Rod McKuen has died. He belonged to my parents’ generation as the sort of poet people read when they didn’t otherwise read poetry; I seem to remember that Eric Idle, in particular, used to love taking the piss out of McKuen. With good reason, I think.
I read the Wikipedia article on McKuen and, crap as he was, I felt sorry for him; he’s not going to go down to posterity as an unrecognised great. Looking at the long, long list of titles of his books of poetry, I thought they read a bit like a poem, so I’ve preserved the order that they came in, stripped out the dates and publishing information, and have heavily re-punctuated them. Apart from that, I think that the poem retains some of its subject’s cheesy romanticism, while maintaining a certain reticent dignity. Or not. Your call.
Good luck, big guy; here’s hoping that Brel’s standing you a few drinks in some less reputable corner of paradise.
And autumn came Stanyan Street; and other sorrows listen to the warm, lonesome cities.
And autumn came in someone’s shadow, twelve years of Christmas caught in the quiet fields of wonder.
The Carols of Christmas, and to each season, moment to moment, come to me in silence …
Moment to moment …
Beyond the boardwalk celebrations of the heart, the sea around me.
Coming close to the earth, we touch the sky.
The power bright and shining, a book of days; the beautiful strangers’ book
of days, and a month of Sundays.
The sound of solitude.
Intervals. Valentines. A safe place to land, rusting in the rain.