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George Harrison‘s wife Olivia has released a poetry book called Came the Lightening, a collection of “twenty poems for George.” She doesn’t claim to be a poet. However, that’s just how it all came out. Olivia knew she didn’t want to release a typical autobiography.

She also knew she wanted to give fans a glimpse of the George she knew.

George Harrison's wife Olivia at the MusiCares Person of the Year Honoring Joni Mitchell in 2022.
George Harrison’s wife, Olivia Harrison | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

George Harrison’s wife Olivia wrote a poetry book because it was the only way she knew how to tell her story

In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Olivia revealed that she started writing poetry after George died.

I went to Hawaii,” she said, “and when the moon would come up out of the ocean it would rise just to the roofline. I called that ‘moon writing.’ I would just sit there and write, going through this grief and this change, just writing on my own, hitting it head-on.”

She also told The Times she started reading poetry five years ago following a “funny turn” that caused temporary amnesia. Then, Olivia began to write poetry again. Suddenly, it came to her easier, and she couldn’t stop. She thinks it’s a positive side effect of the “funny turn.” Now, because poetry comes easier to her, she understands songwriting better.

Once her poems improved, Olivia realized that writing a poetry book was the only way she could write about her story. She didn’t want to release an ordinary autobiography.

“In my world everyone’s written their autobiography,” she told The Times. “I don’t want to. And I actually had no choice. I’m not a poet. It just came out in that form. And I tried to tell, I mean, everything in it, every line in it, there’s no artistic licence. You know, it’s all really autobiographical.”

In Came the Lightening, Olivia writes about George’s 2001 death, the first time she visited him at his home, Friar Park, staying in Hawaii, the night they heard John Lennon had died, their 1999 home invasion, and her childhood. It’s all the good and bad with moments of intimacy sprinkled in.

Olivia said she wanted to release the poetry book to show fans a more personal side of her and George’s relationship.

Olivia says her poetry book is about giving fans ‘something more personal’

Came the Lightening isn’t only about dedicating poems to George; it’s about giving fans a glimpse into a side of George that fans have never seen before.

“It was because he was a good guy,” Olivia explained in an interview with The Associated Press (per Bloomberg). “A good guy. And I thought, ‘I want people to know … these things.’ So many people think they know who George is, I thought that he deserves this, from me, to let people know something a little more personal.”

George and Olivia kept their lives extremely private over their 30 years together. Since George died, Olivia has rarely talked about her and her husband’s marriage. So, Came the Lightening is the first clear window into their relationship.


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What she wants her legacy to be

Olivia’s new poetry book isn’t her legacy. However, it’s part of it, even if she doesn’t think so. The Times asked her about what she thought her legacy would be after years of safeguarding her husband’s.

“I suppose,” she said, “I left behind some nice poppies. Seriously. Somebody could walk through the garden and be moved by it. That would be enough.”

George has undoubtedly heard the 20 poems dedicated to him and loves them.