Karen DuBert

Fall 2020: On the Theme of Tilt

Lament for Delilah and Bathesheba

Cohen, in your haunting song
Of a poet-king and judge gone wrong
Infiltrating battered hearts of many,
We hear the grief, remorse, and pain
That festers in a heart of shame—
The music weighed us down; it was uncanny

How cleverly you spun the tale:
The men were victims through the veil
Of women who despised them and tormented,
Cruelly planning  wicked schemes,
To make them break upon their dreams,
It feels so web-like, and so perfume-scented.

How you sang it.
How we felt it.
How we listened and believed
We believed you.

But wait a moment, you forget
The women didn’t hold the net:
The men were writers of their chosen script.
Women softly passing by,
Too bad for them, they caught the eye
And found their lives and destinies now ripped

Savagely from their clenched fists,
They struggle, but now find their wrists
Are bound by history’s endless “she’s to blame.”
Their hearts beat on, misunderstood,
Voices hushed by victimhood
As men judge by their rules of their own game.

How you sang it.
How we felt it.
How we listened and believed
We believed you.

Why this song? This slow lament?
This dirge to justify the men
Who could not reach above for hallelujah?
The means to freedom always there—
It was no further than a prayer,
But still the victim’s called to bear the shame.

Hallelujah in the shame.
Hallelujah in the pain.
And listen to the one in pain
The one who’s forced to bear the shame
And pray her story ends in hallelujah.

A poem written in reflection and response to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”


A lifelong volunteer in marginalised communities in subSaharan Africa, Karen DuBert is also a lover of Scripture and student of the Bible as a reflection of God’s character, not as an endorsement of our culture, society, or worldview

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