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A Thought for Today

Every grief is the greatest grief until the sorrow of tomorrow.


There are always plenty of questions to answer on Monday. Here are a few. The first question has to be my favorite.


What was your book of poems called? Marcus Duchow

Dear Marcus, Take your pick.

And Autumn Came, 1954
And Autumn Came (Revised Version), 1969
Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows, 1966
Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows (Random House Ed.), 1967
Listen to the Warm, 1967
Lonesome Cities, 1968
In Someone’s Shadow, 1968, 1969
Caught in the Quiet, 1970
Fields of Wonder, 1971
And to Each Season . . ., 1972
Come to Me in Silence, 1973
Moment to Moment, 1972
Moment to Moment (Revised Edition), 1974
Seasons in the Sun, 1974
Celebrations of the Heart, 1975
Beyond the Boardwalk, 1975, 1976
Alone, 1975
Hand in Hand, 1977
The Sea Around Me, (British Edition), 1975
The Sea Around Me, (Revised US Edition), 1976
Coming Close to the Earth (British Edition), 1976
Coming Close to the Earth (Revised US Edition), 1977
We Touch the Sky (British Edition), 1977
We Touch the Sky (Revised US Edition), 1978
Love’s Been Good to Me, 1979
The Power Bright & Shining, 1980
Looking for a Friend, 1980
The Beautiful Strangers, 1981
Too Many Midnights, 1981
The Sound of Solitude, 1983
Watch for the Wind, 1983
Suspension Bridge, 1984
Intervals, 1986
Valentines, 1986
A Safe Place to Land, 2001
An Outstretched Hand, 1980

There might be a few I’ve missed. Cheers, Rod


Here's a real stumper! This question might sound a little weird, but i read a poetry book a year ago that i feel in love with. I just can't figure out who wrote the poem, I thought it was Thoreau, but anyway it had pictures and the only thing I remember was that you wrote the preface. Do you have any idea what it might
be, i think it was threw Stanyan books, but not sure. Thanks
Nate Roy

Dear Roy, I should have known this answer but it really did stump me so I sent your question to Jay Hagan. Here’s his letter.

“Good Morning Rod, This one took some time since I don't have most of the Stanyan books that you released. But I used my noodle and did a little search and found the following information. It’s from the Stanyan Book “The Bluebird Carries the Sky On Its Back" by David Henry Thoreau: Forward by Rod McKuen. Waterfalls, Jay”

Hope this helps, Roy. The book is available from Stanyan for $5.00. Warmly, Rod


Mr. McKuen, I have been in your back pocket since 1967. Bethany (Joedy Planes)

Dear Bethany, So that’s what that bulge is. I knew it wasn’t my empty wallet. Thanks & Luv, Rod


Hi! While listening to Frank Sinatra singing I'm not afraid, my boyfriend recognized a Jacques Brel's song but could not remember the title. Could you tell send me the answer? Thank you! Nathalie Riel, Montreal Quebec

Dear Nathalie: The original song Jacques Brel wrote using that melody was “Fil De.” I liked the melody so much I’ve written three lyrics to it (so far), “I’m Not Afraid,” “Sons of the Rich, Sons of the Poor” and “Still We Go On.” Alas none of my adaptations into English match Brel’s brilliant French lyric.

By the way did you know I’m the author (in English) of Gilbert Becaud’s “Nathalie?”


Mr McKuen, I have been looking around for what album or CD (if converted to CD) some of your older stuff is on. In particular a silly little song about a yellow wheel. I find a lot of lists with the names of albums but none with a list of the songs on the albums.

Before she died my mother was a big fan of yours. She had a lot of your albums and several of your books of poetry (the books being Christmas gifts from me) but she put the stuff in storage and the storage locker was broken into and the stuff stolen.

I am kind of looking for the stuff for memories sake. She and I would just listen to the albums and talk about songs and what all you were saying and how we felt about them. It was time just for the two of us since no one else in the family could stand poetry or you. Ted Holeman

Dear Ted: Well I was able to attract the attention of two out of your family; I’ll take what I can get. According to McKuen curator Jay Hagan you are referring to the song “Some Trust in Chariots". It was originally recorded for RCA on my album “The Loner”. It was briefly available on CD in Rod McKuen’s Greatest Hits Vol, 2. If you can’t track it down the LP is available from Stanyan By Mail. Here are the lyrics.

Some Trust in Chariots

There were those who must have thought us mad
spending all that time and money that we never had.
Well... some trust in chariots and some in marble banks
some of us just love each other and never ask for thanks.

There were those who must have thought us daft
from the way we cried together and the way we laughed.
Well... some trust in chariots and some in big machines
some of you save diamonds baby, some of us save dreams.

Some trust in chariots with great big yellow wheels
Well I had a ride in a chariot and Oh how lonesome it feels.

There are those who think of us fools
loving like a house on fire and breakin’ all the rules.
Some trust in chariots in chariots they ride
we ride the wings of love together... side by side.

Word & music by Rod McKuen

©1964 by Rod McKuen & The Stanyan Music Group.

All the best, Ted. Rod


Rod, I apologize for the late notice, but there is a train show at the Orange Empire RR Museum in Perris, Ca this weekend Oct 6-7. Bob and I have set up our model live steam guage 1 track and there are also rides available on the full size engines (we can get you cab rides!). You sure would make our day if you and Edward stopped by and said HI! We really enjoy all of your poetry and songs especially about trains. Jackie Ward and Bob Starr

Dear Jackie & Bob: Great hearing from you and I am sorry I didn’t know about the “Train Weekend” in Perris in time to make it. You can bet that as a major train freak I’d have been there had I had some advance warning.

Hope you caught Sunday’s repeat (10/7)of my Flight Plan on Sinatra & His Trains. Thinking of you both and thanks for remembering me and Edward. Luv, Rod


How many colors of blue does the sky have? I have been wondering for many, many years. Tom Anderson

Dear Tom: More than you or I could ever count. Cheers, Rod


Hello Mr. McKuen......"I'd like to crawl behind your eyes and see me the way that you do".......please tell me what piece that is from so I can read the entire piece....thank you,........A Big Fan, Anne Hoffman

Dear Anne, The words you mention were used in the San Sebastian Strings album The Sea and the selection is entitled “The Storm". Here it is

The Storm

How can we be sure of anything ?
The tide changes
the wind that made the grain wave gently yesterday
               blows down the trees tomorrow
and the sea sends sailors crashing on the rocks
as easily as it guides them safely home.

I love the sea... but it doesn’t make me less afraid of it.
I love you... but I’m not always sure of what you are
                              or how you feel.

I’d like to crawl behind your eyes sometime
and see me the way you do
or climb through your mouth
        and sit on every word
        that comes up through your throat.

Maybe I could be sure then
maybe I could know.
As it is I hide beneath your frowns
or worry when you laugh too loud.

Always worrying.
Always sure a storm is rising.

Words by Rod McKuen. Music by Anita Kerry © 1967 by Anro Music

Kindest Regards, Rod


Hello Rod Years ago I came across a poem that you wrote entitled “Coming Close”. I cannot remember the name of the book that it was in. Is it possible to post the poem itself, or give me the name of the book that it's in? Thank you, Jim Poch

Dear Jim “Coming Close" first appeared in “Coming Close to the Earth” and later in “Love’s Been Good to Me". I’m publishing it below as the featured poem of the day. Thanks for requesting it, Jim.

Sleep warm.

RM 10/14/2001 Previously unpublished

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 Jere Burns o Richard Carpenter o Ina Claire o Jane Darwell o Sarah Ferguson o Michael Foucault o John Kenneth Galbraith o Peter Haskell o Lee Iacocca o Tito Jackson o Emeril Lagasse o Linda Lavin o Mervyn LeRoy o Penny Marshall o Barry McGuire o Kenny Miller o Kyletta Miller o Friedrich Nietzsche o Jim Palmer o Jean Peters o Mario Puzo o Jose Quintero o Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. o C.P. Snow o John Sullivan o Roscoe Tanner o Robert Trout o Virgil o P.G. Wodehouse
Rod's random thoughts Sorrow is proof of life.

Don’t compete. You’re lesser than no man and none are better. All creatures, beings, people are unalike. How can you compete, win or lose a race, with someone other than yourself? Being you is hard enough, but someone other? Never.

To widen your life without deepening it is to weaken it.


I meant so
to bend the bough
but never once
to break the branch.

I hoped
that I might see
the blossoms
       fall intact
without the petals
               coming loose
or even once detached.

What I wanted most
        was love
in a straight
straightforward way.

I wanted you
not as you could be
had I made you up
but the way I found you
no different from
the way you really are.

I thought by now
we might have earned
a chance to come down close
and lie against the earth.

But I am convinced
the earth will not allow
even its truest lovers
membership straight away.

I cannot care
a little for you.
I love you only just enough
to love you all the way.

From “Coming Close to the Earth", 1977, 1978

© 1964, 1967, 1979,1988, 1988, 1992, 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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