Greed Will Deprive, Tragedy Afoot

Reflections ~ Philip Brent

Reflections ~ Philip Brent

In a 1966 novel, Beautiful Losers, Leonard Cohen penned the incredibly optimistic poem, God is Alive, Magic is Afoot, celebrating the life force as both God and Magic. That is a sentiment I believe in, but I am much more pessimistic about where we are now. This is my take on Cohen’s work.

Greed will deprive, tragedy afoot
Greed will deprive, tragedy afoot
Greed will deprive, tragedy afoot
Greed will deprive, tragedy afoot
Deprive is afoot,
Tragedy ever cried
Greed ever quickened
Many rich men lied
Many slick men lied
Tragedy unweakened
Tragedy, the vid
Tragedy was fueled
Greed is afoot,
Greed ever plied
Greed was ruler
While our funeral lengthened
While our mourners dwindled
Tragedy was spread
While our shrouds were hoisted
Pure naked Greed did live
Though our hopes resisted
Naked tragedy deprived
Since our death was published
Round and round the world
Our heart can barely beat

Many hurt men blundered
Many murdered bled
Money never faltered
Money marked us dead
Many shots were fired
But Greed would not stand down
Many riled men tried
Not one fat man listened
Though they offered oaths
Tragedy was spread
Since they locked their coffers
Greed was always served
Tragedy afoot, Greed rules
Deprive us as fools

Deprive is greed’s command
Many meek men hungered
Many wrong men thrived
Though they toast their solitude
Greed was at their side
There the schemer set to sell
There the merchant fills the till
Tragedy deprives
Since their theft is pardoned
Round and round the world
No one could stifle greed

Despite laws carved in marble
No one could shelter man
At altars nor in parliaments
They could not protect man
Police arrested money
But money slipped from them
Oooooh…. for money hates the hungry
Tragedy can but tarry
It shoves us from behind
It can but us betray
Tragedy afoot
It can but cause us harm
It tests with an empty palm
It spawns but an empty mind
Yet tragedy no incident
Tragedy, the end
Many men love money
But money stayed away
Many wrong men lied
They just passed on tragedy
Came out the other side
Many weak men died
They tried for Greed in secret
Because they left unnourished
They had no choice and squealed
Though the truth stood before them
They cried what Greed had said
While our shrouds were hoisted
Pure naked Greed did live
This so mean it echoes though my mind
This so mean I know I’m left behind
So mean I think I deserve
To only know the tragic
Moving through the world
Till life itself is tragic
Coursing through my flesh
My flesh itself is tragic
Chancing on a clock
And time itself
The tragic length of Greed

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