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Rod in action at The Riverton Rendezvous, July 2001.
Photograph courtesy Jay Hagan.
A Thought for Today
The Prize is a moveable target so be
nimble with your foot and mind.
I started writing “Celebration
of the Heart” in the winter of 1974. but the major part of it was written
in California and London in the spring of 1975. It was completed that same
year in Cape Town, South Africa on June 21st. Some additional material was
added in July in Sydney, Australia and again in California. It contains 43
poems in eight separate sections. Each section begins with an essay or
The book contains some of my best-known poetry and Anita Kerr set several
of the selections to music for the San Sebastian Strings series. Rereading
‘Celebrations' last month, I thought the following material from it might
PLAN SIX: BELCHER LANDING
The war is over now or just
beginning. Peace, however hard an interval to make do with, will have to
be made do with. I am speaking here of inner wars, childhood meeting age,
despair overtaking hope, hope vanquishing despair. The no man’s land
between what we see and what we think we see, that must be crossed.
For me the war is over, this week. I have stopped the pendulum of thought
that swings so widely and made it come to rest on but a single subject.
Going back. A final, thoughtful look at that terrain and those last
outposts of my not so filled up childhood.
The earth is not our dwelling place, we’re meant to rattle here suspended.
All the while birth watches us till dying. Some of us cheat death by
living our childhood twice, three, four times over.
I cannot remember ever having been a sapling. Nor am I yet a tree. When I
was younger I was older and now I’m more a child than I should be. Still
as I observe my friends and those men not so friendly I find the ones I
trust and do believe have a Belcher Landing of their own that they retreat
/ return to. It may be a lean-to cabin lived in at the age of nine, a dog
at Christmas, half eleven. Kane’s rosebud sled, Jim Kirkwood’s pony. A
swing within a field within a young girl’s mind only. A swing within a
summer that was or wasn’t but returns and is.
The mind should have a safe place it can go to ramble. Yours might be in
Saint Johns Wood or Blissville, Indiana. I have a friend whose mind
vacation is nearly always spent barefoot in Tyler, Texas, another half his
age who still plays bells in Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
You can go home again, despite your Thomas Wolfe. Never do so on the
train, but on the train of thought.
-from “Celebrations of the
Lately I’ve had a lot of
requests for poetry from my first book “. . .and autumn came.” It was
first published forty-eight years ago so my ideas and whatever talent for
writing I was to acquire were in the budding stage. I used dates as titles
in the book and since there are several dated during the months of
September and October I thought I’d reprint these poems during the next
six weeks. Today we begin with September 5th and 9th. Sleep warm.
Details of Rod's next
appearance can be obtained by following the link below.
Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman