ring the bells that still can ring

That’s part of the chorus line in Leonard Cohen’s «Anthem». I don’t have any one favourite quote, but this passage from the lyrics  often comes back to me …

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There’s a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in

No matter how you interpret these words … they have hope.

It has been said many times that life has its ups and downs, and that’s true for us all. We’ve all had our pains, adversities, we’ve been hurt and broken. No one’s pain is the same as the other’s, we can’t compare sufferings and say  ‘I’ve had it worse than you’.

Regardless of that, no matter how broken we get, we pull ourselves together, do what we have to do and move on. Some of us might even have gotten close to surrendering, but didn’t.

«That’s how the light gets in»

In my way of looking upon these words, I see the light as Love. There’s always something worth living for … there’s so much beauty around us, if we only allow ourselves to see it, through the torrents of disasters we get caught up in, in the daily news.

Over the years, I’ve received a lot of cracks, and with them … more light! So I’m going to ring the bells as long as ever possible.

ImageAll the time, while writing this, a Swedish poem by Gustav Fröding has been floating around in my mind … because it has to do with cracks, I guess. I looked up the full poem and realized there’s not a chance I’ll try my hand at translating it. I’ll just give you the last line.

«Roses — even if in a cracked stone jug — will always still be roses»

…and here it goes for the Swedish-speakers 🙂

Nu är jag led vid tidens skism
emellan jord och stjärnor.
Vår idealism och realism
de klyva våra hjärnor.

Det ljugs när porträtterat grus
får namn av konst och fägring.
En syn, som svävar skön och ljus
i skyn, är sann som hägring.

Men strunt är strunt och snus är snus,
om ock i gyllne dosor,
och rosor i ett sprucket krus
är ändå alltid rosor.

38 thoughts on “ring the bells that still can ring

  1. purpleborough

    Using Cohen’s lyrics was an awesome lead into your message. I wonder if Google can translate the poem? If it could, you would have done so. Excellent read.

    1. colderweather

      Thank you, Linda! I tried it in Google Translate, just for fun, before I posted this. It didn’t turn out well at all.

      The last part is: ‘Nonsense is nonsense and snuff is snuff … even if in golden boxes. Roses, in a cracked stone jug, will always still be roses.’

      The other parts are more difficult 🙂

      1. purpleborough

        I like that and I love Cohen…never heard of him until you posted something last year about him. The only music I have purchased are his songs even if I can get them free on YouTube.
        Thanks for the translation.

  2. Robert S Johnson

    Many people think that Joni Mitchell wrote “The Last Time I Saw Richard” about Leonard Cohen after their brief love affair ended.
    “I’m gonna blow this damn candle out
    I don’t want Nobody comin’ over to my table
    I got nothing to talk to anybody about
    All good dreamers pass this way some day
    Hidin’ behind bottles in dark cafes
    Dark cafes
    Only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings
    And fly away
    Only a phase, these dark cafe days.”

  3. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    LOVE this idea – that beauty shows through (gets out, escapes!) only because of the cracks and, although we are surrounded by it, do not always see.
    I am suddenly put in mind of tiny seedlings that not only manage to grow in cracks of the pavement, but even BREAK it open as they thrive…
    This is such a wonderful post Rebekah, thank you.

    1. colderweather

      Thank you, Deb!
      I often think of those little seedlings … that break through the asphalt … or just bide their time underneath the cold snow.

  4. daydreamer2011

    What a wonderful post Reb!! And so true… we ALL get through things and we could/should NOT compare!

    Very nice poem in Swedish! And love that photo of the roses!!

    1. colderweather

      Thank you, Mona! Gustaf Fröding had a lot to say 😀
      Somehow I feel as if all those cracks we get, makes us stronger in a way and more able to cope.
      Not my photo, it’s from a free photo site [public domain].

      1. daydreamer2011

        Oh I sure got a lot of cracks… Yeah maybe you are right! Been many times when I thought I weren’t able to make it anymore… but I am still here! 🙂

        Oh ok! It’s a great photo and I were so sure it was yours as you are a great photographer!!

  5. Annette Ursin Holmboe

    Its a wonderful post Reb. I had to sit for a while and feel and think. It seems to me that the poem in Cohens song is very spiritual, and it gives hope and feels so right.
    Frödings poem ends very prosaic – but how I love it.

  6. Nylabluesmum

    You are becoming very philosophical Rebby!! I agree that depsite Life’z ups & downs I continue on…..Love & passion being my guides….
    I want to feel it all; the good, the bad & the ugly…well i have done the ugly & alot of bed so am enjoying as much good as possible 😉
    Love Sherri-Ellen xo

  7. Nylabluesmum

    I remember taking LIFE & living for granted…I guess we all do that to a certain extent in our 20’s and 30’s as middle age & old age are so far away…or so it seems at the time…now time is precious to me. I want to do things that mean soemthing (even if the body will not co-operate). I have done alot of thinking (oh no not again) & have come to ralize blogging is a passion for me now…writing them & reading others & the interaction between so many people. This has replaced trying to be a writer if that makes sense?
    Life is for living & I want to live for a long time…. 😉

    1. colderweather

      I hear you! Loud and clear! When we were teenagers, three months seemed like an eternity and a forty-year-old was old as dirt. Never expected to live to be 45 LOL. Now, time is racing. Never had any aspirations of becoming a writer.

      Have you ever thought about starting a blog just for yourself?

  8. Janine

    I love that “ring the bells that can still ring……that’s how light gets in” It is a good refrain to repeat to oneself in times of need – sort of like an affirmation! A good affirmation 🙂

    I wish I could read Swedish. The last line of that poem is so true. It reminds me of Shakespeare’s line that goes something like, a rose by any other name is still a rose. Was that even Shakespeare? Funny how one poem or lyric will remind us of another, and then another, and another….

    1. colderweather

      I don’t know much Shakespeare, but I have heard that too … about the rose. The Swedish one, that I quoted, is well-known there, but most people would only know the last line 🙂

  9. Nylabluesmum

    😉 I have thought of starting a blog many times Rebby & I could publish my poems there but I have little energy these days. Between my health & caring for Nylablue it has not happened.
    Maybe someday….if time just would slow down!! 😉

  10. suzink

    What a wonderful post and sentiments! We certainly must count our blessings and be glad we can get up and function even if it isn’t always normally.

    1. colderweather

      It’s just a cold … stuffy head today 🙂
      Duffie isn’t happy about the change in air pressure … we’re having another rain storm!
      Thank you, luv!

  11. Nylabluesmum

    Yow bless ya Aunti Rebby, me hopez da head cold leevez ya soon!!!
    Me sowwy McDuff a bit cranky too…poor kitteh boy…pleeze tell him me iz purrayin fer da storm to pass soon n dat he feelz bettur!
    Yer wellcome Aunti..
    Lub frum us here to ya dere ❤

  12. Touch2Touch

    I absolutely love that poem — yes, to me it’s a lyric poem — of Leonard Cohen’s.
    Your interpretation is a great one. My own interpretation is usually, the light of enlightenment, the light of wisdom. In response to the cracks, we can grow in understanding and wisdom if we allow ourselves to do so, to be hurt, to be opened, to be changed.
    I love your photograph of the cracked pitcher of roses —

    1. colderweather

      It’s never too late to get enlightened … gain some wisdome. Sometimes we don’t open up/allow ourselves until late in life, but nevertheless … There’s a time for every purpose 🙂


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