Forget Your Perfect Offering

The Bird Sings Oral Tradition Song Library

Forget Your Perfect Offering

A simple and inspiring, mostly echo-and-response song adapted from Leonard Cohen’s famous “Anthem” lyrics.

Composer & Copyright

Lyrics adapted from Leonard Cohen, musical attribution unknown.


Recorded by Lisa G. Littlebird.


Forget your perfect offering
Ring the bells that you can ring
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Teaching Notes

The first time teaching this with a group of singers I simply slow it way down and tell people to echo back what I sing, while being extra, super-duper clear about when they sing, then stopping briefly before the last line to introduce that one. Singers tend to catch on quick. This song works great with drumming or hand percussion.

For interest and challenge, I keep moving the key up by a 1/2 step. I’ve also sung this with guitar accompaniment, transposing the song up a 4th with each repetition.


Level of teaching speed/ difficulty (1 = very easy, 10 = very challenging)



  • Hi Lisa! This is Andrea—we met at Village Fire last summer. I LOVE your website and this song collection. I would love to use it for my work. However, I’m seeing an embed code where the soundcloud link should be. Maybe it’s because I am using an iPad instead of a laptop? I don’t know, but I thought I should let you know the way the page populates that section I can’t access the live link. I’ll go find you on Soundcloud and see if I can listen that way.
    Also, I’ve written a few songs I would love to share with you if you’re interested. They might their way to you eventually through song circles but I’d really like to give them electronic wings of their own. 😉

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