Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena


This morning Dementia came across a story about the origin of the codeword "420" for marijuana use. It turns out that it started in 1971 in San Raphael, California, spread to the Grateful Dead and the Deadheads, and thence to High Times Magazine. And THEN it went viral it the 90s. So everything in the following poem is true. But the fact that it started in San Raphael, home of Pearly Sweetcakes, the heroine of Shel Silverstein's "Great Smoke Off", pretty much made the following poem inevitable. It took less than three hours from inception to completion.

Uncle Hyena


by Paul Haynie
after Shel Silverstein

In the laid back California town of Sunny San Raphael
Lived some stoners called the Waldoes; you probably know them well.
They had a map to a field of weed, inspiration for the mind,
And they gathered at 4:20, 'cause that field they hoped to find.

They never found that field of weed (they were stoners, after all)
But they'd found themselves a codeword that they could all recall.

The codeword reached the Grateful Dead, and the Deadhead caravan,
Who carried it from place to place at they travelled through the land.
One day the codeword reached the folks at High Times Magazine,
And from there it spread to everywhere that there's a smokin' scene.

More than forty years have gone by since that day in San Raphael,
And the legend of 420 still can cast its smoky spell.

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