Mumbling Sheep


At the start of the end of the heady hippie days
I briefly dipped my toes in the sinking hippie ways.
I floated in long dresses and I jingled as I walked,
I used the hippie lingo every time I talked.
I tried smoking cannabis, but not for very long;
it took all my sense away and made me feel wrong.

I never fancied LSD – I liked to see the world
in its organic gorgeousness, not twisted and unfurled.
I disagreed with half the things the lippy hippies said;
they thought they were original, but their minds half dead.
They told me I was brainwashed because my ideas
were far too well-considered for their dippy hippie ears.

They said that they were breaking out of mediocrity,
they said their way of life was a better way to be,
they said they wanted peace and an end to all the killing,
but when I asked for action, few of them were willing.
They spoke of demonstrations, but they always missed the train,
or they couldn’t be bothered, or they feared that it might rain.

I was often irritated by their inconsistency;
the only thing they stood up for was brewing cups of tea.
Most of them were stoned from smoking Mary Jane,
a few of them were tripping, and one had gone insane
from swallowing blues, snorting speed and smoking weed —
to put it very bluntly, they had all gone to seed.

It’s true that their culture had seen some better days,
but I met a lot of mumbling sheep, slumped in a fuzzy haze;
while I was a thinker, and I let my thoughts run free,
they were more concerned with the psychedelic creed.
They agreed with whatever concepts stood at odds
with all the world’s hard working, deep thinking bods.

It was interesting at first, and fun for a bit,
but it wasn’t very long before I had to admit
I didn’t fit in with my drug-loving friends
who spoke of new beginnings, but never tied up ends.
I looked like a hippie, but I felt no passion
for the pseudo hippiedom in local fashion.

Written for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #Week 10.

©Jane Paterson Basil

39 thoughts on “Mumbling Sheep

  1. As with most trends, there was a true heart to the hippie movement, but all types adopt the “fashion” of a movement and then it gets a bad name. Look at much of organized religion. But, you can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not knocking the hippie movement itself. I think of amazing people like Joan Baez and Buffy Saint Marie as the true heart of it, but my friends in this corner of Devon were more keen on taking drugs, being negative and listening to the likes of Frank Zappa – who, while he was surrounded by flower people, held very different views. There was darkness around his camp. I’ve read the background to the roots of the San Francisco movement. While the devotees were sincere, those who engineered it might not have been. Maybe that’s what lay behind the drug culture which destroyed it, accelerating the growth of the Needle of Death, which Joan Baez warned us about. She continues to sing “We shall overcome”, her voice strong and sure. She makes me weep, restoring my faith in humanity. She remains grounded in her pure roots of peace, freedom and good sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved your poem and it bought back so many memories, I’m not sure what I was, part hippie, part surfie, part nerdie, and definitely part naïve…. Geelong was basically a larger country town, but I managed to find the music shops, and a trendy radio station or two, and all I really wanted was more music,…… and I always developed my own opinions and standards.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Part hippie, part surfie, part nerdie – a good combination. I was a misfit looking to belong. I wanted to live and be accepted, but I didn’t know what living meant. In the end my individual views, quirky nature and sense of humour won me friendship and respect.
      I tripped down various avenues of sound, but they all led me back to the caress of one hallowed voice.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Whoa! What a mind-blowing journey you describe in the poem, and continue in the comments section. Especially,”I tripped down various avenues of sound, but they all led me back to the caress of one hallowed voice.” This belongs to a literary piece, not a comment.

    Jane, I sincerely wish to continue the association, read what you write and know more of you, not about you. The challenge or its changing formats do not matter. The exploration continues….

    Thanks for all that you have contributed to give me strength, unknowingly ….We shall overcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aha – the ongoing conversation between Ivor and I about our beloved Leonard…
      If I have given you strength, then it’s strength passed on to me by my forbears, by my experiences, and by the people I’ve met on the way, especially here on WP. You’ve listened to my voice, and encouraged it to grow. The kindness and support that I’ve received on this site has changed my life – but I think you know that – I often mention it 😉
      If we continue to share the love, then surely – We shall overcome someday.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I always wanted to be a hippie but not that kind, I’m more get grounded walking barefoot in the dirt with pretty purple dress and flowers in my hair….but I don’t have a green thumb and tend to kill plants, so I don’t pluck them, I let them be….never been to SanFran….no desire to I suppose, I just hang, write poetry and listen to the Moody Blues ad nauseam 🙂 another fine piece Jane ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhh, the Moody Blues. My brother and I went to see Justin Hayward at our local theatre a few weeks ago. his voice isn’t as strong as it used to be, but he’s still an amazing performer – and he had an incredible guitarist called Mike Dawes with him. Justin can still do justice to Forever Autumn…

      Liked by 1 person

              1. time will tell, I go in about the new job in an hour (most likely the formal offer) and if I meet some good people who I trust with the dogs, hubs and I could make a night of it. It isn’t till January so theres still time ❤

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. assistant manager at a women’s resort clothes wear ( upscale and beautiful place) does not work on commissions and the women I met are all friendly and it’s like a big happy family. Grateful to be accepted into the fold. I start Thursday morning 🙂 happy dance 🙂

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. no, I was assistant manager at a Pizzeria for 10 years when I was younger, my job after that started ground level minimum wage but I spent 17 years there and was made salaried with a production planner role. Only an assistant manager here and that’s good 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

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