Singing the Praise of "Hallelujah" [poem]

I hand you several variations
of the same song; each time
lyrics change, something new
is found, previously undiscovered
but nonetheless intangibly true.
John Cale slipped past Scripture
to modern pain. Buckley’s
single, weary sigh betrayed
the tenderness and vulnerability
that later led him to embrace waves.

These words reflect my heart, as I
hope they approach your own.
The search for the undefinable,
desired impossibles lived
and breathed within a single life.

k. d. lang approaches contentment
or easy acceptance. Her voice
cascades across notes
glides amongst emotions.

I know I am far from the first
to hear these words of
the unattainable and think
immediately of you.

Maybe it sounds best in
Cohen’s original; grave tones
expressing the gritty reality
that even his words
struggle to explain.

When I think of you,
I can block out Cale’s
singular vision, Buckley’s
openness, lang’s sweet
caresses, but Cohen’s
words remain.

Because I cannot pretend
to misunderstand
words I have memorized.

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