The Thursday dVerse challenge posted by Jill Lyman was to write a poem in response to another poem. I have chosen Leonard Cohen’s poem “Elegy” published in his first poetry book, “Let us Compare Mythologies” in 1956. Since I couldn’t find a copy of it on the internet, I took the above photo of a print version.

I find Leonard Cohen’s poem to be open to a few interpretations. This allowed me to respond, as we often do in conversation, as if my understanding fits with his:

I shall not search for him

along cold city streets,

through lowland mists, nor

where hawks swoop for their prey.

I will turn from gunfire

and wanton cruelty,

from parched wastelands

and scarred tar sands,

to places of comfort.

I will embrace sustenance

contemplate continuity,

the warm caress of sun as

chimes sing in gentle breezes and

seeds nestle in fertile ground,

kind words of love resonating still.


©️2018 Ontheland

30 thoughts on “Response

  1. You have written a beautiful poem in response to Cohen’s Elegy. I particularly like
    ” chimes sing in gentle breezes and

    seeds nestle in fertile ground,

    kind words of love resonating still.”

    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent choice with ‘Elegy’ and your word choices are intriguing. The alliterative nature of your poem draws the reader in close as though we really are having that conversation across the table. Wonderfully done, Janice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love Cohen’s depiction of this water god that is too sensitive for any but the warmest slowest ocean waves. Your use of contemporary references “city streets,” “scarred tar sands” make your response your own, and then the two poems seem to dovetail, arriving in a similar place of safety.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes 🙂 thank you for your reflections…I find that Cohen’s open style of writing allows multiple images and meanings. Writing a response felt like pulling out and expanding a thread.

      Liked by 1 person

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