SEASONS IN THE SUN
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A Thought for Today
We are more accountable for change than we admit.
Every year Iíve tried to make the summer stretch a little longer. I come to Mexico in January and February to write - always assured Iíll find the sun. My concerts in the fall are planned in countries like Australia to catch the places and people as their summer begins. At home in California, Iím at the beach or stretched out in the backyard the first day of March and the last sunshiny hour of October.
The sections in this book stretch over an eight month period. Eight or nine months of summer is the very least I promise myself a year. I like to work in the sun, play in the sun, make love in it and waste time in the sun. Though I am aware by doing so I miss the subtleties of the seasons, the colors of Vermont Septembers, the surprises of Nebraska Springs, all my life Iíve chased the sun.
Seasons in the Sun began as a short story. My first. Unpublished, it concerns a man who is dying and recounts his life figuratively and actually as one where all the highlights took place within some sunshiny time.
More than a dozen years ago, I brought home from France an album containing Jacques Brelís
Le Moribond ( the dying man ). Although the song had nothing to do with the sun, per se, it seemed to me that Jacquesí lyric - though in another language - talked about the man in my story, so I began to fuse his lyric with my short story and what emerged was an Anglo-American song entitled
Seasons in the Sun. The title now seems like a good one for a collection of sun poems.
I have talked lengthily about my collaborations with Brel elsewhere, and in a forthcoming book on his life. Each of us has in common a sense of being loners though we have both taken the sea and the sun as mistresses, if not wives.
This collection of poems has many sources - a dozen books, stanzas from nineteen songs, new poetry, and always the sun, threading itís way through the individual works. Both the poems and the songs were written over a twenty-year span, beginning with
And Autumn Came, published in 1954, and including a selection from
Moment to Moment to be published in September of 1974, plus the aforementioned new material and poems written through the years that have remained unpublished till now.
When someone asks me how long it took to write a particular poem I ask what year it was published, and even if I used up only twenty minutes to commit the words to paper I add the life Iíve lived to the point of publication, and give that as my answer.
My poems of ten years ago are different from the ones I write today. The work I do tomorrow will be miles apart from that done yesterday. My seasons in the sun ahead are not as many as they could be. Nonetheless, they will lived out fully - as full as I know how to make them.
Tres Vidas, Mexico
-from "Seasons in the
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