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"My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all." ~ John Lennon (October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980)

Tomorrow, to celebrate John Lennon's 70th birthday, Yoko Ono will once again relight the Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland.

Yoko Ono's official flickr photostream

This "tower of light" is projected from a white stone monument ("wishing well") with the words, "Imagine Peace," carved on it in 24 different languages. Fifteen searchlights reflect off prisms to create this lighted column, which is 4000+ m. tall and touches the clouds!

Yoko Ono official/flickr

Buried beneath the wishing well are approximately 500,000 wishes from around the world Yoko collected for her project, "Wish Trees."

Yoko Ono official/flickr

As a child in Japan, Yoko recorded her wishes on small slips of white paper, then tied them to trees in temple courtyards. She says all her work is a form of wishing. Writing is like that, don't you think? There's the envisioning and hoping that the end product will approximate the dream, the idea, the concept. Always trying and reaching for the ultimate story or poem. Always imagining.


I think if John were alive today, he'd be working extra hard as an activist for world peace. "Imagine," his most well known solo composition, was named by Rolling Stone Magazine as the 3rd greatest song of all time. President Jimmy Carter once said, "In many countries around the world -- my wife and I have visited about 125 countries -- you hear John Lennon's 'Imagine' almost equally with national anthems." Interesting that the song's refrain may have been influenced in part by Yoko's poetry -- in her book, Grapefruit (l965), she includes such lines as "imagine a raindrop," and "imagine the clouds dripping."

Imagine all the people, living life in peace.

Tomorrow, in honor of John's birthday, tie a wish (or maybe a haiku), to a tree. Words, written from a place of love, are powerful and can offer hope. Yoko is also asking everyone to tweet a birthday wish tomorrow (@IPTower), hoping to amass a million wishes. The tower will remain lit until December 8th.

Yoko: "I hope the Imagine Peace Tower will give light to the strong wishes of World Peace from all corners of the planet and give encouragement, inspiration, and a sense of solidarity in a world now filled with fear and confusion. Let us come together to realize a peaceful world."

Thanks, John. Happy Birthday!


It matters not
Who you love
Where you love
Why you love
When you love
Or how you love
It matters only that you love.
~ John Lennon

Today's Roundup is at Carol's Corner. Peace and love♥ to all.

*Lyrics from Yoko Ono's official flickr photostream (click to enlarge).

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan's alphabet soup. All rights reserved.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 8th, 2010 10:04 am (UTC)
Whooee, Jama, your posts always hit me in the gut. Beautiful. I can't believe it would be his 70th birthday today. Love the photo of Yoko at the Wish Tree. I am off to tweet my wish. Thanks.
Oct. 8th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's hard to believe he would have been 70 tomorrow. I've come to think of him as the Gandhi of our generation.

Collective wishes = collective prayer for peace.
Oct. 8th, 2010 11:02 am (UTC)
I love the idea of a wish tree! I want to do this with my boys.
Oct. 8th, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
Lovely! Why not fill an entire tree with wishes? Maybe a neighborhood wish tree?
Oct. 8th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Jama.
What a beautiful tribute.
Oct. 8th, 2010 04:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks for visiting today!

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." ~ John Lennon
Oct. 8th, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this wonderful tribute, Jama.
Oct. 8th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
You're welcome, Barb! Have a great weekend!
Oct. 8th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday, John!
I will always be a BEATLES' John Lennon fan—I don't know why. Those years meant so much to me. And maybe he was right. I was one of those who just couldn't handle that the "dream was over."

But so what? I'm stubborn that way.

And JOHN, you were the one who taught me stubborn!


Edited at 2010-10-08 02:13 pm (UTC)
Oct. 8th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Happy Birthday, John!
What a great sketch. To me, John is John, with or without the other Beatles. He went where he had to go.
Oct. 8th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)
I love this post!!

When I was in high school and played the flute, in my first (and last, sadly) musical competition I played "Imagine" on my flute, with piano accompaniment. I got a four out of four points, with 1 being the highest possible, purely on the merit of my dogged determination to finish the piece no matter how many mistakes. That's what the judge told me, anyway. :)

I will be tweeting and hanging my wishes on a tree, and will pass this on to everyone I know.
Oct. 8th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Good for you! The flute is a difficult instrument to play; you chose a beautiful song :). Thanks for wishing with us!
Oct. 8th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
tanita says:
She says all her work is a form of wishing. Writing is like that, don't you think?

Oh, yes. Very, very much so -- probably for me in different ways than for other people -- I think I make imaginary happy families and people who get along because I didn't always see that growing up -- but it is a wish -- an unfolded paper crane that you hope flies away to give someone else an hour of reading in peace.

What a beautiful concept. Imagine.
Oct. 8th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
Re: tanita says:
Love your take on wishing and writing! Every stage of the process involves a degree of wishing, and perhaps the greatest wish is that our words will matter to someone else.
Oct. 8th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
Beautiful post, Jama. What a great man that we lost.
I was so glad to see the Imagine mosaic you pictured in Central Park this year. Our tour guide asked us if we wanted to see where he was shot and I just couldn't. It's too sad! I love the Strawberry Fields and Imagine tribute to him in Central Park though.
Did you see the Google illustration today? It's for John Lennon's bday. Press the play button and it plays Imagine.
Oct. 8th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
I hope to see the Imagine mosaic in person someday. Lucky you! And the Google illo is SO cool!

Good luck with your house moving and packing. You've been working so hard.
Oct. 8th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
Totally adored your post today, Jama. It gave me new stuff to look into and think about, and it also reminded me of old stuff, like when I was on the high school yearbook staff and we picked "We All Shine On" (Instant Karma) for the theme. And this poem I wrote about wishes: http://tabathayeatts.blogspot.com/2007/05/friday-may-18-2007-this-is-cool-harry.html

Thanks, Jama!
Oct. 8th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
Hi Tabatha! Glad you found stuff to reflect on today:). *clicking over to read your poem* Thanks!
Oct. 8th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks for doing your part to keep Lennon's dream for peace alive! Maybe folks would like to do this to honor Lennon and promote peace and friendship: http://istanbul.usconsulate.gov/bookfair_tree.html
Oct. 9th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
What a great project, ML. Thanks for sharing the link :)!
Oct. 9th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
Elaine M.

Welcome back to blogging. I hope you had a good break!
Oct. 9th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
It was a nice break, but always good to come home -- especially when nice friends like you welcome me back. Hope all is well with you and yours, Elaine :).
Oct. 9th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC)
in his own write
sometimes when you see the words in someone's own handwriting it's like they get an extra boost of power. they're like a written form of inflection, a connection between the brain and the hand delivering the message.

i was alive (and young) when we lost mlk and the kennedy's so john was the first tragic death i really felt. he was a loss for the world and i still miss him. thanks for keeping his spirit alive via poetry friday. i wished i'd thought to do the same.
Oct. 9th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
Re: in his own write
I've been a handwriting buff for many years -- and with the advent of email, I sorely miss handwritten snail mail. Always been fascinated by original handwritten manuscripts (I went nuts in the British Museum).

Yoko's upright print reveals artistic bent and intuitiveness. She slants neither right nor left, is self-contained.

John's print-script is interesting because most of it is also straight up with the exception of his lower zone "y's" and "g's" -- a pull to the past.

Thanks for stopping by, David. I still miss John, too.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 14th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
Make a wish, Laura :)!
Nov. 6th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)

:) Интересно. Thank you!
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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