Imagine with John

Image blurs reality.
One long gone, etched in charcoal,
hangs on wall.
Me frozen, living within his frame.
Trick of lighting,
reflection merges life and death.
Imagine all the people
livin’ life in peace.

I meander through gardens,
gardens he skipped through as a child.
Strawberry fields forever.
My words, set to this page,
meaningful to me.
His words, set to music,
reverberate round the world.

Imagine what words died within him,
unborn, silenced by those bullets.
Creativity treasured by so many,
silenced by that gun.
Children. Adults. Their voices
treasured by friends, family,
silenced too. By guns. Those bullets.
Their velocity rips through humanity.
Bullets sprayed in schools, grocery stores,
churches, movie theaters,
at concerts and in prayer,
on streets, on porches, in homes.

Image blurs reality.
The living stand with dead loved ones.
Framed in happiness on a shelf,
a dresser, hanging on a wall.
Reflection merges life with death
as we think, sing within our heads.
Imagine all the people
livin’ life in peace.
Oh dear God, please let it be.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Will share and read aloud at OLN LIVE on Saturday, May 20th, from 10 to 11 AM EST. Come join us to hear and see poets from around the globe. Click here, and then on the link for Saturday’s session with audio and video connection.

We did a Beatles themed excursion on a recent British Isles cruise. It included a visit to Liverpool and the actual Strawberry Fields that John Lennon wrote about. Strawberry Fields was and is the name of a facility run by the Salvation Army for children. It’s surrounded by gardens. When Lennon was a small boy, estranged from his mother, he lived with his aunt within walking distance of Strawberry Fields. He often went through the red gates to play with children in these gardens. While visiting the gardens and a building that includes information about John Lennon’s relationship with the facility, and the actual piano he composed Imagine on, we viewed an artist’s exhibit of charcoal paintings including the first image at the top of the page. This image was the motivation for my poem today. John Lennon was assasinated; shot 5 times outside the gates to his New York City apartment. My poem refers to his assasination, as well as the Beatles song, Strawberry Fields Forever; and Lennon’s song, Imagine, written and recorded after the Beatles broke up.

10 thoughts on “Imagine with John

  1. Melissa Lemay May 19, 2023 / 9:00 pm

    As a mother my heart aches thinking about if that were to ever happen at one of my children’s schools. People (whom I know personally) say things like “statistically, there really aren’t that many school shootings” as some sort of amenity, and all I can think is tell that to the parents of those statistics. Love really is all we need. And perhaps intelligence.


  2. Nancy Jahnke May 19, 2023 / 9:41 pm

    Love this piece and the striving for peace!


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  3. also May 20, 2023 / 7:49 am

    I loved this Lil. It is remarkable how you integrating his music and life into current surroundings. Well done! Glad you continue to travel the world and bring it to us to enjoy also.


  4. kim881 May 20, 2023 / 9:28 am

    Your trips always give you something to write about, LIll, and this time it’s about a place I know something about. I love the way you soak up culture and history. I also love the word play in ‘image/imagine’ (one of my favourite Lennon songs), the weaving in of song titles, and the lines:
    ‘Imagine what words died within him,
    unborn, silenced by those bullets’.
    My daughter Ellen was born only two weeks before he died.


  5. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 20, 2023 / 9:48 am

    Yes, imagine that we have to imagine people living in peace… that said there are many who just take it for granted until it’s too late, and with the presence of guns it can change in an instant.


  6. sanaarizvi May 20, 2023 / 1:51 pm

    This is an incredibly powerful poem, Lillian! Your words left a huge impact on me today ❤️❤️


  7. Joyce May 20, 2023 / 2:20 pm

    Thank you for your lovely poem today that brings both good and sad memories to mind.


  8. merrildsmith May 21, 2023 / 8:34 am

    So much gun violence–and just getting worse. I’m afraid we can only imagine.


  9. Ken Gierke / rivrvlogr May 24, 2023 / 10:46 am

    I enjoyed your reading of this, Lillian.

    “reflection merges life and death” … There is much to reflect on in your words. Gun violence … “Their velocity rips through humanity.”


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