How the light gets in

One of my favorite songs is Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem.” I discovered it via Louise Penny’s book How the Light Gets In; the title is a phrase from a line in the song that is one of my all-time favorites, “There is a crack in everything / that’s how the light gets in.”

Cohen’s death last week made me think of the song again and the more I thought about it, the more it resonated with me. As a citizen of the United States, it’s been a tough week. I’ve been in mourning, not because the candidate I supported for president didn’t win—this has happened more often than not since I started voting—but because the election results made me feel we had betrayed our ideals and principles. Add to that a family crisis and being sick (which is minor in the greater scheme of things, but doesn’t help) and I have been down-hearted and discouraged.

But back to the song—thinking about it made me think about light and hope and courage, hence this gallery.

Click (or double-click, depending on your device) on any image to launch the slideshow.

“Anthem”

Leonard Cohen

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I seem to hear them say
Do not dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.
 
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
 
We asked for signs
the signs were sent
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government —
signs for all to see.
 
I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.
 
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
 
You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
on your little broken drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.
 
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

 

Louise Penny. How the Light Gets In. Minotaur Books, 2013.

Images © Melissa Corcoran.

2 thoughts on “How the light gets in

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