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Peace ~ John Denver

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12 October 2007

These past few weeks I have been trying to think of a theme for this page to mark the tenth anniversary of john's passing. I have decided to make it a page of memories of some of his songs and what they have meant to me.

The song Rhymes and Reasons was one of the first that John recorded and the title song of his first album. It was also one of the first songs I heard him sing. I have always loved it, but never quite understood it.
I think I was misssing the point because John once said that the meaning of a song can change. He said that sometimes he would sing something for the hundreth time and suddenly it had a whole new meaning, and also  that it can mean different things to different people.
When I listened to Rhymes and Reasons in the beginning I used to think that the second verse was about nuclear war, perhaps that was because I was listening to it in the early 70s. What I loved was that it was a song full of hope in the midst of despair.

When John died it seemed to speak to me personally. I have always found the Autumn a difficult time of year because I suffer with winter depresion and John's death coming at that time of the year was especially hard because he always gave me hope when I felt down and now he was gone. One night I listened to the song
So you speak to me of sadness
And the coming of the winter
Fear that is within you now
It seems to never end
And the dreams that have escaped you
And the hope that youve forgotten
You tell me that you need me now
You want to be my friend
It almost seemed like he understood, and somehow I knew that he wasn't gone. He would always be with us.

 Then six years ago I had another wonderful experience with this song. It was the
day after September 11. I was in the garden hanging out the washing. It
was a beautiful day but I was feeling terrible as I'm sure thousands
of people were. It wasn't just the deaths of all of those people. I
was also wondering what would happen next. Was there going to be a

I was standing there lost in my thoughts when a little voice shouted "Hello".
 It was the three year ild boy from next door. I looked down at
his face. He was so happy and innocent, enjoying the good weather. He
had no idea what was going on in the world.

The sight of him in the garden made me start to sing Rhymes and Reasons

The children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers.
Their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.

Then I got to the second verse and the words just hit me.

I stopped singing and started thinking about things and what came into my mind was a book I had bought recently by Jerry Jampolsky and
Diane Circione. It was the book 'Love is Letting go of Fear' that had inspired another of John's songs.
And here was a perfect example of what that book tries to illustrate
In worrying about what was going to happen I was
missing all of the beauty of today. That little boy had no such
problem. All he was thinking of was what was happening right now. That
is what little children do.

At that moment I saw that as the wisdom of the children

In their innocence and trusting they will teach us to be free.


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When I think of flowers I think of my childhood, of wonderful outings with my mother to pick primroses beside a lake or afternoon drives with both of my parents to visit wild places filled with daffodils and bluebell woods.
I also think of a flower show that is held annually in my home town of Shrewsbury, Shropshire. 

My husband and I spent a day there in August.
Part of the show's tradition is music, and, after a lovely time wandering around the flower and craft tents and buying plants for the garden at the stalls, we settled down beside the arena to listen to the music. As the soaring tones of the Maestag Male Voice Choir began to fill the evening, I was relaxed and happy. As usual, this day had been one of the highlights of my year.

The choir came to the end of the song they were singing and a man dedicated the next song to all of the lovers in the audience. Imagine my surprise when he said the song was called 'Perhaps Love'! I was floating on air as I listened to their beautiful rendition of John's song. The harmonies were exquisit and, as they sang, a ray of sunlight shone across the arena, the one bright interval during a cloudy evening. As if that wasn't enough, a few minuites later they announced that their next song was 'The Flower That Shatterred the Stone'! Before they did this song they told of how they had performed it at The Eden Project the previous year and how appropriate that had seemed as that place had been created from an old Cornish quarry and was now a place fully of fowers and blossom. I don't think they had realised that the same was true of where they were singing it now as Shrewsbury's Quarry Park, where the flower show is held, was also originally an old quarry beside the river, and has been transformed into a flower filled paradise. It was such a wonderful place to hear that song, especially for me as I have known it all of my life and played there as a little girl.

The Eden Project, too, is a place of beautiful memories as we visited there last year. I am sure John would be so happy that his music had been performed in that place dedicated to the environment.

The choir performed John's songs with such beauty that we decided to buy the CD that had 'Perhaps Love' on it. Every time I listen to it I am transported back to that evening.

John's songs are full of images of flight, and this is not surprising since he was the son of an air force pilot and a pilot himself. But it's not just the images from the lyrics. Somehow his music soars and takes you to another place.
Last year, at the same flower show that I spoke of above, there was a Spitfire flying high above the showground and it reminded me of the song 'The Higher we Fly' inspired by the beautiful poem 'High Flight'.
When I returned home I did some research on the poem and I found the "High Flight Page' It is fascinating and among the merchandise you can buy there is a video of John singing the song.
Click on the Spitfire to go there.


 How sad that John Gillespie Macgee, the young Spitfire pilot who wrote the poem died only a few short months after writing that poem, but what a wonderful gift he left to the world and John, too died in a plane crash and left the world the wonderful gift of his music.

To serenade the stars that shine
From a sunny mountainside,
Most of all to sing my songs for you.
I love to sing my songs for you,
Yes, I do, you know,
I love to sing my songs for you.