Rod McKuen

Rod McKuen Poems

Spring has never seen
this country,
where lilac root stays frozen, cold.

Rod McKuen Biography

Rodney Marvin "Rod" McKuen (April 29, 1933 – January 29, 2015) was an American singer-songwriter, musician and poet. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks and classical music. He earned two Academy Award nominations and one Pulitzer nomination for his music compositions. McKuen's translations and adaptations of the songs of Jacques Brel were instrumental in bringing the Belgian songwriter to prominence in the English-speaking world. His poetry deals with themes of love, the natural world and spirituality. McKuen's songs sold over 100 million recordings worldwide, and 60 million books of his poetry were sold as well, according to the Associated Press. In the late 1960s, McKuen began to publish books of poetry, earning a substantial following among young people with collections like Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows (1966), Listen to the Warm (1967), and Lonesome Cities (1968). His Lonesome Cities album of readings won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording in 1968. McKuen's poems were translated into eleven languages and his books sold over 1 million copies in 1968 alone. McKuen said that his most romantic poetry was influenced by American poet Walter Benton's two books of poems. McKuen sold over 60 million books worldwide, according to the Associated Press.)

The Best Poem Of Rod McKuen

Self Pity

Spring has never seen
this country,
where lilac root stays frozen, cold.
And monotonous river rolls
And runs and rolls some more.
No birds fly here,
none will.
No fox will chase his rabbit down
pinning him to the frozen ground..
Not even cloud will come to cover
the grey that stays on grey.
And when the universe has turned
upon itself
this place will still be waiting here.
Challenging nothing.
Changing nothing.
Doing nothing for itself.

Not creeping ivy or thistledown
has found this piece of land
and stayed,
where evening is the rule
and not the welcome home.

No scholar comes to study here.
How much frozen solitude can be
set down in even alien country?

When darkness falls it falls forever,
over the homestead, over the sea.
An overwhelming desolation spreads
hinted death, destroying the breath
of branch and bone.
Awesome the silence,
appalling the gloom
that crowds this once wide land
into single room.

Do not come here by mistake
or by design.
The highway in is easy enough
to find, but the road away
is a tangled maze
that turns the days to year,
the year to decade and beyond.

Swans will not go swimming
here, nor cattle feed, nor sparrows
breed and populate.

This is no resting place. It is
a place of empty nests picked
clean, ruins that reverberate
down centuries gone and yet
to come.

Fallen angels manage
to avoid dropping in upon these
acres, never green.
Nothing perishes, germ or grain.
only different shades of decay
distinguish rock from harder place.

But if the ear could hear it,
pick it up,
the language practiced would be
made of layered mould. Odd times
when the wind is right
you can hear the nails
being driven home.

Rod McKuen Comments

Barbara 15 September 2019

a poem that has the lines, " I'd like to climb behind your eyes sometime and see me the way you do, or crawl down your throat and sit on every word that comes up through your mouth"

5 5 Reply
Sandi Vosburg 06 April 2019

I have poem, I think was by Rod McKuen. Called Afterthought. Starts out: The days grow shorter now and each day is more precious than the last...….

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JEANNE 16 December 2018

I AM SEARCHING DESPERATELY FOR A POEM BY ROD MCKUEN THAT INCLUDES THIS: A sweet tooth doesn't always crave the richest cake. Sometimes cookies and a glass of milk will do. I KNOW THERE'S MORE, BUT I CAN'T FIND IT. HELP! !

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Pete Francis 06 December 2021

It's in Caught in the Quiet. 'Getting inside someone even with a smile.....'

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Patrick 23 March 2019

Jeanne - I think it’s from Celebrations of the Heart and I think it’s called No whiskey bars

0 0 Reply
John 05 July 2022

Looking for poem with 'i love you more then an eye has winks: '

0 0 Reply
Debra Desersa 28 April 2021

I'm trying to find a poem by Rod McKuen. The words say something the person he loves is like a story he loves most. Don't leave out a single knight.

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Eva Coca-Lucero 25 October 2020

Looking for poem about a Night Walker

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JoseD 08 October 2020

I heard these lines years ago and I had forgotten them until recently. The words have a Rod McKuen feel to the, . “like a poem not yet written Like a song yet unsung Like a spring that’s slow in coming Like a winter chilly and cold That’s the way the world would be If you ever stop loving me

0 0 Reply
Eleanor 05 August 2020

a poem that has a line about only you could move into my much lived in life

0 0 Reply

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