Under Blue Berkshire Skies

Stevie, we were free,

Stevie, you and me,

On that golden day,

Was it ’68?   

The decade’s last few days,

The whole wild world was crazed,

But where we were was peace,

For you and me at least.

We walked and talked

For many hours,

Safe under blue Berkshire skies.

                                                                  

If I stop for a moment,

I dream groves and country paths,

Green’s Albatross is playing

In this our past,

Whole empires were falling,

The old ways were fading fast,

Things never last,

But you and I found peace at last.

We walked and talked

For many hours,

Safe under blue Berkshire skies.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

Under Blue Berkshire Skies, was written in 2003 in praise of a friendship enjoyed several decades previously as a ‘new boy’ at college in the beautiful English county of Berkshire, and yet haunted both by the Spirit of ’68, and the Brian Wilson/Beach Boys obra maestra, Surf’s Up, a song which somehow served to evoke the twilight of an era of historic momentousness.

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Starward's picture

1968 was the last year of my

1968 was the last year of my childhood innocence.  The next year, although only eleven year old, I began to hang out with the older teenagers on our dead end street, and began to learn about things for which I was neither prepared nor able to cope with in full.  1968 was the last year when the Saturday afternoon horror movie was at its best; when balsa wood airplanes, with rubber band driven propellers, floated on warm spring breezes; the last time summer seemed endless; and the last year we celebrated, at school, with a Christmas party.  At that party I was exposed to a particularly nasty strain of the flu (when a fellow student literally sneezed in my face), on that Friday the last day before Christmas break.  I spent the remainder of Christmas break confined to bed, sipping cold orange juice and unable to eat anything.  On Christmas Eve, my fever spiked to its highest and then began to fall, signalling a turn.  At the same time, the great Welsh poet, Gwenallt (bardic name of David J Jones) died in hospital from his final illness. The world was different entirely in that next year, 1969, and I did not, then, understand why.  I am not sure, half a century later, that I even understand it fully now.  Sorry to have been so verbose.


Starward

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Carl_Halling's picture

UK and US...

In the UK, as I am sure in the US too, the sixties was to a degree a battleground between the old world of the 1950s, and the new one represented by the Rock/Youth culture. I passionately embraced the counterculture, even though I was still terribly young. 1969 was to a degree a year of loss of innocence, of course you had Woodstock, but that was very much a final party in a sense, dark shadows were spreading across the sixties. It is as if the spirit of the Sixties had won, while the old more innocent world was fading from view, although it was far from defunct. Yet, the spirit of the 1960s was wearing by 1969 a face far less innocent than that which first became apparent only a few short years before. I really enjoyed your observations, and find myself musing about the strange year of 1969.


Born London, residing London Metropolitan Area.

Starward's picture

You are absoultely right in

You are absoultely right in your analysis of the dark side of the sixties.  I think that is when the drug problem either really took a tight grip on the counterculture, or when we, on the sidelines, became aware of its grip on them.  Also, the Manson murders happened in the summer of 69, which, for us kids (not yet adolescents) cast a dark and ominous shadow over the whole summer.  There definitely was a sense of something either ending, or becoming corrupt.  My first crush on a girl happened in June of that year, and, when revealed, my feelings for her were flung back in my face with mockery and pity, so there was an open emotional wound that, because I saw her almost daily, was constantly being torn open and rescabbed.  But I think one of the best metaphors for 1969 was Zager and Evans single hit, "2525."


Starward

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Carl_Halling's picture

Definitely...

You had a darker kind of music too, represented by bands such as The Doors in LA; and the Velvet underground in NYC; and the Beatles' 'White Album' probably inadvertently summed up the sense of shadows falling on the once optimistic dream of the 1950s, albeit a year earlier. The Zager and Evans song was a number one hit here in the UK, must listen to it again.


Born London, residing London Metropolitan Area.

Starward's picture

Yes, I had forgotten about

Yes, I had forgotten about them.  


Starward

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