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       THE GYPSY CAMP

Photo by Bob Gentry 2001 Stanyan Entertainment

A Thought for Today

It takes centuries to produce a saint, minutes to make a sinner.

 

I put a seashell to my ear and it all comes back; the yellow sun . . .the Mediterranean blue, the sky, the children running on the beach that day, the kildear birds marching in formation down to the sea, and back - when my memory wanders, as it does when bad things happen, I put a seashell to my ear and it all comes back; that day . . .you.

Even the gypsies. It all comes back. You see what loving does; it makes you trust in horoscopes, and gypsy wands and fortune tellers, and even seashells.

I still believe in love. It's hard these days you know, and yet it's still the great adventure; better than blowing bridges or a bus ride to Chicago. Even better than running away from home . . .to . . . join the gypsies.

                                - -from "The Sea", 1967 & Folio #21, 1979

Details of Rod's upcoming concerts and appearances can be obtained via the link below:

Rod McKuen Concerts & Appearances

notable birthdays Elly Ameling o Arthur Balsam o Elizabeth Bishop o Martin Buber o Gary Coleman o James Dean o Brian Donleavy o Dame Edith Evans o Betty Field o Seth Green o Gundula Janowitz o Josh Keaton o Robert Klein o Ted Koppel o Jack Lemmon o Audrey Meadows o Burt Mustin o Nick Nolte o Alejandro Rey o Charles Ruggles o John Ruskin o William Tecumseh Sherman o Lyle Talbot o Lana Turner o Jules Verne o King Vidor o John Williams
Rod's random thoughts Other names will always sound larger than your own. Learn humility early.

If you have time to waste, waste it on a friend.

Love wards off everything but indifference.

WORDS ABOVE THE SIGNATURE

Because the bulls run
one week out of fifty-two
down Pamplona side-streets
and I cannot outpace them
                        anymore.
And democracy’s brass trumpets
blare from Spanish hill
                 to Spanish hill
(all sound, even echo, fading
before the tune is put in practice),
and Mijas has a four-lane highway
                            to and from;
and just a ferry ride away,
a certain city in North Africa
sits poised to snap tourists
                    into a poppy snare.
I walk on tiptoes through
the red / pink / amber fields
that fan out from it,
if I walk fields at all.

Because the arson match is struck
even on God’s vaulted ceiling
(never mind whole neighborhoods
now torched to cinder and all gone),
and fire forgets its subjects’ names,
              is blind to street addresses -
confetti ashes spread across my yard,
one hundred miles of blazing brush.
Low animals that creep the ground
                                  on fours,
are cooked to bones.

The lesser works of Big Magician
children, weak from circumstance,
powered men who battle flame
with fist and nozzle well connected
made poor and puny by a heat that seeks
and seizes all within its blanket reach.
A mother huddled in a bathtub,
lovers propagating on a Baldwin afternoon
                                 no match for match.
I bury strikers deep.

Because the arsenals in every land
are piled and pyramiding out of sight -
thus out of conscientious mind;
men want stepping stones to heaven
to be an alleyway of atoms
and there is no reversal anymore,
no rehearsal, just performance -
planned, unplanned, mistake,
                unhappy accident -
a world that went
       before a second coming.

Because no drums are drumming out
                                       BEWARE
and no strong voice from government
or pulpit cries out loud enough, I care,
I no longer look across my shoulder,
                    worry over dented fenders
or try to figure out exactly why
some birds no longer sing the old songs.

Because this year
there must not be a Santa Claus,
I sign each letter I send out
                          with love.
It is the shortest word I know for hope.

Because I have more reasons
                   for with love
than paper I can put them on,
bill collector and computer generated page
will still get answers from me
with those words above my name.
It would not occur to me
to write sincerely yours
                 or best regards.

Please don’t think it's something personal
                     (of course, it is).
I mean, with love is no big thing
except to sender and receiver.

You and me the true believers.

                                   - from "Valentines", 1986

1970, 1986, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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