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February 2, 2015

rod mckuen | rest in peace

I'm not much for poetry, but I have one favorite: Rod McKuen (I have mentioned him before in a previous post). In light of his recent death I thought I'd share with you another favorite poem of mine. 


The sky
is the forehead of the morning
passing the sun along the day,
distributing the clouds
that move above us
and ride with us till nightfall.

And your eyes
are the bottom of the day
set on fire by words, 
made to move by sighs
and the rustling of the trees. 

We'll go to the hills then,
take our time.
Climb until we find one
closest to the sky.

I'll spread a blanket on the ground
and make a picnic of your body.
You'll face the sky and count the clouds 
and when the counting stops
I'll take you home again,
down a dozen hills under a hundred skies. 

I know the ground is not yet green all over
but trust me.
I'll find the greenest hill of all
and your red dress will be the single flower
that grows against the grass.

Me and the day
we care for you
without the rivalry of common lovers
and we'll be careful as the rain, 
gentle as the clouds. 

While I know nothing of McKuen's personality or temperament, I was (& am) enamored by his way with words. I have never agreed with the manner in which his work was received. It has been described by critics as "poetry for the uneducated," implying that it lacks aptitude & depth. If this is true then I count myself in as one of the "uneducated," firmly believing that what McKuen lacked in aptitude he made up with in plainly stated, raw emotion. More so than the reviews he received in his life, what makes me more disheartened are the recalls of those statements post death. The articles being written in commemoration of his work & life focus mainly on the lack of recognition he received. We are just now looking back on how beautiful his art was, but it's too late. It is a shame that it takes someone's passing for their work to become meaningful. 

Rather than dwell on the negative details of McKuen's life, I'm going to go back to reading my favorite poems & be thankful such beautiful combinations of phrases & letters came into existence. Rest in peace, Rod, & thank you.


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