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.)
Spring has never seen
where lilac root stays frozen, cold.
And monotonous river rolls
And runs and rolls some more.
No birds fly here,
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
this place will still be waiting here.
Doing nothing for itself.
Not creeping ivy or thistledown
has found this piece of land
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
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.