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Holland- Amsterdam, 1968

Lying in our sleeping bag in the great student hall
The Thief of Bagdad was playing on the wall
We had found the long-haired tribe of youth-
Europe on $5 a day, and counter-culture truth.

How we spoke of love in common speech
Of acoustic guitars and pipes of hashish.
O we would alter the course of history
Which has made the world bare of dreams!

O so tolerant the Dutch, in their formal ways
To smile upon us in those errant days
Indifferent to the drum beats in the parks
They let the hippies do their dance in the dark-

That was long ago, they knew it wouldn’t last.
They were young once, and we grow up fast

Last few words: 
(The youth center of Europe in the age the baby boomers came of age...)......... This poem is from a collection of 25 sonnets and traditionally formed poems about different places that have left a bookmark in my memory......... Some of us will remember Europe of $5 a day (today it's probably $500 for backpackers).........The Theif of Bagdad by Korda was the film. Most of us were tripping........ The Dutch were surely the most mellow in Europe, and each time I'm there I remember those days. (I have used ...... to show different lines. This section seems to condense comments and not allow paragraphing...i can't figure out otherwise..Help!)
Editing stage: 

Comments

I think it is a wonderful sonnet!
Thank you for sharing!
It conveys the atmosphere of the 60-70s .
Am I correct?
I can only judge by films.
A real pleasure to read!

IRiz

Yes I was a late teen back then.
Here's another one you might like...Russia back then..

It was quite difficult for an American to go to the USSR. We were able to tag along to Leningrad for a week trip with a French Communist Party group. It was the “White Nights” time when the city sees the sun for 23 hours. We were hippies and far from being communists, but it got us a visa to see for ourselves. At the time "freeks" (spelled that way on purpose) was the name we adopted, enjoying the irony...)

.
Soviet Union- Leningrad, 1972

Music of balalaika filled the parks in the haze
With a hint of twilight in a midnight glaze-
Venice of the North, healing from the Stalin days;
Avenues of vodka drunks walking sideways

Women big as bears polished the great public squares,
Babushka’s covering red cheeks and grey hairs,
Lovers kissed on the bridges by canals everywhere-
So this was the enemy I was brought up to fear.

My hair was long, and our dress was hippie chic
With a tourist visa for no more than a week
How they stared at us with shock and disbelief
Having never seen a diplomacy of freeks,

Offering anything for our clothes, shoes and jewelry,
Touching, applauding, as if we were royalty!

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

What a wonderful poem.
Yes, haze and twilight and angry women in babushkas and canals with bridges arching over.
Foreigners were exotic beats. They smell different and they were unexpectedly friendly.

IRiz

I've never been to the Netherlands or Europe, for that matter, but I remember those days. Exciting and we thought we were going to change the world! ~ Geezer.
.

Please acknowledge critique and comments.
They are a vital part of our community!
Critique or comment today!

A nostalgic look back at a time of good will, rejoicing in the multi cultural and nicely crafted
I could stop there, but then I would have to omit that I can't imagine that there must have been something missing, perhaps a quiet despair, a longing or an uncertainty.

Am I projecting, because I can not remember a day in my life where there wasn't something gnawing at me, even if remote.

It may just be my temperament so I encourage you not to take me to seriously if you feel the shoe doesnt fit, but I myself always hunger for a touch of ambiguity, a surprise, a transformation, some ineffable intensity that spills over that gives me a glimpse into another.

PS I welcome push back if my comment seems off. A big part of writing is learning to read better, more deeply. Help me read better. What did I miss or did I strike a chord.
If your comfortable with it I encourage dialogue / dialectic

Best Always Z

is a bigger part of my life now, and so am writing with that in the background lately.
In a sonnet, there's only some much you want to put into it...So the poem does touch on a historical event, as Amsterdam was the center of youth counterculture in those years. Just trying to evoke a few things for a universal- the kindness of the reserved and proper Dutch- they were once young and knew how quickly the world makes us play in its rules. But tried to catch the mood of being there at 18 and 19. Most of the rest of Europe was not any more "hippie" friendly then in the USA.
I think the poem also wants to say " What a time! So glad I was there!"

So varied are the sounds and shapes of poetry, like music. Some poems can be light, nostalgic poetic truth...I think there's room for it all- the poems where you spill the guts and the ones you just hit "the nostalgia of the present" (That great line is Vozenensky's)
...

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

Yes, definitely agreed. I had just finished reading several poems, each of immense intensity. They where tearfully penetrating and I found myself re reading passages almost as if to demystify their magic but instead found myself even more mystified by how certain writers got under my skin.

To your point there is much written in various forms that are light, historic, scenic nostalgic etc. and are perfectly wonderful reading as your 2 poems are.

How we spoke of love in common speech
Of acoustic guitars and pipes of hashish.
O we would alter the course of history
Which has made the world bare of dreams!

I'm slipping into the couch with a drowsy, sort of half disgusted and half grossed oiut--don't we usually have to tolerate this kind of monotony on fatigued days, or during the half alive and half asleep emotions during a difficult breakup, the more negative ones slowly lolling to sleep as one remembers the mediocre days and nights. Too bad it's about such an exciting decade.

I think you missed the obvious sarcasm of the banality of the stanza. It is not intended to be accepted a priori. The poem uses the Dutch as "the adults in the room" for our rants.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment
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