Friday, October 22, 2010

John Lennon and Martha Greysocks

John Lennon’s birthday, October 9th, was all over the news. We still miss him. Several channels broadcasted an artist’s rendering of what he would have looked like had he lived to see his seventieth birthday. But it’s not the face we miss, it’s the music. What would he be writing and singing and playing today? Think of how much his lyrics grew in the forty years he did have.

From the spring of his youth:
Well, shake it up baby, now
Twist and shout c’mon, c’mon, c’mon, c’mon baby now
Come on and work it on out

To summer’s height:
When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
But now those days are gone, I’m not so self assured
Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors

To fall’s ripening:
I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go

John morphed through the seasons unafraid of changing from rock star to househusband, often forcing us to look at our clich├ęs through the bite of his truth.

They say life begins at forty
Age is just a state of mind
If all that's true, you know that I've
Been dead for thirty-nine

Still, he wasn’t afraid to visualize the ideal either.

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

So I wonder how he would have viewed his wintery seventies. I think he may have felt like the character in a wise poem written by a friend of mine, Terre Compton.

Martha Greysocks said,

“The journey to the end 
of my obligations
is a long travel.

In spring,
promise of new life
bends to the song of summer.

In fall, my shadow
wrestles with my soul
until first snow.

In winter, things
find a way to survive.
Secrets are like that too.
They have a way of
surfacing from the ground
so that I can know the truth. . .”
                              Terre Compton

One of an artist’s roles is to awaken us from our preoccupation with surfaces. I think John might have mocked winter’s concern with wrinkles, arthritis, and the slowing of the mind, yet reminded us, as Terre does, there are still secrets to discover. Reminded us not to dread winter but to

Surfacing from the ground
We all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun