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A Thought for Today

Perhaps the closer we stay to earth, the better chance we’ll have of being what each of us needs in someone else.


Hi Ken,

Like so very many, many folks, I've loved Rod's music and poetry for over 30 years.

I recall in every detail the place I was when I heard him speak the first words of "The Tender Earth", in 1967. I was just 19, and to this day that moment is among my most cherished memories, for its own special feelings, and because it opened up the world of Rod McKuen to me.

Rod's music, especially, has been a part of my life for all these years; it never, never fails me, no matter what my needs are. My life is better for having him be a part of it.

I hope you'll pass my message on to that very special man.

Bonnie Carlson
Candia, NH

Thanks for your contribution, Bonnie, and I certainly will pass your message on.

You probably heard "The Tender Earth" via the album "The Earth" which was released in 1967. Like so many of Rod's works this particular piece has appeared in a number of different guises; no dramatic changes, just a word or two changed here and there. The version I've selected for today's column is taken from the book "Too Many Midnights".

The address for your contributions to this weekly feature is, as always, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Last week's tongue-in-cheek column about voice recognition software generated a fair amount of comment and interest. Rosalyn, the regular correspondent mentioned in the column, wrote to let me know that she uses a program called "JAWS for Windows", produced by Freedom Scientific, a company in St. Petersburg, Florida. She explains that it's a screen reader rather than voice recognition software, something which sounds essential for unsighted or partially sighted computer users.

Anyone needing more information on the product can visit the site at the following address:

 - Ken, Johannesburg, May 16

Booking for "An Evening with Rod McKuen" at the Riverton Rendezvous is open! Click below for more details:

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notable birthdays Honore de Balzac o David Boreanaz o Pierce Brosnan o Henry Fonda o Tracey Gold o Woody Herman o Janet Jackson o Olga Korbut o Liberace o Frank Mankiewicz o Billy Martin o Robert Pierpoint o William Seward o Tori Spelling o Margaret Sullivan o Studs Terkel o Debra Winger
Rod's random thoughts The earth is all we have. We abuse it at our peril.

Kindness is the link between earth and heaven.

I have always been a man of elements, feeling that the best ideas and the nearest thing to knowledge have to spring from the most real of all realities the sea, the earth, the sky rather than from history or philosophy books.


You wonder why I like the ground.
Why I like to run along the sand
and take my lovers down to river banks
to say the kinds of things
that one should say in little rooms.

The ground is all the home I've ever had.
The only thing that I can trust
and having come up from the earth
I think sometimes I'll not get back
                            soon enough.

If I had to love something
more than the night,
more than tomorrow,
more than the sea and yesterday
I'd choose the earth.

We'll sit awhile, talk, listen,
learn each other's worth,
and come together silently
against the tender earth.

 - from "Too Many Midnights", 1981

© 1970, 1981, 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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