Poems for the Return of the Light

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I have two poems to offer this year: an invocation by Leonard Cohen, and an elegy by Rumi. Both of these I read at my nephew’s funeral last Fall. Both I think deserve wider reading. So here they are, in honor of Brigid, the poet’s muse. May the light return to us all.

Holy is your name, holy is your work, holy are the days that return to you. Holy are the years that you uncover. Holy are the hands that are raised to you, and the weeping that is wept to you. Holy is the fire between your will and ours, in which we are refined. Holy is that which is unredeemed, covered with your patience. Holy are the souls lost in your unnaming. Holy, and shining with a great light, is every living thing, established in this world and covered with time, until your name is praised forever.

Leonard Cohen
Book of Mercy

Autumn Rose Elegy

You’ve gone to the secret world.
Which way is it? You broke the cage

and flew. You heard the drum that
calls you home. You left this hu-

miliating shelf, this disorienting
desert where we’re given wrong

directions. What use now a crown?
You’ve become the sun. No need for

a belt: you’ve slipped out of your
waist! I have heard that near the

end you were eyes looking at soul.
No looking now. You live inside

the soul. You’re the strange autumn
rose that led the winter wind in

by withering. You’re rain soaking
everywhere from cloud to ground. No

bother of talking. Flowing silence
and sweet sleep beside the Friend.

The Glance

8 thoughts on “Poems for the Return of the Light

  1. Reya Mellicker

    Wow. Both of these made a beeline straight to my heart. Thank you.

    I’m so sorry that your nephew died. I remember him very well, of course. How good of you to read these at his funeral. I can hear your voice, so clear and sweet. Chokes me up. xx

  2. Sienna

    oh, so beautiful. what an elegy . . . for us all, including the “living”

  3. Beth

    Gorgeous choices! Thank you SO much for these, as well as the time and passion you put into this wonderful magic! Blessings to you!

    Anne Reply:

    My pleasure, Beth!

  4. Carrie#K

    You’ve brought tears to my eyes. I know Leonard Cohen’s work but Autumn Rose Elegy is new to me. Thank you for sharing it.

  5. Meri @ Meri's Musings

    I’ve got a Facebook account but never really use it and couldn’t figure out how to post a link on the community page. But I did post one of my own poems on Meri’s Musings (meriak.blogspot.com).

  6. Abbe

    This Leonard Cohen poem is one of my favorites, especially the line “Holy is that which is unredeemed, covered by your patience,” which acknowledges that not everything can be resolved neatly, yet this does not preclude some measure of comfort.

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