Thursday, December 13, 2018

Imagine There's No Poetry

The song "Imagine", by John Lennon is one of the most beautiful, awe inspiring, and the most successful single of his career. Released in the middle of the Vietnam War in 1971, he was just as much a visionary as a songwriter. The song itself is short and simple, but the simplicity is what allows each word to carry so much weight. Lennon asks his listeners to just imagine; to imagine a place where we live in peace and unity.

According to Perrine, poetry should broaden or deepen the reader's experiences. He also states that poetry should allow the reader to gain a better understanding or new perspective on the world. "Imagine" broadens the reader's understanding of the world by asking them to imagine a reality that many could not fathom.

Lennon starts the song with the first line:

        Imagine there's no heaven
        It's easy if you try

He mentions religion multiple times in the song. His belief was that people claiming that "my God is better than your God" was the cause for a lot of unrest and violence in the world. Many people live their lives in order to get into heaven or to avoid hell. But what if there was no other place after death, and we had to pay our debts in this life. People would have to focus on the present. How would that change individuals behaviors towards others?

In the start of the second verse he sings: 

        Imagine there's no countries
        It isn't hard to do

Countries, boundaries, and claims for land have caused multiple wars in present day and throughout the history of the earth. What if there was only one big country for everyone? There would be no "developed" or "undeveloped" countries. There would also be more camaraderie, as people would not be divided into sections.

The final line states: 

        Imagine no possessions
        I wonder if you can

Many people can imagine no heaven or no countries, but having no possessions is scary for many people. To be able to give up material goods, things we are accustomed to and many things we love, is not an easy feat. But if we were able to, would it make the world a more equal place?

Some could argue that Lennon's words are more relevant today than they were 30 years ago. Will we ever be able to achieve the goal of world peace? Right now, I'm not sure any of us can really imagine it.


  1. I think this song creates a very direct route for the listener to enjoy the piece as poetry. Perrine said, "[Poetry] must involve not only your intelligence, but also your senses, emotions, and imagination" (9). Lennon explicitly called upon his listeners to use their imagination and I think this is an extra effort to "properly tune" the listener and help them receive the experience.

  2. I totally agree with the points you made here, and what Alyssa said as well. I don't know exactly how Lennon wrote this song, but I wouldn't be surprised if it started as a poem. He was an incredible writer.

  3. My song is similar in a way that it has nice, simple language to convey or more complex, in depth meaning.