Police Week poem: Hallelujah for a fallen officer

A poem remembering fallen officers sung to the music of "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen


A number of years ago I was listening for the hundredth time to Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah" at bedtime thinking once again how beautiful it was but wishing the words meant a little more to me.

I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night with the poem below in my head. As a writer, stories and articles come to me when I am awake, usually when I am running. Poems, however, always come to me when I am sleeping as if they are a gift. Usually, I have a few lines in my head that I develop, but this one came to me completely and I ran to my desk and wrote it down.

The next day I set about turning the poem into a song and asked Police Chaplain Mark Clements to help me produce the song. He arranged for me to use his set up in his church for the session. I contacted background singer Donna Schildt, a good friend, who had been involved in music for years and she arranged for local noted musician Joe Cody (lead singer and guitar) and another gifted local guitarist Rick Weeth to assist. The three combined and performed it beautifully (which you can listen to below).

This song has served me well for I have played it during every survival and instructor course I have taught since and it has moved many to take their survival and the survival of officers they train very seriously. I hope you like it.

Hallelujah for a fallen officer

There was the day you pinned on the star
Strapped on your gun, started your car
Pride filled your heart and you felt it course right through ya

You never dreamed it’d be so hard
When playing cops out in the yard
But you never let all the pressure get to ya

Hallelujah…Hallelujah….Hallelujah…Hallelujah

You answered every call they gave
Some crimes you solved some lives you saved
Until it seemed everyone in town…they knew ya

You gave your best, you met the worst
You weathered every ugly curse
Some days cold, some so hot nothing could cool ya

Hallelujah….Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah

Over time it becomes so hard
To maintain an edge, keep up your guard
You only have to let one too close to ya

They strike so hard they strike so fast
You give your all up to the last
Life ebbs as back-up rushes more help to ya

Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah

In light of day and dark of night
You were a cop, who stood to fight
Against those who would happily do harm to ya

Each time you faced another foe
You won each battle, but you know
It’s not a sin you met some cur, who outdrew ya

Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah

Hundreds come to pray and salute
White gloves and hats and shining boots
Some proudly say they were a cop who knew ya

You couldn’t be here for your spirit soared
To find your place next to the Lord
You gave up the flesh and our savior did renew ya

Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah
Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah…Hallelujah

This poem, originally published 05/13/2012, has been updated. 

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