Wednesday, October 09, 2013

John Lennon is remembered on his birthday by poet Michael O'Leary

In Memoriam

John Lennon would have been 73 today: this is a poem I wrote for him at the time of his murder but there are still aspects of it which are relevant today and it is good to be reminded of John and Yoko’s efforts to bring peace to our world no matter how ‘unworldly’ there attempts appear now.

Flip Side of the Ballad of John and Yoko

6pm News, Tuesday, Ninth of December, 1980
“We have just heard from New York
Ex-Beatle John Lennon was shot today . . . !!!!!!”


There I was sitting on a sofa
In one of the southernmost cities of the world
Listening to the radio whilst thinking about cooking tea

Well, how can you be honest about how you feel?

I’d just turned the station over
To get the “real” news of the world
When I heard the words written above: well fuck me!

What else can you do but swear at a time like this

I am thinking about my mother, his mother
Two of the responsible for bringing us into the world
And now John, you’re gone! There’s only me

Yoko and me, and the rest of humanity together in grief and love

Yoko’s in a black scumbag, I left the sofa
Wandered aimlessly around the room the day you left the world
Your death is a climax of events forcing mortality on me

Everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout Pol Pot, Nazism, Socialism, I.R.A. and junkies

Give me a chance, brother
You have helped me understand this world
Now you’re dead, am I enslaved or freeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!

Fuck the revolution, we have bred another generation


When it all began, I was just another
Beatle fan. A teenager from the other side of the world
Looking for something more interesting than school’s authority

Distances travelled in space, time and sorrow add up to one thing

Your songs and books helped me discover
In myself, what all the education in the world
Could not; that I could write and illustrate my own story

Knowledge to one is ignorance to another, unless there is love

1968, Hey Jude, the death of my father and mother
Like a lost black sheep I entered the outside world
Sold my records, went to work in a dark, thankless factory

If a person makes enough of one thing, he or she becomes a thing

While I got lost in nothing, you found your lover
For whom you left the Beatles, left the wife, shocked the world
Yoko, through the years of illusion, offered you reality

Eternity may be a stone in Wales, but it is now we must live

And so, lest the press smother
You and your love both withdrew from the world
Which had built you a boat of fame, then left you all at sea

How many oak trees have been allowed to grow from the acorns?

“Just like starting over”
Is not starting over, you are now dead to the world
Sean and Yoko no longer have the shade and strength of their tree

That fallen tree made them a house which they must make a home


We were always a decade away from each other
Yet we were of the same generation
You were the spiritual pathfinder
I followed to the point of penetration
And I never lost you, but let you go

It was not lack of love, but life itself, caused the separation

Now you too have joined the dead and living dead
Who haunt and torment my existence
On this quaint and sadly crazy planet on which
To live is not just to breath, but an insistence
That each such breath is a test of courage and will

Which we understand at a metaphorical distance

                                                      I know
                                                              It ain’t easy!

By Michael O’Leary

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