AROUND THE WORLD ON THURSDAY MORNING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Thought for Today

Merely wishing is for amateurs. The true professional works for what he gets.

 

A sad reminder: One month ago today many brave people lost their lives and in doing so awakened a world to the evil waiting just over every hill.

Letters today (and I hope some worthwhile answers) from here, there and everywhere as we head toward the weekend.

KOREA: SOLITUDEíS MY HOME

Hi, my name is Bessi, and I am a Korean girl.

I've recently heard your song, Solitude's my home....and I was so much impressed with it. My English is not good enough for me to make out all of the words, so I would like to find the complete lyrics. Could you print or send them to me please?

I visited your home site, and searched "Solitude's My Home"...
and..wow..so many results were displayed that to find the one I wanted was difficult. Thanks, Bessi


Dear Bessi, Thanks for writing. The first version of ďSolitudeís My HomeĒ I recorded came out during the 1970ís on my album entitled ďOdyssey.Ē In the past few years it has been released on three different CDís in Korea (including ďThe Platinum Collection".)

Way back in 1954 when I was serving in the United States Army in your beautiful country I could never have imagined that all these years later the Korean people would know my songs and recordings. Iím very pleased to grant your request for the words to ďSolitudeís My Home.Ē

Again thanks for note and I hope to be visiting Korea before long for some concerts. Kindest Regards, Rod

Solitudeís My Home

Above the pounding of the rain
beyond the rolling of the sea
a thousand people know my name
and one or two may yet know me.
There in the middle of the night
Iíll find a friendly face
and Iíll be taken back again
to some new loving place.
And no... not being left alone
although Solitudeís My Home.

Faces there are I havenít seen
faces there are Iíll never see
but what a waste it would have been
had I been anyone but me.
Still... if I seem a little proud
my head will often bend
on seeing someone in a crowd
Iíll never hope to comprehend.
Oh no... Iím not alone
Although Solitudeís My Home.

I try to beg the hand of help
sometimes when silence gets to rough
all I can offer is myself
that never seems to be enough.
And yet there are some men who kill
for less than someoneís hand
at some things I can only guess
and never hope to understand.
No. Iím not alone
although Solitudeís My Home.

I turn my face toward the wind
and shuffle down the darkened street
with winter coming on again
thereís no telling who Iíll meet.
Perhaps an arm will open up
to hold me for a while
who knows what waits within the night
beneath the surface of a smile.
Oh no... Iím not alone
though I know Solitudeís My Home.

Above the pounding of the rain
beyond the rolling of the sea
a thousand people know my name
and one or two may yet know me.
There in the middle of the night
Iíll find a friendly face
and Iíll be taken back again
to some new loving place.
And no... not being left alone
although Solitudeís My Home.

No... Iím not alone
although Solitudeís My Home.

Words by Rod McKuen, Original French lyric & music by Georges Moustaki, from the album ďOdyssey.Ē 1975

SCOTLAND: A CONCERT IN INVERNESS

I have just managed to access your web page and I know it's going to give me pleasure, just as your records have over the years. We used to buy all your available records and then they weren't available anymore. By then my records were getting so scratched. Later I discovered they were released on CD and that was great. And now I can access news of your work and buy recordings online. How things change and I'm really glad they do.

Years ago you gave a concert in Inverness and I'll always remember it. Perhaps you do too, but for different reasons. Our beautiful new theatre was having teething problems, namely publicity and the theatre wasn't very busy that night. I was so disappointed as I knew you wouldn't return.

Many years after that I wrote to you, the first and only fan letter I've ever written until now. I love the songs you've written and sung. They seem to have been with me all my adult life, through good times and bad and I thank you for the pleasure and comfort your music has given me. You have a wonderful gift.

I wish you well from the Highlands of Scotland. Good health.
Elizabeth Elliot



Dear Elizabeth, Thanks for the reminder of Scotland. I have another friend I correspond with frequently and both you and Andrea manage to bring back that misty, lovely, evergreen land with your letters. I enjoyed playing the Scottish concert dates immensely.

It was one of the last tours Edward was able to accompany me on and I remember that among lots of other souvenirs we brought home armloads of sweaters and three antique clocks. Edward's a Ďclock freakĎ and there would have been four if the guy at customs hadnít dropped and broken one of them.

While the Inverness concert left something to be desired as far as promotion goes, I loved the hall and the people who came were terrific. If asked by a Scottish promoter, Iíd come back in a minute. Maybe one year Iíll be invited to do the Edinburgh Festival and then go on to Inverness.

Donít know if you are aware of it or not, but ďJeanĒ has a brand new verse that Iíve been using in recent concerts. Here it is:

The Highlands never seemed any higher
The Lowlands quite so low.
Weíre in our prime and so itís time
Aíheatheriní to go.

Warmest wishes, Rod

NORWAY: THE INTELLECTUAL LIFE

Dear Rod, I chanced upon your site just browsing tonight - well OK I was in Oslo last weekend and I came across a copy of the Terry Jacks single on 7" (best places in the world to buy 2nd hand vinyl : Oslo & Gothenburg -cheap and in excellent condition) and I remembered from the time a Radio Luxembourg DJ mentioning that it was a translation of a Belgian song.

Just to say that all Summer long I've had visitors from Europe staying with me and while entertaining and cooking for friends is my greatest pleasure, this, my first Saturday to myself since May, has turned out to be my most pleasant as the result of discovering your site and reading your poetry, out loud, to myself.

I have friends in Oslo who run a cultural center of great importance there - they have a festival every couple of months where their most influential poets, writers and bands perform; slightly embarrassingly in June they had me "perform" as a DJ and while it was undoubtedly successful and they are keen to have me back, I now think that next time I'd like to read some of
your poetry as well, although not necessarily at the same time ..

Naturally they speak damn near fluent English, but in any case they have readers of Russian poetry too and are open to all forms of creativity (even me playing other peoples' records); I'm really looking forward to the opportunity if it arises.

Anyway, thanks once again for an extremely pleasurable Saturday night in the company of just myself, some 2nd hand records from Oslo and your poetry. My very best regards, Andrť Shapps


Dear Andre, Considering all the time Iíve spent in Russia Iím ashamed of myself for not returning home from one of my many trips via Oslo. Norway and Finland remain two of the countries I still hope to visit one day. While I know a lot about the Scandinavian kingdom I wonít feel my Nordic education is complete until I make a visit to the top of the world you call home.

Iíve always enjoyed Norwayís classical music and some of my favorite Norwegian composers include Hallvard Johnsen, Johan Kvandal and Gunner SÝnstevold. Bjorn Wilhoe Hallberg and Tore Brevig have written some interesting stuff. Your folk fiddle music is legendary and Iíve heard the Oslo Philharmonic several times on their tours of Europe and America.

I used to listen to the Norwegian Radioís Light Orchestra by short wave every Saturday Night.

The cultural life in your country seems pretty varied. I know from past book sales that the people of Norway are great fans of poetry. I hope you do get the chance to read some of my work at one of the festivals. I envy you being able to find good vinyl, most of the LPís here are pretty well picked over as soon as they make it to the swap meets and the second hand record shops.

Thanks for writing Andre and welcome to A Safe Place to Land. I hope we meet up one of these days so I can thank you in person. Happy Djing and Kindest Regards, Rod

PORTUGAL: BEATNICK DAYS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Hello Mr.. Rod McKuen, I'm sending this mail just to say I love your poetry and your music (I know this is not news to you). Iím very found of the albums "Beatsville", "Live at Carnegie Hall" and the album that you wrote for Mr. Sinatra (RIP) "A Man Alone" (besides that Iím listening now while Iím writing this mail almost with tears in my eyes for such beautiful music and great lyrics), and I have a special affection for themes like "We" and "The Beautiful Strangers"

My name is Nuno Franco, Iím 32 years olds and Iím from
Sintra, near Lisbon, Portugal. Sintra is a very special place in a very unique spleen atmosphere. It's very beautiful during the autumn season.

Sometimes i feel like an idiot because Iím the only one I know who likes your oeuvre and a few other like Scott Walker, Andy Williams, Nancy Sinatra, Richard Harris, Jimmy Webb, Brel, Francis Lai, Jean Ferrat and Brian Wilson. For the rest of those who surround me i may look like a romantic freak. Besides Iím a journalist in a big newspaper in Lisbon and in my music section Iíve written several times of artist like yourself..

My question, if this is a question, is partially taken from the notes from "Beatsville" re-issue CD, is: Do you feel the same discomforted in middle age toward things that surround you as you did in the Beatnick era? I say this because it comes out in your parodic masterpiece "Beatsville"

During your San Francisco days (one of the most beautiful cities of the world) you seem to have felt that the city was claustrophobic to your way of thinking and need to express yourself? I feel those times were more interesting and exciting than this times we live in now. A time of people with no ambitions, no joys and no hopes.

I hope these questions don't look like crap to you but that you know they are an expression of someone who loves you work. Greetings from Portugal to you, Nuno Franco


Dear Nuno, Iím glad you like ďBeatsville,Ē especially the CD version. Because of the added time available on disc I was able to flush it out with a mixture of vintage and contemporary material. I also like the idea of issuing the first musical CD with a free computer font thrown in. Hope youíve had a chance to make use of it.

Back in the 1950ís like everyone my age I was impatient to grow up. I lived in Oakland and far from being stifling my trips to San Francisco were liberating. The discomfort you sense in Beatsville has more to do with my thoughts on the human condition; misunderstandings, prejudice, and the lack of person-to-person communication than anything else. And, yes all of those things still trouble me.

I think young people do have ambitions today, Nuno, but in an increasingly media dominated world where sound bites suffice for information and paragraphs replace whole books itís harder for people to delineate their ambitions and anticipations toward life. Still. I have great faith in the young people of today. I hear from a lot of them and what they lack in communication skills and articulation they more than make up for in passion, honesty and the desire to do ďsomething,Ē even if they arenít always sure what that something is.

Thanks for the kind thoughts about my work. Now that youíve found A Safe Place to Land I hope youíll be able to sample some of my more recent poetry and music. Itís been a long time since I traveled to Lisbon but Iím hoping a trip back your way awaits me. Affectionately, Rod

BRAZIL: ROD & PET IN RIO

AlŰ Rod. My name is Luiz Eugenio, I live in Rio de Janeiro and Iíve enjoyed your work here for many years. I want to know if relanÁamentos of your LPís are available on compact disc. I am trying to replace all of my LPís with CDís.

A friend and I had the privilege of spending some time with you here in Rio, in MarÁo,1979, in the Leme Palace Hotel. You are very nice; we had a good time in the hotel talking on several occasions. You and Petula Clark left us several disks with autografados

We would like to know if you remember and let you know that we have a lot of affection for you and I hope you are well. I apologize for my English. Excuse me! Love. Luiz EugÍnio


Dear Luiz, March 1979 and my Mardi Graz trip to Rio doesnít seem that long ago. I remember that Edward and I went to Brazil for five days and because of an Air France strike we ended up staying six weeks while we marked time waiting to go on to Paris. It didnít hurt matters that Petula was stranded in Rio either. I even did some recording there on my own and with other Brazilian artists.

I remember you and your friend Roberto very well, Luiz, and the kind way you guided me to record shops where I was able to load up on Brazilian and Latin American LPís. In fact Iím currently negotiating with a company for the release of my first Latin album in Argentina.

I have quite a few CDís out now and Iíll send you a note with a list you can choose from. Meanwhile my best to you both and thanks for the memories. Luv, Rod

CANADA: WAR & THANKSGIVING

Dear Rod, It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and as I sat down to my evening meal I felt compelled to say a few extra words of grace at suppertime. After thanking God for the small but more than adequate bounty before me I went on to more important things.

The first assaults started today and so I had to ask that God protect the brave men and women of the coalition in their fight for the freedoms the rest of us enjoy. They will be the true heroes when this is all over, and I for one hope and pray that
Itís over real soon. War >everywhere< has to stop once and for all. There are far too many other pressing things in the world to worry about than bombing and shooting the heck out of one another.

Well... with that said, I know deep down that this action has to take place because we're dealing with an irrational organization of fanatics who are not only dangerous to themselves but to the rest of the world as well. It would be nice if it were all over by the time Americans sit down to Thanksgiving dinner but I know that's not going to be the case. I told my friend the other day that this is another one of those times when evil will flourish if good people do nothing, and so on this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I thank God for good people. Love and God Bless. ĖDave MacDonald


Dear Dave: I agree wholeheartedly with everything youíve said. Iíve always been against war and one human being killing another for any reason, but alas if we donít do our best to stop these fanatics in their tracks there will be no safety in any democratic country.

The terrorists at once envy us our prosperity and despise democracy in any form. Look how they treat their women and how, like fanatic fundamentalists everywhere, they twist religion to suit their own narrow purposes.

This war against terrorism is one that no right thinking human being can be against because the whole free world and what it stands for is in peril. Itís wishful thinking on both our parts to think that America will set down to Thanksgiving dinner this year or any year soon with the assurance that peace is here or even around the corner. I didnít vote for this president but I applaud George Bush in forming and forging an alliance of nations that are sick of being bullied by a cave dweller who has already moved many of his own faith back to The Stone Age and would like to take the rest of the world with him.

Hate isnít an excuse for anything; itís a tool that bullies always use to cover up their own inadequacy and anxiety. How dare anyone use the Muslim faith as a reason for evil. The thing we must all be careful not to do is paint all people who face Mecca to pray with the same brush. Religion isnít the problem, twisting religious beliefs to wicked ends is.

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you and those you love, David. As ever, Rod

ITALY: BURGLARS ARE COLLECTORS TOO

Dear Rod, I was/am a fan of yours, I have been going off and on from Rome to the US for over 20 years. In love with your country, but mainly willing to "live" rather than having a career. I came across one of your books in the 60's and I have been impressed right away by your sensitivity, almost Latin I should say. I was in love only once in the US, and with a Lithuanian, born there and landed in the new Continent at 14.

I was using your words, and your lines for some special cards, or in letters, but always quoting you (I am not saying it because I am scared of the Writers Guild...) I gave as a present your books, and I had one of your records with Anita Kerr. Burglars came, and they picked up the records they liked better and I lost that one....I was very sorry. I stopped going back and forth, I got married to an Italian. I was disappointed: I dreamed as well a love that intends no harm to you, then I found out it is not so, it is a matter of competition: I suffered a lot for the first time in my life, but I learned a lot of things as well.

I wondered what happened to you and asked GOOGLE. So here I am writing to you and wishing to know if you have found a companion who loves the sea, the animals and a soul such as yours. I say goodbye for now, I say it to a friend who did not know to have me as a person who has known him for a long time. Please write. Teresa


Dear Teresa: God Bless Google and all the other search engines that lead people here. Our on line audience is growing every day.

There have been and are some very good companions in my life who have shared and enjoyed with me the things you mention in your letter, so I go on being very lucky.

Suffering is good for all of us, it keeps us in touch with life and lets us know weíre capable of handling anything that comes along in this all too short but precious existence. It sound to me as if you havenít gotten anything on your plate you werenít able to take care of. Warmly, Rod

VENEZUELA: SOME NEW WAYS OF LIVING

Morning, I'm an art teacher in Maracaibo, Venezuela. I'm a graduate of the University of Wyoming. At one point I was a bartender and waitress. I've traveled a lot, usually alone. I'm 26 and love my work. I've painted many of your poems.

I came across your poetry about four years ago at a library and that night, checked out all of the books that they had of yours. Roethke, Lawrence, Cisneros, R. Bach, and you. You've all reached me and touched me.

I relate so well to so many of the thoughts that you've put words to. Thank you for putting yourself out there, the way you do. It seems so terrifying to me to allow people in. "Not worth the cost of staying private..." I'm listening to you and trying out some new ways of living. Love to you, Morgan Krajczar


Dear Morgan, while Iíve visited several countries in Central and South America I havenít yet been to Venezuela. One of these days. I was in your home state of Wyoming at the beginning of the summer for a concert and Hot Air Balloon rally in Riverton.

Thanks for listing my work with the other poets you mentioned, Iím particularly fond of Lawrence and Roethke. You mentioned Ďpainting my poems,í Iíd like to hear more about that.

As far as Ďputting myself out thereí goes Iím not sure Iíd do the same if I were starting out today. Iím not complaining just thinking aloud that the older I get the more I seem to enjoy my privacy. Still if being out there encourages more people to be open with their emotions then I might have done something right.

Enjoy your time in Maracaibo; it has a long and romantic history. Warmly, Rod

ENGLAND: AND TONIGHT

Dear Rod, Could you please give me some details on a song that you had on one of your LPs. I bought it in the late sixties but unfortunately the LP has gone missing. The title I think was "TONIGHT"

The chorus was something like, " and tonight everything is all right " Any help you can give me would be appreciated. Thanks and take care. Phil from England.


Dear Phil: The album was entitled ďNew BalladsĒ and the song ďAnd TonightĒ is one I wrote with French songwriter Leo Ferť. As I mentioned earlier in the week ďNew BalladsĒ & ďThe Beautiful StrangersĒ will be out on a single CD in January. Here are the complete lyrics and thanks for asking. All the best, Rod

And Tonight

Because the sky is black
as black as most goodbyes
Iíve come to see what light
I might find in your eyes tonight.

Because the world is empty
and because Iím empty too
Iíve come to be here
for a while and look at you tonight.

Because my new life now
is lived inside your smile
Iíve come to talk to you
and stay a while tonight.

I have no compass and no chart
no way of knowing where to end
or where to start. I must rely on you
if I canít depend on my own heart.
And so, Iíve come here once again
to talk to you tonight.

And tonight everything is all right.
And tonight everything is all right.

Because tomorrowís arms
are now already real
Iíve come to find out
how a friendly touch can feel tonight.

Because your back
can hold off even dawn
I thought Iíd use it
as the boat that I sail on tonight.

Here with your head
against my chest
whatever else there is
Iíll forget the rest, tonight.

I know no reason and no rhyme
no need of keeping track
of tide or time,
since I discovered you.
God know what else Iíll find
here close to you tonight.

And tonight everything is all right.
And tonight everything is all right.

Because you smell like yesterday
I thought Iíd come here
once again and stay the night.

Because my arms have ached too long
I thought Iíd rest them here
where they belong tonight.

Because if I am anything at all
Iím part of you
however small tonight.

I have no compass and no chart
no way of knowing where to end
or where to start I must rely on you
if I canít depend on my own heart.
and so Iíve come here once again
to love you tonight.

And tonight everything is all right.
And tonight everything is all right.

Music & French lyric by Lťo Ferť English lyric by Rod McKuen © 1969, 1970 by Rod McKuen & Stanyan Music

AUSTRALIA: FINDING A SAFE PLACE TO LAND

Hi Rod I spent a lot of the sixties listening to and loving your music. I have my LPs of yours in my collection that sits in my lounge room. I have not listened to them since the sixties. But I remember the songs so fondly.

Yesterday while surfing the net I came across your wonderful site and thought how beautiful it is. The more I look through it the more I appreciate the diversity of it. It is really good to see.

Now I want to hear your music again and once again feel how I did back then. I must do something about it.

I just wanted to say "hi" though and to tell you how much I love your site. It is so wonderful to be able to access something like your site, and you, through the Internet. It is the best. All the very best to you. Leonie Parsons, Australia


Dear Leonie, Thanks for thinking of me and welcome to A Safe Place to Land. I hope you use Webmaster Ken Blackieís Site Map to help you explore all the nooks and crannies of what we smilingly refer to as Ďthe Website that ate the world.í Itís grown in the past four calendar years to the point where Ken is trying to figure out how to continue accommodating all the past Flight Plans in the archives.

Happy springtime in Oz. Warmest Regards, Rod

Speaking of Australia and those who reside there, tomorrow (today down under) is Coral Drouynís birthday. Coral was one of the first contributors to A Safe Place to Land and one of its oldest friends. So hereís an early happy and sunny sweet sixteen (or is it seventeen) Happy Birthday wish. See you tomorrow with Pass it Along. Sleep warm.

RM 10/10/2001 Previously unpublished

THE FINAL WORD

ďOkay, here's a moral question for you. This is an imaginary situation, but thinking about it will provide insights into your internal ethic proclivities.

The situation: You are in the Middle East, and there is a huge flood in progress. Many homes have been lost, water supplies compromised and structures destroyed. Let's say that you're a photographer, getting still photos for a news service, traveling alone, looking for particularly poignant scenes.

You come across Osama Bin Laden who has been swept away by the floodwaters. He is barely hanging on to a tree limb and is about to go under. You can either put down your camera and save him, or take a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of him as he loses his grip on the limb.

So, here's the question, and think carefully before you answer it. Which lens would you use?Ē ĖKathy Johnson

Details of Rod's next appearance can be obtained by following the link below.

"Tap Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman

notable birthdays Joseph Alsop o Art Blakey o Zev Bufman o Joan Cusak o Martha Graham o Daryl Hall o Henry John Heinz o Ron Leibman o Elmore Leonard o Franz Liszt o Luke Perry o Charles Revson o Jerome Robbins o Eleanor Roosevelt o Michelle Trachtenberg o Dottie West o Steve Young
Rod's random thoughts No voyage ends without discovery.

The heart has its reasons.

Only the seed the old tree drops to start another cycle is of importance.

AUSTRALIAN GOLD
(Especially for Jill & Coral on their birthdays this week.)

The rainbow's rim
     is highly prized
but I have trod it all the same
by coming back again
to where wise Capricorn
                divides the land
and lets the Southern Cross befriend
traveling man and Sunday soldier.

The yawning eucalyptus
        in the square
the daisy in the outback,
the palm that slices seacliff,
each has its own share
of dark Australian Gold.
And Queensland valleys
make the tuckerbag to hold it.
If I have been escaping
I can now run home
            a rich man,
        with Gold Coast eyes.

- from "The Sound of Solitude", 1983

 
© 1969, 1970, 1975, 1983, 1998, 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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