friday feast: happy 70th birthday john lennon!

“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.