Saturday, September 25, 2010

To Perla Batalla

I count among my circle of Sebastopol friends more than a half dozen poets: Gwynn, Jim, Karl, Sandy, Raphael, Nancy, Larry, Richard and more. We get together from time to time to share what we've written.

Here's one Richard wrote after attending a music festival.

to perla batalla, formerly backup singer to leonard cohen

perla speaks of the church of leonard
kindhearted praise for the master 
then sings the cohen poems in a voice
as clear as the rim of a flower touched by dew
as clear as a call of love in the forest
as clear as the fallen tree giving back 
its essence to the family 
passionate beyond the gates of forgiveness

perla sings honestly 
the heart
perla sings with a heart so big
that the flowers the trees the people 
know with certainty
it is the church of perla
it is the church of us

—Richard Nichols

7 comments:

Kathleen said...

Oh, thank you so much for sharing this...
my raced when I read this line:
"as clear as a call of love in the forest"
Sigh

Kathleen said...

oops
please insert "heart" between "my" and "raced"
my fingers raced, too, apparently!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Kathleen, you're most welcome. There are times I feel otherworldly when I'm listening to singing. I felt that way when I heard Ma Muse singing a couple of weeks ago....

I put your Linden Hills blog on my list here in case you decide to tell any more stories in 55 words....

Bonnie said...

Hi Dan,

I left a comment earlier. Either you don't want to post it, or I rushed away before the word verification ... again!

Leonard Cohen has always kept a house here in his hometown of Montreal. His concerts here were frequent and we often attended, so I recall seeing Perla many times. She had such an exotic look with dark mediterranean-type skin, big brown/black eyes, beautiful features and black curly hair. Her co-back-up singer was Scandanavian (---Christiansen) and as fair as Perla was dark. Perla had the more alto voice while her singing partner was more the soprano (not Cohen :-) They were amazing and complimented Cohen's deep often raspy voice perfectly. Cohen often gave them each separately their own solo. Fun to reminisce about those days.

I hope she has read this lovely poem about herself and the "church of Perla".

steven said...

dan what a beautiful, insightful, heartfelt poem! cohen is such a big part of many canadian lives. a lot of people sustain(ed) his trajectory. it's cool to read an homage to one of those many people. steven

Dan Gurney said...

Bonnie, I think it must have been a word verification problem. I value your comments, my blog friend. I'm glad to know another friend who's been touched by Perla. I have yet to experience her voice in person, and will be looking forward to the opportunity when it comes my way... I don't know if she'll read this homage to her voice, but I hope so. It's out there, at least. I'm enjoying your interview of bloggers.

Dan Gurney said...

steven, thanks. It seems a lot of my readers are Canadians. I feel like an honorary citizen of your country. I almost emigrated there to escape the military draft which would have sent me off to Vietnam, but luckily, Nixon ended the war just as my student deferment expired. There was NO WAY I was going overseas to kill Buddhists! Like Ali said, "They ain't done nothin' to hurt me."