A few weeks back, our discussion in the POETIC BLOOMINGS READING ROOM had mentioned the poetry of Rod McKuen. Another man of many talents, McKuen has several poetry collections to his credit as well as record albums of his song stylings. Rod fancied himself a singer. You may have heard his gravelly voiced rendition of the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (Duet with Petula Clarke) at Christmas time. But his poetry did seem to reach a higher level.

There was a level of angst to his work, drawn from his life experiences and failed relationships. He always found a way to channel any bitterness into his worded works.

Rod McKuen 1933 – 2015
by Rod McKuen

It’s nice sometimes
to open up the heart a little
and let some hurt come in.
It proves you’re still alive. 
If nothing else
it says to you -
clear as a high hill air,
as diving through cold water -
I’m here.
However wretchedly I feel, 
I feel.
I’m not sure
why we cannot shake
the old loves
from our minds.
It must be that
we build on memory
and make them more
then what they were.
And is the manufacture
just a safe device
for closing up the wall?
I do remember.
The only fuzzy circumstance 
is sometimes where and how.
Why, I know.
It happens
just because we need 
to want and to be 
wanted, too,
when love is here or gone
to lie down in the darkness 
and listen to the warm.