Hearing “Hallelujah” at the Women’s March, 2017 by Lorna Wood (poetry for Leonard Cohen Week)

people holding flyers during daytime

Hearing “Hallelujah” at the Women’s March, 2017

The sea of pink was a major lift—
“You know,” I said, getting off the bus,
“I used to pace alone before I knew ya.”

Some people had been here before,
to push against the closing doors
and all the system tries to do to fool ya.

Democracy was moving too—
not a victory march, but not a crime.
In passing, even the Guard gave their thanks to ya.

Our group did our best, but it wasn’t much,
wedged away to the side by the baffled crowd,
but famous speakers always say the same things to ya.

So we sat and snacked, and thought of how 
they broke our throne and didn’t care. 
We swore our lips would be what overthrew ya.

Then next to us a circle formed,
much stronger than a marble arch,
and they were singing Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

We joined in, though we had no proof.
We were pilgrims who had seen no light.
It was cold, and not a time for “Hallelujah.”

Still, we sang the truth we could not touch.
Our hopes were high, love was on our tongues—
a strength below from broken “Hallelujah.”

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Bio: Lorna Wood is a violinist and writer in Auburn, Alabama. Her poetry is forthcoming in 2% Milk and has appeared in Before I Turn Into Gold (David L O’Nan, editor), Angel Rust (Best of the Net nominee) and Poetry South (Pushcart nominee), among others. Her fiction has appeared in Doubleback Review (Pushcart nominee) and on the Litro [USA] Lab and NoSleep Podcasts. Her creative nonfiction recently appeared in Feed, and her most recent scholarly essay is in The Palgrave Handbook of Affect Studies and Textual Criticism. Find out more at https://www.amazon.com/author/lornawood or from her blog, Word Music, here: https://lornawoodauthor.wordpress.com