on the Stanyan logo to subscribe to the McKuen Mailing List
A Thought for Today
Imagination is my only refuge and it has
stood me well.
I’m getting a bit behind in
answering mail so I’m devoting this space today to letters and the two MPG
downloads I promised yesterday.
I’M GOING OFF TO WAR
McKuen, I memorized one of your poems when I was in high school in the
early 70's and have been trying to find it. Could you please tell me what
book it is in? I don't even remember the name, but it went something like:
You won't believe this
But I'm going off to war
I know it's hard to understand
to think of me knee deep in mud,
when I so love the sand.
I also had one of your books around that time frame that I would love to
find again, but the website doesn’t list the copyright dates or the table
of contents. Thank you in advance for your help. I'm looking forward to
getting reacquainted with your writings. Julie Ault Houston, Texas
Dear Julie: The title of the poem is Twenty-Eight and it comes from
“Listen to the Warm" which was published in 1968 by Random House.
You won’t believe this
but I’m going off to war
I know that’s hard to understand.
To think of me knee-deep in mud
when I so love the sand.
When I so love the water
to run along the beach and play
it’s hard to think of killing someone
on a beach someday.
That’s what they want of me, you know
that’s what I’m training for.
To think I used to think our fights
were tantamount to war.
© 1967, 1968 by Rod McKuen
As you know this is a pretty
big website, but not so big that we can’t add a list of the books I’ve
written, their publication date & the table of contents of each. Jay Hagan
(who tracked down the above poem for you) has already provided me with a
list of titles of the tracks on all my LP’s and CD’s. We’ll be posting it
soon & I’m hoping I can talk him into doing a table of contents for each
book and that too should make it easier for you to find the titles of all
my poetry and songs.
Thanks for writing Julie and for being patient while Jay and I tracked
down the information you requested. Warmly, Rod
HERE HE COMES AGAIN
like to tell you how much I love your music. I am only 23 years old, but
became interested in your music after hearing cover versions by Mark
Lindsay, Terry Jacks, and Barry McGuire. Fortunately I bought all of your
CDs before they went out of print in 1999. I was wondering if there are
any plans to release your Horizon label material? Also, I was writing a
review for "New Carols For Christmas," and was wondering, just who is the
"he" in "Here He Comes Again?" Thanks! David Bennett
Dear David: There’s a pretty good story connected with the lyrics to “Here
He Comes Again.” I was asked to write lyrics for Lalo Schfrin’s score for
“Cool Hand Luke". George Roy Hill screened a rough-cut of the film for me
and I was immediately taken with it and agreed to do the project.
Armed with Lalo’s theme I came up with “Here He Comes Again,” to my way of
thinking it suited the Paul Newman character and his rebel/Christ like
attitude in the film. In the end Hill decided to go a different direction
and used a lyric by Gale Garnett. I was disappointed but I retained
ownership of the lyric and wrote a melody of my own for it. Later when I
recorded a Christmas album I felt the song was suitable for it.
So, I guess the “He” might mean that with all of our flaws and in the face
of whatever adversity, we should all try to by Christ-like in our attitude
and approach toward life.
Here He Comes Again
Here he comes again head high and smiling,
breaking all the rules and playing it cool.
He smiles as though he had never been
beaten by the crowds, broken by all the fools.
Think of all the men who never knew the answer,
think of all of those who never even tried.
Still there are some who ask why
who want to know, who dare to try.
Every now and then we meet that kind of man
here he comes again and now he’s gone.
© by Rod McKuen, 1967, 1968
"Here He Comes Again" was
first published in “Listen to the Warm” but not in the song lyric section.
Few of anyone’s lyrics stand up as poetry, but I like to think this one of
mine does. Incidentally in the “Song Lyric” section of “Listen to the
Warm” there are three lyrics I still don’t remember writing melodies to;
“Buffalo Grass,” “That Time of Loving,” and “The Snow.” Make that four,
“The Love Creature” was written for the late Ben Bagley and I haven’t set
it to a melody
The Horizon sides will definitely come out at some point as will all the
early Stanyan albums, but with 200 plus albums released and dozens of
unreleased tracks in the can it’s a tough job deciding what to convert to
“The Platinum 2 CD Set” has done so well that another volume will be
released and next up in January is the first “Double Up” CD “New Ballads”
& “The Beautiful Strangers” on a single disc. All of my Warner Bros.
catalog will follow. Before 2002 comes to a close there will be a deluxe
Box Set containing my six RCA albums an elaborate book and 26 unreleased
sides, plus airchecks and demos.
All the best to you, David and thanks for your thoughtful letter.
MEAN OLD WORLD
Rod: One thing I do before I go to bed, if it's really late, or first
thing in the morning, is check your site. I have enjoyed it since
stumbling upon it, but now, it has a totally different role in my life.
All of us are suffering from the terrorism and threats that we hear of
daily. The thought of war is never a positive thing. Like many, I OD on
CNN, hoping for something good within the horrors.
In my personal life, I am dealing with a disabled daughter, healing from a
difficult surgery, taking on my brother who wants full control of the
family Trust, (to the point he is trying to evict my daughter and myself
from the family home as he has sold it - sight unseen - for considerably
under market.). I am also trying to get a divorce from a man who doesn't
wish to let go, and the emotional aspects of the trust and treatment of my
mother adds another huge burden.
To get through my days, I have little tricks I employ. Your site provides
quotes and comments that, more often than not, give me the insight I need
to make it through another day in hell.
Thank you for continuing to provide bits of wisdom and humor. This ole'
world needs more of that. Warm regards, Kathy
Dear Kathy, God protect us from greedy relatives. I’ve seen what you’re
talking about happen too many times. My advice to all the seniors I know;
“Spend like hell, forget the kids. Leave them your best wishes, that’s
Sorry about the problems with your daughter’s recovery, but this too will
pass. I’ll keep good thoughts and ask that other readers do the same. It
sounds like you’re carrying a hell of a load and as for the husband, a
loveless marriage doesn’t do anyone any good. If you can’t work it out,
ditch him, at any cost. It’s only life, but it’s YOUR life. Learn to be a
Getting through life isn’t all that easy for anyone, Kathy, but look at it
this way . . . you’ve gotten this far. Time to try and snatch some
personal happiness in the days and years you have left.
These are tough and uncertain times, but don’t let the uneasiness that has
gripped us all since 9/11 add to your already full slate of problems. I’m
thrilled to know that you do consider this little spot on the net a
refuge. I’ll try to keep it that way. Luv, Rod
RUMORS ARE FLYING
friend Colleen arrived for a facial when FBI agents were leaving Murad on
Sunday, October 7, 2001. They were there to interrogate a girl who worked
there to find out if she knew anything. The reason for their lead was she
was best friends with a girl who was dating an Arab man, who disappeared
and was involved in the terrorist attacks on the WTC. He disappeared this
summer and left her a note, saying the following "I have to go away and
will not be able to see you again. Please do me a favor and do not fly in
any planes on September 11, 2001 nor shop at any shopping malls on October
Don't know about you but I live across the street from a shopping mall,
and my in-laws do too. Given my daughter is usually at their house on a
Wednesday afternoon, right near the mall, am thinking of somewhere else to
go. Halloween may not be so happy this year. Deb Radwin
Deb, Deb, Deb! I’ve just counted the variations on the letter you
forwarded to me that I’ve received in the last three weeks. Eleven! That’s
right, 11 variations on a theme. All exhorting me and everyone else to
stay out of The Malls on Halloween.
I’m not putting much stock in the supposed words of your friends, friends,
friend who told Colleen’s about the ‘Arab ex-lover, ‘ , (ever notice how
these guys never seem to have names?) But I’ll tell you what does worry
me. With so many nuts at large certain tall tales told often enough take
on a life of their own. So, without a grand plot, some mall somewhere,
maybe more than one, is bound to have an incident on All Saints Eve.
Lets hope this E-mail tail proves to be as erroneous as the ones about the
survivor of The World Trade Center who slid down 90 stories on a banister
and lived to tell the tail. Or, the widely circulated photo supposedly
from a camera found in the ruins of ‘The Site’ that showed a smiling young
man on the observation deck with an airplane heading his way. Only
problem, the observation deck wasn’t scheduled to open till an hour after
the crash and why was the man dressed in full winter field gear on one of
the hottest days in New York City?
I won’t be in a mall on Halloween but I hope to attend the annual
craziness in West Hollywood which is often more fun than a barrel of
terrorists trapped with two dozen Tasmanian Devils. I don’t plan on
wearing a costume but you can bet there will be more than one drag queen
there dressed as stripper named Ann Thrax. Luv and BOO!, Rod
THE JOY OF A JOB
Rod, I hear that you are busy and happy (my personal informant, Jay passed
this on to me). How exciting that you have so many new projects going on.
Isn't it just the best feeling to know you are doing what you love best? I
feel that way about my work. I am truly glad to go to work each day.
People ask, "how can you listen to all that awful stuff, don't you get
depressed listening to everyone's problems, all day?" Knowing that what I
do, makes things better is what the reward is. Who would have ever thought
that a hippie child, ex-waitress, ex-interior / architectural designer,
would become a psychotherapist and be really good at it. Love, Jana
Dear Jana: I bitch about work from time to time, but I can’t imagine life
without it. With all the unlucky people being laid off these days you bet
those of us who have a job can consider ourselves fortunate. And, when you
enjoy what you’re doing, that’s the alamode.
What you are doing is really important. Listening to people and helping
them come to terms with their life and surroundings is a special talent.
I’m sure that in all the years you’ve been working you have made more than
one individual realize that most of our problems start and end with each
of us and if we can get a handle on our own personalities we’re halfway
home. As ever, Rod.
AND NOW THE DOWNLOADS
These are MPG files you can download for free. I hope this experiment is
successful and we can continue to make additional songs available.
Click on the links below to
commence your download.
Rod McKuen /
“Soldiers Who Want
to be Heroes” (2.8meg)
Rod McKuen / “Love,
Let Me Not Hunger” (3.4meg)
Both “Love, Let Me Not Hunger” and
“Soldiers Who Want to Be Heroes” words and music by Rod McKuen. Copyright
by Stanyan Music Group. They remain the intellectual and real property of
Stanyan Records. Downloading is restricted for personal use and neither
song or track may be copied, sold or traded for profit without written
permission from the copyright holder.
This version of “Soldiers Who Want to be Heroes” is not currently for sale
on disc. “Love, Let Me Not Hunger” is from the “Early Harvest” CD,
available from Stanyan By Mail. MPG files courtesy of Eric Yeager.
Sleep warm and join me again tomorrow.
RM 10/20/2001 Previously
Jay Leno says:
Whitney Houston isn’t opening envelopes containing white powder these
Details of Rod's next
appearance can be obtained by following the link below.
Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman