Rod McKuen– growing up, his poetry occupied a place of honor in our home. My mother kept his books on the china hutch next to a set of the Lives of the Saints. I think what I like best about his poems is their emotional vulnerability; they’re personal… like reading his diary. His popularity in the 60s and 70s suggests that people love to feel emotionally connected. BTW I’m gaga for the mod cover art.
McKuen was also a successful song writer, nominated for an Acadamy Award for the song Jean written for the movie, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. The first 45 record I remember buying was Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun– only much later did I realize it was a McKuen song.
Now without further ado, my NaPoWriMo poem-of-the-day:
Those long hot days
we stretched our brown legs in the tall grass.
The summer lawn hosted a thousand dandelions
and we strung plastic charms along a tattered thread,
made bracelets from clover,
ate strawberries from a tin.
Oh, as a child, the things I wanted to be.
Pilot, archeologist, artist, writer.
When I wasn’t looking
the days and seasons fell away like beads
from a broken string.
That’s the thing.
There’s too many to catch so they clatter,
roll away forever,
in this direction and that.
Almost as though they never mattered.
But then way turns into way,
and the path was curly, as paths go,
and well, you know.
Here I am.
Summer is pulling up to the garage
and I’ve got my pen in hand
and a thousand dandelions at my feet.