Monthly Archives: June 2010

You enter the night

You enter the night,
as a thread enters the needle,
through an opening
propitious or bloody,
through the most luminous breach.
Being both thread and needle,
you enter the night
as you enter yourself.

— Jabés, The Book of Questions (tr. R. Waldrop)

I stopped to listen

I stopped to listen, but he did not come. I began again with a sense of loss. As this sense deepened I heard him again. I stopped stopping and I stopped starting, and I allowed myself to be crushed by ignorance. This was a strategy, and didn’t work at all. Much time, years were wasted in such a minor mode. I bargain now. I offer buttons for his love. I beg for mercy. Slowly he yields. Haltingly he moves toward his throne. Reluctantly the angels grant to one another permission to sing. In a transition so delicate it cannot be marked, the court is established on beams on golden symmetry, and once again I am a singer in the lower choirs, born fifty years ago to raise my voice this high, and no higher.

– Leonard Cohen, Book of Mercy

A question of waiting

‘One morning I awoke and came blinking out of the hole. New again, almost dazzled, I thought of ways to go until again there seemed no way to go. It was still a question of waiting. So I started over, waiting.’

The only poem

This is the only poem
I can read
I am the only one
can write it
I didn’t kill myself
when things went wrong
I didn’t turn
to drugs or teaching
I tried to sleep
but when I couldn’t sleep
I learned to write
I learned to write
what might be read
on nights like this
by one like me

– Leonard Cohen