Tag Archives: Leonard Cohen

Psalm/Psong for April 24 – “Dance Me to the End of Love” as sung by The Civil Wars

Here we are at Easter. My Lenten project is complete.

I had a longer reflection written about Easter and what I think it’s about. Unfortunately, I think I left it at work. So, I’ll have to adapt it for another day, or wait a year, or put it in the book I’m working on. Or maybe all three.

So I’ll just reiterate what PW has been saying for years. Easter isn’t about the resuscitation of a particular body of a particular man almost 2000 years ago. Easter is about remembering all the ways in which Love is STILL stronger than death, humiliation, defeat, shame, oppression, and degradation. But it’s not magic. It’s hard work, and so it’s why many of us go to church. We practice it in church so that we can find the strength to go out into the world with that same leaning forward into the hope of Love.

My spiritual advisor once exclaimed to me, after I told him a story about a man who has a bit of a crush both on PW and me: “Well, he’s clearly in love with you. With BOTH of you! And why not? Isn’t that why we come to church in the first place — to learn how to fall in love with each other?!”

It took me more than 50 years of church-going to hear that proclaimed as a reason to go to church. It’s so good, I don’t want to keep it to myself. So Happy Easter everyone. Let’s get out there and dance the world to the end of love. May it be so.

Lyrics to “Dance Me to the End of Love,” written by Leonard Cohen:

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love, dance me to the end of love

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Oh dance me to the end of love, dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above
Dance me to the end of love, dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I’m gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love,dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

“It’s the cracks that really matter”

When I was in college, if I needed to remember some quote or fact or line of reasoning, I would try to find a way to turn it into a song I could sing. I have a distinct memory of sitting on the bus with my basketball team, traveling to Northampton to play against Smith College, and laboring to turn some passage from Freud into a song so that it would stick in my brain. It must not have been a very good song (consider the source text!), because more than 30 years later I remember only the cover of the book, the smell and cacophony of the bus, and the drama of the game.

Here’s a truth that can be excruciatingly hard to remember and hold onto. Thankfully, the poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen has inspired many other songwriters and singers, like Thea Gilmore. Thanks to Thea Gilmore, we have this new mnemonic:

Lyrics for “How the Love Gets In” by Thea Gilmore:

When the night is black and the fires are out
When the reason why is the only doubt
When the engine’s fine but the tires are bare
When the bets are off but the odds were fair

That’s how the love gets in
That’s how the love gets in
Ooh Ooh Ooh
That’s how the love gets in.

When your load is light but your feet are stone
When that old white rag makes your heart its home
When the road is clear but the bridge is closed
When you learn to dance but the music slows

Ooh Ooh Ooh
That’s how the love gets in.
Ooh Ooh Ooh
That’s how the love gets in.
Ooh Ooh Ooh
That’s how the love gets in.

So raise a glass for how it shatters
‘Cause it’s the cracks that really matter.

When the strings are new but the neck is bent
When your master plan was just an accident
When your heart is whole but your soul is shot
You’re singing in tune but you’re sure you’re not
That’s how the love gets in [repeat until done]