I used to write poetry….

…and one of my favorite poets of all time is Leonard Cohen….Avalanche is one of his songs from his Songs of Love and Hate album released in 1971.

Cohen’s recurring themes in his poetry were love and sex, religion, and psychological depression…all totally interrelated as far as I’m concerned….funny how I was so attracted to those themes as a young, hippie chick in high school…I wanted to run away and live with Cohen on those Greek isles he wrote about.

…even yoga teachers get the blues….

“Well I stepped into an avalanche,
it covered up my soul;
when I am not this hunchback that you see,
I sleep beneath the golden hill.
You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn, learn to serve me well.
You strike my side by accident
as you go down for your gold.
The cripple here that you clothe and feed
is neither starved nor cold;
he does not ask for your company,
not at the centre, the centre of the world.

When I am on a pedestal,
you did not raise me there.
Your laws do not compel me
to kneel grotesque and bare.
I myself am the pedestal
for this ugly hump at which you stare.

You who wish to conquer pain,
you must learn what makes me kind;
the crumbs of love that you offer me,
they’re the crumbs I’ve left behind.
Your pain is no credential here,
it’s just the shadow, shadow of my wound.

I have begun to long for you,
I who have no greed;
I have begun to ask for you,
I who have no need.
You say you’ve gone away from me,
but I can feel you when you breathe.

Do not dress in those rags for me,
I know you are not poor;
you don’t love me quite so fiercely now
when you know that you are not sure,
it is your turn, beloved,
it is your flesh that I wear.”

addthis_pub = ‘yogagal60510’;

3 thoughts on “I used to write poetry….

  1. Hi Linda,“Songs of Love and Hate” + too much single malt scotch got me through a very rough patch many moons ago. Cohen’s book of poems, “The Energy of Slaves” came out around the time.Since then he spent something like 15 years practicing intensively under my very first dharma teacher, Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the strictest Rinzai Zen master around. The fruition is easy to see in his gentle, wise cameos in the great biopic “I’m Your Man.” You’ve probably seen it, but if not it’s worth wading through some subpar performances to hear the loving tributes from U2 and Rufus Wainwright. When I’m down, LC or RT (Richard Thompson) are still great company. thanks for the reminder.Kevin


  2. Didn’t Cohen go off and live in a Zen monastery for a few (or more) years? I’m almost sure he did…though now he’s back to touring with his old song…so apparently Zen masters get the blues as well….


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