Sunday, July 12, 2015

Poetry Prompt #30: Writing With Rod McKuen

I think there's probably nothing more sad, in the history of the arts, as a revolutionary poet who has not been paid his due.  One such poet, in my opinion, would be Rod McKuen.

Though he hit his stride during the 60's and 70's as a lyrical genius (whose songs rivaled with those of legend Bob Dylan), McKuen was one of America's most well-known contemporary poets of the times.  However, in the early 80's, having exhausted himself from constant readings, recordings, guest appearances, and interviews...Rod McKuen retired to the seclusion of his California home where he reportedly still wrote, but no longer mingled with the media.

I, personally, discovered his work about six years ago when I discovered three hardbound editions of his books at a local thrift shop.  It was a snowy, dark winter evening when I sat and had coffee with the beautiful words of Rod McKuen.  Since then, I've read quite a bit of his work and have devoured his recordings wherever I could find them.

It's sad when you search online poetry databases of famous poets, and a prodigy like McKuen is not present.  I suppose when this kind of injustice happens, it is up to us (fans and readers) to keep the legacy alive.

That is why, for this weeks prompt, I urge to you write in the style of Rod McKuen.

Many of his poems were observational.  He wrote of romance, the distance often felt between himself and others.  McKuen wrote diligently of the loneliness as a human condition.  He also wrote of seasons, the sun, holidays...the very spirit of just being.

Below you will find a few poems written by Rod McKuen:

In Praise of Morning

I enter you. Rest awhile.
The darkness here is safe.
I would love to turn the page
of every day in this same way,
see everything from your eyes
                looking out.
Touch what there is to touch
with your fingers, rub up against
the afternoon as part of your
                   thighs rubbing.

My cheek grazing yours is like
resolve, the sureness of forever.

Your tongue is wet and lazy
at leisure in my mouth
the way I loaf inside of you..

The only movement
in the world is the dawn's bright
diamond necklace stringing itself
across the new horizon.

A Nocturne for Hermes

Love is mindless.
Give it directions and off it goes.
Provide it with purpose and lose it.
Excuse it for being only love
         and expect a confrontation.
Remind it of its duties
and it will stay in bed asleep.
But let us pretend it's a bit more balanced,
             just for the sake of pretending.

Suppose it's a rose forever opening.
A wise little child that won't grow old.
How do you keep its center
                               from darkening?
Always lean it toward the light.
Give it the afternoon off when you can,
but never a rest in the middle night.

**Poems retrieved from the personal webpage of Rod McKuen (as referenced below)

Although Rod McKuen passed away earlier in the year, you can read his biography, fan mail, and more at his personal website.

A list of his unpublished poetry can also be found here.

You will also find a large variety of his poetry readings and song recordings via a search on youtube.