The bells that still can ring

Sunrise at Wenderholm, north of Auckalnd, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

“The birds they sang at the break of day.Β  Start again I heard them say. Don’t dwell on what has passed away or what is yet to be.” — Leonard Cohen, ‘Anthem‘ Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

As if this week hasn’t been bad enough, Leonard Cohen has died.

Although best known as a singer-song-writer, I discovered Cohen first as a poet. Allowed to choose the book I’d be given as the science prize in my fifth form year, I chose The Spice-Box of Earth.

I have no real idea why, or even how the only book-shop in a small New Zealand timber-town came to stock a volume of Canadian poetry published sixteen years before I bought it (the year I was born in fact).

But I’m glad that I did. I don’t know how many times in the last forty years I’ve been grateful to Leonard Cohen for putting into words (and music), ideas and feelings that I struggled to articulate.

Today Anthem seems particularly appropriate, especially (and not surprisingly) the line:

… There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in …

And that’s what I’m hoping. That somehow, in the darkness of hatred, fear and uncertainty that envelops us, the light of love and peace and tolerance will find a way in. I don’t hope that in an abstract “she’ll be right, mate” kind of way, but because I believe that there are enough people who recognise the truth in Edmund Burke‘s statement that All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

I’m offering this post for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. This week’s theme is nature, and right now escape into the natural world seems to offer great solace. It is also of course, very much threatened by any denial of climate change, so even in comfort there is fear.

Let’s hope we really can make the light get in.

30 thoughts on “The bells that still can ring

  1. Away from WP for a long time now,but I never forget friends like you,Su dear.A wee visit from Twitter to read your superb tribute to him and to leave a video for you.Watch it if possible and then delete the link.Best wishes to you,my friend πŸ™‚ Doda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Su, it has been a shocking week. Thank you for your salute to his music, which has always (to me) been a mixture of despair and hope. Here in America I mourn so much about Tuesday’s election that his loss was another heart-wrenching event. Your image brings the light through at a time that seems full of dark. But I have small slivers of hope. Nature is an enormous friend. Your quote from Cohen matches that optimism from nature’s bounty. Happy Photo Challenge.

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  3. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and Longwood Gardens Photomontages) | Lens and Pens by Sally

    • Thanks Sarah. A couple of days later one of NZ’s best photographers — Marti Freidlander — also died. Her work was amongst the first “serious” photography I ever saw and she was an incredible influence on artists in this country. A pretty horrible few weeks really. Hope you’re having a great weekend. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, no! This is terrible news! And I agree wholeheartedly: a horrible few weeks really 😦 Why do things like that always come in a bunch? ItΒ΄s like one blow after another and no real time in between to get upright again… Sending you strength and positive thoughts, dear Su! Hope the sun will shine for you very soon again, both literally and metaphorically! xxxxxxxxxxxx

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