they used to act crazy and they said they didn’t care
about the state of their clothes or the cut of their hair
but their jeans had to flare and their locks were always long
and their colour-clashing fashion style was never wrong
their music was appealing, though it wasn’t the kind
you could write without the aid of a pill to shape the mind

they looked looked down their noses at those who had cash
their ashtrays overflowed with wacky baccy ash
they’d float up the road in their long drooping skirts
dragged down by the weight of the grey roadside dirt
they said they wanted freedom, they said they wanted peace
but a lot of them just wanted to score some LSD

the best of them were present at important demonstrations
while the rest of them confined themselves to cliched remonstrations
they complained about the bread-heads, the straights and the dole
they didn’t think that they should have to take a working role
so they sat in cosy corners in a muttering clutch
making ignorant remarks that didn’t help much

they were young and the world pulsed under their feet
and they thought it would dance to their youthful heartbeat
but you can’t change the world when you haven’t a clue
about what is the right and the wrong thing to do
you can’t change the world to fit your shoes
you can try if you like, but you’re bound to lose

the best of them examined the world as it turned
changing their course through the lessons they learned
looking for ways to make the world a better place
for the birds, beasts and fishes, and the human race
or simply settling down to an average life
with house, job, two kids and a husband or wife

and what of the hippies that they left behind
who lived for themselves and chose to be blind?
their years went by in a chemical haze
and sometimes they’d shuffle in a glass-eyed daze
down to the shops to pick up some fags
their psychedelic clothing reduced to rags

every so often an old friend would say
“so-and-so died in the hospital today
he should have been placed on suicide watch
goodness knows where he got that match
but he started a fire and he lay on the bed
they tried to save him, but he wound up dead.”

some of them found heroin and some found crack
some died from overdose or heart attack
some of them are locked in a psychiatric ward
the ones who kept their freedom are all getting bored
sitting in a chair with a warm cup of tea
trying to pull a tenner from fifty p.

we’re the predecessors of the current youth
and it’s time we admitted to the difficult truth
for fifty years the drug disease has been growing
while half the world ignored the seeds that it was sowing
the present generation is the most affected yet
all of us are shocked, but what did we expect?

©Jane Paterson Basil


17 thoughts on “Legacy

    1. Sorry you didn’t like it. It wasn’t meant to go that way – I had something different in mind, but every so often I accidentally fall into slam rhythm, and I lose control.
      But it’s true – I was part of the hippy scene in the early seventies (but I didn’t quite fit in as I didn’t do drugs) and it was already starting to go wrong. I still live in the same area, and I’ve watched my old friends losing their minds, becoming addicts, overdosing, committing suicide and generally dying before their time. The ones who didn’t move on are all long gone, and I’m only sixty…


        1. Thank you – that’s a massive compliment.
          Are you a shape-shifter, or just a master of disguise? I swear that yesterday you had the face of a woman, and you were wearing glasses, but today day you’re whatisname off the TV… 🙂


    1. It was funny – I really was on fire, and I got to those lines and suddenly felt stuck. It took me a minute to realise that I wasn’t stuck; it was just that I’d finished the poem while my braqin was on overdrive. It felt a bit like I was in the passenger seat of a car and the driver had suddenly pressed the brake sown hard, sending me hurtling through the windscreen.
      I was a bit surprised when I read through the rant and saw it was practically word and rhythm-perfect! I hardly had to touch it – probably because those thoughts have been going through my head for so many years.
      Sometimes I get scared that one day I will use up all of the things I have to say…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Are you telling me that I’m never likely to achieve my ambition to spend my waning years sitting with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand, staring at a wall, happily dreaming that my head is resting on the shoulder of my long lost love? Dammit!

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I intend to. I knew from when I first learnt to read well, when opening a book sent a thrill through me, and I wondered what new worlds were hidden inside its pages for me to discover, – I knew from those early days that I wanted to create the kind of magic that can only happen when you open a book. Even now, fifty five years later, I get butterflies in my stomach when I remember the feel of those early books, the smell of the flyleaf and the excitement of turning to the title page. By the time I got to the first chapter I was ready to burst. Nothing has given me a feeling like it since – although seeing Van Gogh’s paintings at the Louvre (Not the one in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, they aren’t his best) came a close second…
      I’m rambling. I love to ramble, and to rant, and to rave…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. whatisname! Jane, it’s Doctor Who. I only watch a couple of shows, and that’s my favorite! I’m not one of those nerdy-types, though. I have a few of the main characters, and they just keep flipping.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it’s the Doctor, but I don’t have a TV, and I like to pretend I don’t know anything about the programmes on it. I used to watch the original Doctor Who William Hartnell) about a hundred years ago’ and I’ve caught several of the others. David Tennant upset me though. I think the doctor should be above falling in love – and with such an unlikely candidate! I’d like to see how Peter Capaldi carries it off – I reckon he’s be good. But I don’t like flying Daleks – it’s just too unlikely.
      Perhaps they’ve all been killed off?


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