William F. Buckley Jr.'s literal interpretation of John Lennon's song "Imagine" {"No, Yoko, I Can't Imagine," op-ed, Oct. 17} would probably have amused Lennon, given Buckley's political predilections.

In his article Buckley said that the "homilies of John Lennon have a hard time up against those of Christ," incorrectly implying that Lennon was inviting such a comparison by writing "Imagine." This was not the case. Perhaps Buckley intended to remind us of Lennon's statement in the '60s about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus. Fortunately, the interpretations and historical allegories set forth by Buckley are incongruous in light of the central message of Lennon's song.

After candidly admitting that he had never heard the music to "Imagine" (thereby putting himself at a disadvantage), Buckley nevertheless went on to interpret the song in a literal, segmented manner, distorting the song's images and ideas about world peace.

"Imagine" creates the idea of a peaceful planet where men and women of all races, creeds and colors no longer measure their humanity in terms of religion, property or nationality. The song is one man's dream of a world free from war, greed and hunger. "Imagine" is not at all a bad beginning for such a world.

Is such a world realistic, or even possible? Probably not. But "Imagine" is a poignant reminder for those, like Buckley, who may have given up on the world's chances for peace. If property, as Buckley believes, is "the most important basis" of human freedom, then we are in for a long, bitter struggle. Given such a scenario, we might well wonder at what juncture Buckley will want to explain "Give Peace A Chance" for us. -- Patrick J. Massari

It may enlighten William F. Buckley Jr. to know that John Lennon said many times that music is an expression of how the artist feels and thinks, not a call to action. His song "Imagine" is just a little Utopian dream that he shares with us. And it is certainly a more appealing fantasy than much of the popular musical garbage that is peddled today.

Can't Buckley bring himself to appreciate, or even share, someone else's appealing fantasy?

Shame on him for making "Imagine" a target.

It's just a song. -- John D. Tifft

William F. Buckley's article on "Imagine" struck me as coming from a man in touch with his intellect but distanced from his spirit.

Buckley admittedly struggled with understanding "John Lennon's point in wishing that all life stand for is the present moment, today." Well, I urge him to consider that his life is right now.

Living in the moment is, at root, a Buddhist concept. Buddhism holds that it is through a pointed awareness of what's going on in the present moment that humans get at truth. Buddhism is doing and has nothing to do with believing. Because Buckley found it "difficult to understand" the concept of living in the moment, I suggest that he try this exercise: the next time he takes a walk, he should try to let go of everything in his mind and simply be aware of walking. The same goes for when he drives his car, brushes his teeth or puts on his shoes.

Mindfulness cannot be intellectualized or explained; it has to be experienced. So the title of Mr. Buckley's essay, "No, Yoko, I Can't Imagine," was perfect. Of course, he can't imagine -- he has to do, he has to practice living in the moment.

-- Christopher P. Cherney

William F. Buckley Jr.'s snide and cynical analysis of John Lennon's song "Imagine" demonstrated that he knows nothing of the man or his music. Buckley took Lennon to task for the audacity of wishing for a pristine world and even attempted to tarnish him with references to slavery, Hitler and subversiveness.

Buckley wrote, "It is quite difficult to understand John Lennon's point in wishing that all life stand for is the present moment, today." Enlightened and better minds, Lennon among them, might point out that if we would treat Earth as our only heaven, then perhaps we would strive to make Earth a far better place. Lennon dreamed of an earthly Utopia. What does Buckley imagine is wrong with that?

If Lennon was guilty of anything it was of being hopelessly hopeful.

I'm confused why someone as peace-loving and charitable as Lennon threatens the Buckleys of the world. Imagine a world in which everyone thought like William F. Buckley Jr; then imagine another in which everyone thought like John Lennon. Which would you choose?

-- Dean Schleicher