Leonard Cohen: Poetry That Rhymes

Leonard Cohen, Canadian Poet and Songwriter, often found himself at odds with his contemporaries by writing poetry that rhymes. It turns out that the opposition to rhyming poetry finds its roots in Soviet propaganda that didn’t want to deal with the difficulties in translation.  Here is my favorite of his songs whose chorus belongs in Hofstader’s Godel, Escher and Bach.

“Anthem”

Leonard Cohen

The birds they sing
at the break of day
“Start again”
I hear them say
“Don’t dwell
on what has passed away
or what is yet to be.”

Ah the wars
they will be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah, the widowhood
of every government —
signs for all to see.

I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

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The Brain: Attachment with Autism

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, a first novel by Mark Haddon, is a truely absorbing piece of writing because of Mark’s thoroughly convincing character, Christopher John Francis Boone. Christopher’s condition is never stated, however he appears to suffer from mild autism. The novel is an exploration of the mind of Christopher as he deals with a crisis in his life, his father has told him a lie. We accompany Christopher in first person through his journey to a resolution.

Autism is a highly misunderstood condition. Autistics are generally of normal intelligence, however the way they perceive the outside world and communicate with it are different than convention and they are often regarded as of lower intelligence than they are. One of the greatest flaws in the measurement of intelligence is that it relies too much on conventional communication.

Wired magazine has a very good article on the medical community’s rethinking of autism here. In a series of YouTube videos an autistic woman, Amanda Baggs, challenges the conventional wisdom and makes her case for autistic people’s intelligence and value to society. Some venture far enough to say that autism is not an illness at all, but just another way for the brain to develop.

Whatever comes of this reevaluation of autism, the role technology and books like this are playing in liberating people with this and any form of challenge is inspiring.