In keeping with our newly launched theme, “When I am Free: Community Visions of Liberation,” today on the front porch we’re spending a little bit of time with John Giles’ piece, “Classically Free,” from the Summer 2010 issue of the Journal of Ordinary Thought.

This poem was inspired by a partnership with WFMT in April 2010. To celebrate National Poetry Month, WFMT and NWA sponsored a poetry competition asking writers to respond to Claude Debussy’s “Claire de Lune.” Listen to the piece and read the winning entries here. (Then, come back to this page!)

John Giles

It’s a cloudy day and kind of gloomy
My mind is freed while I listen
Classical music flows through my body

Soulful, giving me certain soothing vibes
I escape any problems that will
Probably return to my mind later and limit me

Free from pain, escaped to joy
Damn, for once in my life
I’m soulfully and classically free

What do you think John means by being “classically free”? Is it because of the classical music that he is listening to, or does he mean something else, something essential, by classical? How do you read the lines “Damn, for once in my life / I’m soulfully and classically free?” Is this a mournful poem, or a celebration of freedom? What possibilities does it raise to you about the different kinds of liberation possible?


  • Esther Jones

    I think he is speaking of freedom of the soul which is inspired by music, as he expresses in “Damn …soulfully and classically free. Classically could represent the means by which he obtained this freedom. I definately think it is a celebration, freedom is always a celebration to me.