A poem by Tom Harding from his book “Afternoon Music” for Before I Turn Into Gold Day

In My Secret Life

Where did your words go, Jikan?
First read seventeen years ago
in the basement of a second-hand bookstore in Soho,
with the damp stench of London in my nose and clothes.
I read of your life on the mountain:
4 am wake-up calls, a vow of silence
ceremonial marches to the temple of quiet,
dampening your infamous longing
beneath heavy robes, I was hungry too

walking frozen rain-drenched streets,
this was the winter of ’01,
the world trying to understand itself
still naive to how dark it could become
while you were down from the mountain
with Ten New Songs.

Commandments to a secret life,
with a voice deeper than God’s.
I listened with winter in my ears,
through blackened streets, past alleyways,
candles made halos in the steam,
faceless bodies descended like mourners
into the drafty lamplit underground,
an old man with a bouzouki
sang the music of his homeland,
a blind man moved amongst us
tapping his cane like a Zen master’s Keisaku
as if to test our honesty,
as if to strike the indolent, the sleeping,
the unconscious, to dislodge the truth.
Jikan, do you remember what followed,
what scar formed from the burned heart
of that September,
how perfect their hatred became?

Oh, come back, Jikan,
in the robes of your longing,
return us to ourselves,
our secret lives; the sweetness of failure
come back, from your mountain.

Bio: Tom Harding lives in Northampton UK. He is a writer and illustrator whose first two poetry collections, Afternoon Music and Night Work are published with Palewell Press.
He keeps a collection of his work here, www.tomharding.net



All of the poems (revised) from Avalanches in Poetry for Leonard Cohen Week by David L O’Nan

Wonderful Artwork from Avalanches in Poetry Writings & Art Inspired by Leonard Cohen by artist/writer Geoffrey Wren

Poem by Joe Kidd for “Before I Turn Into Gold Day” inspired by Leonard Cohen

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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