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A Thought for Today

I am not convinced that truth alone can make us free, but I believe in a beginning and a final resting place.

 

Hi Ken,

A friend told me fairly recently that Rod once wrote a poem for Adam Small.

Is this true? If so, I'd love to read it one day!

All the best,

Graham Page, Cape Town

Thanks for a really interesting question, Graham.

For those who might not immediately recognize the name, Adam Small is Professor of Literature at the University of the Western Cape and one of South Africa's foremost poets. As a man of color his career suffered at the hands of apartheid yet he never wavered from his chosen course, that of spreading the gospel of love, compassion and understanding to all the peoples of South Africa.

The poem you're referring to is called "Prejudice" though whether or not it was written especially for Adam only Rod can answer. It was certainly dedicated to Adam in the book "The Rod McKuen Omnibus" though it does appear in a number of other books sans dedication.

During Rod's mid-seventies visit to South Africa he and Adam read together at a poetry soiree hosted by two of our leading show business personalities, Des and Dawn Lindberg. When I last saw Des he reminisced about that evening and it was clear from the look in his eyes that something very special had taken place.

Rod and Adam hit it off particularly well and I know Rod was most concerned when he received word a couple of years ago about Adam's ill health. I haven't received any further reports regarding his well being but we all hope he's recovered and back on track.

If you have a favorite McKuen song or poem you'd like to share with us, drop me a line at ken@mckuen.com and I'll make sure it's featured here one Wednesday.

                                        - Ken, Johannesburg, April 18

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Rod's random thoughts Sleeping’s everything. It keeps the voluntary thought from forcing out the fantasy so that each of us can go on caring in safety.

Without the cold for reference, we wouldn’t recognize the comfort of warmth.

Special mysteries do not worry me as much as what we do to one another beneath the seemingly soft veneer of friendship.

PREJUDICE
for Adam Small

Prejudice is sensible.
Avoid time wasters
and the village gossip.
Give in to all the dislikes
you might harbour
for people on the inside
who would tear down
            any closeness
and confidence
you might have built -
or manufactured -
for those you love
or those that you
would have love you.

Learn to hate all wars
       holy or otherwise
all those who take shelter
in hating cultures and colours
instead of individuals.

Black isn't always 
                       beautiful
but any man who finds it
       wholly ugly
should be shown 
the other side of white.

The Jew
who loves the gentile
shouldn't do so
       out of tolerance
only out of love -
if that love
            is given back.

Otherwise
love, like jerking off
or playing solitaire
is nearly always
    a waste of time.

Me?
Some of my best friends
are my friends.

                              - from "The Rod McKuen Omnibus" 1975

© 1970, 1975, 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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