Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Kite is a contract of glory

April is not only National Poetry Month, it is also National Kite Month (U.S.). I've always loved kites, and recall going to the Verdun Kite Rendez-Vous way back when I lived in Montreal. It was beautiful -- a sunny day with a festive atmosphere, lots of colours and music and good natured crowds...

Well, here is a way to combine both. Who knew that Leonard Cohen wrote such a great poem using kite imagery? He's been in the news lately because he is on tour through Canada, the US and with a few European appearances; the tour just began yesterday. He has a new tour cd out from his concert in London last year as well, which has all his hits on it, including my favourite, Hallelujah. The latest volume of poetry he's put out is The Book of Longing, and if you really like Cohen, you must take a look at the collection at the CBC Archives (video and radio clips from age 22's wonderful!) But, on to the poem, celebrating both poetry and the kite:

A Kite is a Victim

A kite is a victim you are sure of.
You love it because it pulls
gentle enough to call you master,
strong enough to call you fool;
because it lives
like a desperate trained falcon
in the high sweet air,
and you can always haul it down
to tame it in your drawer.

A kite is a fish you have already caught
in a pool where no fish come,
so you play him carefully and long,
and hope he won't give up,
or the wind die down.

A kite is the last poem you've written,
so you give it to the wind,
but you don't let it go
until someone finds you
something else to do.

A kite is a contract of glory
that must be made with the sun,
so you make friends with the field
the river and the wind,
then you pray the whole cold night before,
under the travelling cordless moon,
to make you worthy and lyric and pure.

Leonard Cohen


  1. What a beautiful poem! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    It's been a long time since I've flown a kite, but I'm feeling the urge to go to the beach after reading this!

  2. Beautiful poem. I love Cohen :) And kites too.

  3. Amy - I know! There is something about kites and the sense of freedom in flying them that just gets me.

    Nymeth - I love Cohen too. I found this poem rather serendipitously, which was lovely.

  4. great poem. I love that this is about kites....I can't fly one, but this one makes me want to try again!

  5. Splendid! I love Cohen - songs, poems, novel -


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