Imagine by John Lennon was written and performed in 1971 during the Vietnam War. According to Wikipedia, the song Imagine is one of the top 100 most-performed songs of the twentieth century.
The song has been divided into five stanzas in which the 3rd stanza is repeated at the end. There is no definite rhyme scheme in the song. In stanza 1, the rhyme scheme is ABCBD, in stanza 2, it is ABCBB, and in stanza 4, it is ABCBD.
Lennon, in the song, imagines an ideal world without boundaries, religions, possessions, etc and in which the people will live happily.
In the first stanza, the poet asks the readers and the audience to Imagine that there is no heaven and no hell and it’s easy if you try according to him. The idea of heaven and hell is in almost all the major religions in the world like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc.
This idea is however different in all the religions and also the cause of a number of wars, crusades, enmity among the people and even the countries. Thus for Lennon, Heaven and Hell, or in other words life after death has no reality or proof.
In the third line, he asks us to Imagine that all the people living for today and above us are nothing but the only sky. The poet is asking the people to leave aside what has been prescribed and advised in their religions and beliefs and rather consider the world as the ultimate reality and live for today.
In the second stanza, the poet again asks us to imagine there’s no countries and no religion too and thus nothing to kill or die for. According to the poet, it isn’t hard to do i.e. there is no big deal in imagining it.
The countries and the religions divide the people and also lead them to fight and kill each other. The poet thus wants us to imagine what if these two dividing forces were not here on the earth, then no person would die or kill others. And thus all the people living life in peace.
The third stanza is a kind of chorus. The poet says that the people may think that he is a dreamer. However, according to him, he is not the only one to think like this.
There are many others as well and someday we will also join him and that day the world will be one. There will be unity among the people, and peace and prosperity will prevail.
In the fourth stanza, the poet asks us to imagine that there would be no possessions and no need for greed or hunger and thus a brotherhood of man would exist where all the people will be sharing all the world.
In this stanza, the poet talks about material possessions. Materialistic desires lead to greed and thus capitalism, which again divides the society into classes i.e. rich and poor class. This desire is, again a cause of problems faced by the people in the world.
The poet thus asks us to think and imagine if we would give up the desire to possess the material things, there will be no fight, no class, no greed and thus no problem. Universal brotherhood will prevail in the world and it will be shared by all the people equally.
The fifth and the final stanza is again a chorus repeated by the poet. He says that though he is a dreamer, he will too join him someday and thus the world will be one.
The song or the poem reflects the dream of a poet who wants to see the world problem-free. For him, religion, afterlife, countries, possessions, etc are the things that divide the people and make them fight with each other.
As a dreamer, he asks the readers and the audience to imagine like him and see the world as he does. Though it is difficult to imagine so, yet we will someday find it to be the ultimate solution and will accept it and then we will be one.
The word Imagine has been repeated a number of times in the poem.
- All the people have also been repeated a number of times.
- There is also a repetition of the third stanza. The word You has been also repeated two times in the song.
In stanza 2 and 4, the line ends with the word you but the sentence continues to the next stanza.
- the world will be as one
- I’m not the only one
- the people living life
- No need for greed
- all the people sharing all the world