Peace and love,
Peace and love,
Do you remember a time when John Lennon’s song Imagine was considered controversial?
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Christians have condemned those words as blasphemous. According to a 2015 article in The National Review “to believers of older religion its (“Imagine’s”) open recommendation of an atheist faith cannot but sound lamentable and threatening.”
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace
These lines were attacked as unpatriotic. The National Review article concludes that “few songs are more divisive”.
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
This verse was condemned for its “communist overtones.”
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Did I say was controversial? This Lennon/Ono penned song is still vilified by right wing Christians and other religious fundamentalists and political ideologues. …What would Jesus think?
Relating to today’s casual prompt “imagine” in the most tenuous way is the first of these three of my favourite cartoons:
Wishing you peace, love, blasphemy, unpatriotism, and communism,
And hi, friend. Do you know how I can tell you are a friend? You are are loyal. You trust me. You have faith in me. You tolerate me in spite of my many flaws.
Friends also laugh at my lame jokes. And glance at my Wednesday cartoons…
Peace and love,
Have you ever made a speech at a funeral? I haven’t. I’ve lost my fear of speaking in front of small groups but there is no way I could pull myself together (and I’m not proud of this) and speak about someone I loved who had just died, without getting choked up, weepy, and unable to pay them proper respect. I did write the occasional eulogy which my older brother would then read. Are you, as a writer, asked to compose eulogies or newspaper notices?
In any case, may I present, in lieu of a selection of my favourite cartoons, the classic excerpt from the Mary Tyler Moore show, The Funeral of Chuckles the Clown.
And, ok, just one of my favourite cartoons, very tangentially related to today’s word prompt:
Joy, long life, and surprises…
When he opened his eyes, the first thing he noticed was the smell. He smelled clean grass, and the pungent bark of trees, and he smelled the river. Yes, the scent of smooth rocks bathed by flowing water, the wet soil and sand of the river bank, and the roots of trees and the floating leaves and fish and frogs.
He coughed, and wiped something black from his lips, and remembered what he now did not smell: smoke, ash, gunpowder, blood, shit, fear, and decay.
Across from him, Sam sat awkwardly leaning up against a tree trunk, staring at his hands. Turning his hands over and examining the palms, and then the backs again, his fingernails lined in black like kohl on a whore. He was filthy, bloody, and thin.
“What happened, Sam?” he asked, his voice hoarse. “Where are we?”
Sam looked up. “I don’t know, Peter,” he said.
Wherever they were, Peter suspected Sam had got him there. He had a good idea of where they might be. Where they came from was hell. What could this be, but heaven?
“Can you hear the birds?” asked Sam.
Peter shook his head. The last thing he remembered was the thudding sound of artillery as he crested the ridge, bayonet in hand. Perhaps a shell had hit its mark. Perhaps he was blown to bits.
“Are there birds?”
“Yes, finches, meadowlarks,” said Sam. “There was a fat robin.”
“I can’t hear them.”
“Can you hear the river?”
“No, is it nearby? I can smell it.”
They were in a small copse of birch and poplar and pine, in a wide meadow of tall grass flanked by a forest, beyond which were hills, then mountains, then mountains dusted with snow.
His left calf was wrapped in strips of bloodied cotton sheeting. He wondered why he felt no pain. He did, suddenly, feel hungry.
Sam said, “I’ll get some water, and find something to eat, in a moment.” Then his head slowly nodded and his chin fell to his chest, his mouth partly open, snoring quietly. Both of them were intimate with exhaustion, and falling asleep instantly the minute it was quiet and safe was a survival strategy.
Peter was exhausted, but he wasn’t sleepy. He turned his head and felt the rough bark against his cheek. He pulled a handful of grass and weeds and brought it to his nose, inhaling deeply. He coughed again. He stared at Sam. He looked up at a cloudless sky.
Sam had brought him to this place, this heaven. Sam was a good man. The gates of heaven would be open to Sam.
Peter was a murderer, a thief, and a liar. How is it he was allowed to sit in the cool shade, breathing, alive?
He tried to get up, but collapsed against the tree again. He watched Sam, for an hour, or maybe two, until his own eyelids fluttered shut, and he was in another kind of heaven, the heaven of dreamless sleep.
“How much is it?” she asked.
“I only have four left.”
“Then your time is up. But I’ll give you a day to spend the four you have.”
So she went after that black Alsatian that always tormented her, climbed the power pole, shredded the trousers and lower legs of that nasty man who once kicked her, and ate all the fish that she found in the garbage.
Then she happily put on the wings, and flew to heaven.