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  john&yoko's acorns for peace

John&Yoko's Coventry acorns letter for sale

Coventry Evening Telegraph (September 2001): "A letter written by John Lennon to a former clergyman at Coventry Cathedral is expected to fetch up to £8,000 when it is auctioned next month. The letter, written in 1968, followed Lennon's visit to the city in the summer of that year, during which he and his wife Yoko Ono donated a white, wrought iron circular garden seat to the cathedral as part of Canon Stephen Verney's sculpture exhibition. In the centre of the circle there was a piece of turf and Lennon planted two acorns in small pots as a symbol of his love for Yoko. He named the sculpture Yoko by John - John by Yoko. But he was angered when the acorns were stolen just days after they had been planted. The Evening Telegraph received an anonymous phone call from a man who simply said: "I have them in my possession," before hanging up." The couple are also believed to be angry that Canon Verney, pictured, to refused their request to issue a leaflet to visitors who were interested in the meaning behind the sculpture.

Lennon wrote the letter to Canon Verney on June 28 that year. At the end he said: "Could we not substitute something which is not worth stealing instead, and which says quite simply, 'Sit here, and think of a church growing into a bigger church? Then we needn't bother to have clergy and everybody can enjoy the idea'." In a catalogue published by auctioneers Christie's, Lennon is reported to have planted one acorn facing east, and the other facing west, symbolising his and Yoko's places of birth. Lennon also penned the phrase - "Plant an acorn for peace" to accompany the event.

The description in the catalogue is of a "22-line letter, written in black ink, the capital letters D, C and V on the address, annotated by Lennon with small character faces. John opens the letter on a bitterly sarcastic note, thanking Verney for his Christian attitude and objecting to Verney's apparent refusal to issue Lennon and Ono's explanatory leaflet for their sculpture. "Lennon proceeds to take issue with Verney over apparent concerns he has regarding the influence John and Yoko's piece might have." Canon Verney left Coventry in 1970, after 12 years at the cathedral, and went on to become Precentor of the Royal Chapel at Windsor. A Christie's spokesman said he was unable to confirm who has put the letter up for sale. The auction will be on October 4th 2001"

Acorns and John&Yoko

  • Coventry City Council about the acorns event:
    "Two acorns, planted in Coventry Cathedral’s Unity Lawn on June 14, 1968, represented the very first public collaboration for peace between John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Placed in the ground on an east-west axis beneath a circular white garden seat, they were both a symbol of the couple’s love for each other and a contribution to a major sculpture exhibition then being hosted by the Cathedral. But at that point all thoughts of peace and harmony vanished. Souvenir hunters dug up the acorns, Lennon fell out spectacularly with the exhibition organisers over their decision to move the bench and the row left mutual recrimination in the air."

  • About the acorns event in 2005 in The Guardian:
    "The plan? To bring together east and west. "We suddenly realised that when we planted the two acorns together, there was no distance between them," says Yoko. "The famous poem of 'East is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet' was true - but John and I brought east and west together out of our love."

  • In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono mailed acorns to world leaders asking them to plant the acorns for peace.

  • In 1996, Yoko Ono organized a web event called Acorns: 100 Days with Yoko Ono, which was based on her instruction pieces and audience participation.

  • In 2008, starting on the 40th anniversary of the Acorn Peace Event on June 15th 2008, Yoko Ono published an acorn every day for 100 days at the event website

  • In 2009, Yoko Ono will mail 123 Acorn Peace boxes to world leaders and heads of state, hoping they will plant them in their garden and grow two oak trees for world peace.

More information

"Yoko makes peace visit to Cathedral" (October 2005)

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