Starting High School
In San Francisco, it’s the summer of love,
Long-haired hippies, peace signs, and doves.
In Vietnam, the soldiers are dying,
Back home their families are crying,
And Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.
Jim wants to “Light My Fire,”
While Grace’s rabbit only flies higher.
The evening news shows the war isn’t cool,
This week I started high school,
And “All You Need Is Love” is what The Beatles say.
Written by Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Schertz, Texas, August 1967
The photos are of Grace Slick. She is an alumna of Finch College where she majored in art. She is an accomplished artist. The artwork is hers.
Note: This is the oldest poem I have written by me. It was in notebooks and papers my mother gave me a few months before she passed away in 2014. Aren’t parents great about keeping things and then later in life returning them?
I wrote this poem as a freshman at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas. Samuel Clemens High School was two miles outside the main gate at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
Impressing, my English teacher was challenging. The assignment was to write a paper on “What I did on my summer vacation.” Instead, I wrote about what was happening in popular culture. Instead of prose, I wrote a poem. I failed to follow the rules. She called me a “beatnik hippy poet weirdo.” I viewed her insult as a compliment! I gave in, complied with her orders, and wrote five pages of drivel avoiding a grade of “F” on the assignment. I wrote about hitchhiking to the west coast.
“I Started High School” is from the forthcoming book “Jimmie Aaron Kepler: Selected Poems” from Poet and Picker Press.