The Hippy’s Lament (with apologies to Lewis Carroll)



“You are old, Mother mine,” was my dear son’s remark, “and your hair should be turning quite white,

Yet you spend half your income on keeping it dark. Do you think at your age it is right?”


“In my youth, my dear boy,” I replied with disdain, “my long hair was my pride and my joy.

It was shiny and straight. It hung down to my waist. Was that question designed to annoy?”


“You are old, Mother mine and – with limited means – should be wearing nice twin sets and tweed.

Yet you wander around in rope sandals and jeans, like a poster for Hippies in Need.”


“In my youth, precious boy, I’d the freedom to choose Berber kaftans and carved wooden beads.

Smocks made of cheesecloth, henna tattoos and long strings of dried melon seeds.”


“You are old, Mother mine. Do you think that you should play that music late into the night?

It’s raucous. It’s tuneless. It’s simply no good. Please keep your L.P.s out of sight.”


Out of sight was a tribute before I gave birth, when Ginsberg and Dylan were gods.

I danced at the Round House and in Middle Earth, so will you stop shouting the odds!”


“You are old, Mother mine. Is that thick racy book the sort of thing you should be reading?

At your age, you’d be better off taking a look at designs for the shawl you’ll be needing.”


“Silly boy! There’s nothing in that book to shock me, one of the free love generation

Who danced naked at Woodstock and hugged every tree when flower power first rocked the nation.”


“You are old, Mother mine, and I don’t like the sound of the holiday that you’ve just planned.

A coach trip with Saga would do you more good… and find you a nice bit of sand.”


“So far, I’ve bitten my lip, but that’s quite enough. Will you please now get out of my hair!

I’m not going to listen all day to this stuff. Damn it! I’m younger than Cher.


I’ll find my own beach and it will be somewhere hot, where the wine and the music flow freely;

Take time to decide whether to come home or not. I’ll send you a postcard. Yes, really!”

This poem was first published in The Anthology of Great Writing and has also been read on Radio Ryedale.