Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Sisters Of Mercy, They Are Not departed Or Gone

Miaziar Bahari changed a song for me. I've been a Leonard Cohen fan since 1967 when I bought a book of his poetry and discovered he wrote " Susanne". His song "Sisters of Mercy" I've listened to for years. Starting today, I will never be able to hear it with out thinking of Bahari's story or this image of him and his daughter.




Photo by Tom Stoddart?Getty Images


118 Days, 12 Hours, 54 Minutes
"On June 21, reporter Maziar Bahari was rousted out of bed and taken to Tehran's notorious Evin prison—accused of being a spy for the CIA, MI6, Mossad…and NEWSWEEK. This is the story of his captivity—and of an Iran whose rampant paranoia underpins an ever more fractured regime." ----Newsweek Magazine

"The interrogator sat me in a wooden chair. It had a writing arm, like the chair I'd had in primary school. He ordered me to look down, even though I was already blindfolded: "Never look up, Mr. Bahari. While you are here—and we don't know how long you're going to be here—never look up." All I could see from under the blindfold was the interrogator's black leather slippers. They worried me. He had settled in for a long session. "----Maziar Bahari

Beatings, solitary confinement, threats, isolation, were Maziar's life in prison....

"My true refuge, though, was music. Once, after a particularly brutal beating, I swallowed three migraine pills and passed out. Two women came to me in a dream. They had kind faces; in fact, they reminded me of my sister Maryam, who had died of leukemia in February.
"Who are you?" I asked.
"Sisters of mercy," they answered."


Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.

They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can't go on.

And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song.

Oh I hope you run into them, you who've been travelling so long.

Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.

It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.

Well I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned:

When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned.

Well they lay down beside me, I made my confession to them.

They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem.

If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn

They will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon.

Don't turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon.

And you won't make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night:

We weren't lovers like that and besides it would still be all right,

We weren't lovers like that and besides it would still be all right.

---Leonard Cohen


No, I won't hear it the same as I did before.