and his talent.

This particular version was so beautiful and moving! It made my Saturday morning that's for sure. Brilliant.

This will give a different version but since the link is broken above, I provided this one.

The meanings behind Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah:

The song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen is a complex and poetic expression of love, loss, faith and doubt. It uses biblical imagery and references to explore the themes of human relationships, sexuality, spirituality and redemption. The word "hallelujah" itself means "praise the Lord" in Hebrew, but Cohen uses it in different ways throughout the song, sometimes ironically, sometimes sincerely, sometimes joyfully and sometimes sorrowfully¹²⁴⁵.

Cohen wrote many verses for the song, some of which he never recorded or performed. He also changed the lyrics over time, depending on his mood or the context. He once said that the song was about "the baffled king composing hallelujah", referring to King David, who was a musician and a poet in the Bible⁴. He also said that the song was about "absolute surrender in a situation you cannot fix or dominate" and that it was a way of embracing "the whole mess" of life⁵.

The song has been covered by many artists, such as John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright and others, each giving their own interpretation and emotion to the song. The song has also been used in various movies, TV shows and events, such as Shrek, Scrubs and the Haiti earthquake relief concert²³. The song has become a cultural phenomenon and a source of inspiration for many people around the world.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 3/25/2023(1) The Meaning and History of the Song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen. Accessed 3/25/2023.
(2) Behind The Meaning of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. Accessed 3/25/2023.
(3) Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen song) - Wikipedia. Accessed 3/25/2023.
(4) “Hallelujah”: One of the Greatest Songs Explained. Accessed 3/25/2023.
(5) The True Meaning Behind Leonard Cohen’s Song “Hallelujah” - Chaospin. Accessed 3/25/2023.

Additional detail about Cohen's writing of Hallelujah:

by Auld Reekie »

In an interview in the magazine "The Word" (July 07) Leonard was asked what had been the longest gestation period for one of his songs.
"Hallelujah was at least five years. I have about 80 verses for it."
And later.
"I just took the six verses out of the many that establish some kind of coherence for the song. But there are many. The trouble is that I have to finish the verse before I can discard it."
I wonder if there is any chance these discarded verses will ever see the light of day? I'd love to read them.

Known lyrics to the song from the

Post by secretchord »
these are the lyrics as they are on Various Positions

Now 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

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
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, 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
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah...

these are the additional lyrics as per Cohen Live (and Jeff Buckley et al); there are rumoured to be many more verses but these are the ones also that appear in Stranger Music so if there are any more available I don't know where they are

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
love is not a victory march
it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, 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?
And remember when I moved in you
the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
but all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's no complaint you hear tonight
It's not some pilgrim who's seen the light
it's a cold and it's a lonely(/broken )Hallelujah
...that David played and it pleased the Lord...

Interesting discussion of this last stanza:

by hydriot »

It's interesting that every cover I have heard deletes the crucial 'at' from "Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you", changing the meaning completely. Leonard never suggested you can actually hit someone who has outdrawn you! For me, to shoot futilely in the general direction of someone you know has already outdrawn you is a powerful metaphor for the desperate tiny hope that survives even the most absolute rejection of your love. Nothing of that sense comes through in the covers. In their versions, this line is totally incomprehensible.

by lennywatson »

There is something powerful in the image of the futile shot fired at someone who outdrew you. But there is a different power in learning (from love) how to shoot somebody who outdrew you. To me this line is not about rejection of love, but about the end of love. About after years of being together, learning the terrible talent of hurting someone who has already destroyed you.

Link to Leonard Cohen's song index:

The more I searched, the more I enjoyed the discussion.

Enjoy this day. Love and blessings to you.


Reiki Master Nan

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