Legacy

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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 will 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?

(reposted from my mother blog Making it Write)

©Jane Paterson Basil