Monday, April 25, 2011

 Love is Not a Victory March

by Shuzo Ikeda

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march

It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Driving home Easter Sunday from visiting a friend in Napa, Rufus Wainright's cover of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah" came on the radio (Yes, I know this was from 'Shrek', which just shows you how out of touch I am with pop culture.) I burst into tears. For some reason the song brought home the horrible, beautiful poignancy of love. I and a man whom I once loved a great deal had recently exchanged some heated e-mails in which I had communicated about being hurt due to a lie, and he had responded that he had lied because I was so unpleasant to talk to that he had wanted to get off of the phone. Rather than be devastated, as I had been with similar e-mails in the recent past, I felt my heart shut down on the last vestiges of our love. I let go a tiny bit more.
There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?

And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

When 'Hallelujah' came on, it seemed to communicate the deep joy and pain of love, a well as the profound ambivalence. My sadness wasn't for myself, but for all of us who have loved one another and then found ourselves on the other side of love - trading angry, hurt words laced with bitterness and disappointment. I wondered how this man and I had gotten here. We had once loved each other so much that we told each other we'd do anything for each other. And now we were spatting like an angry old married couple, and we weren't even in a relationship anymore. It made me - makes me - so sad. The song seemed to imply that this is also love: this disappointment and pain. That the joy can't exist without this other side. And I was so sad that this has to be true. I cried for all the souls who have fallen or will fall in and out of love.  
Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Later, at my sister's house, I found myself telling my six-year-old niece not to ever fall in love. It came out of my mouth before I could stop it. I never want to teach her to be afraid of love, just as I don't want to be afraid of it. But sometimes the deep pain is too much and I wonder if all people feel this, or if I feel it more deeply than they do. If it hurts so much why on earth would anyone allow themselves to fall in love? I just have to rely on my memory of the wonderful, awesomeness of love, the other side from where I am now. And to have faith that it will happen again, and that next time, I can be better at opening myself to all of love, letting love come sit on my shoulder without needing to cage it. 
You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah


Dann said...

Thanks for the poignant reminder of the quality of love that can exist and the hope that it will once again knock loudly on our doors.

Honey B said...

Thank you :-)