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2001 Birthday photograph by Olga Hedrnandez ©2001 Stanyan Entertainment

A Thought for Today

The best way to climb a hill is to put one foot in front of the other and start up.



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Rod McKuen Concerts & Appearances

notable birthdays Andre Agassi o Linda Becker o Richard Carlson o Beth Anne Cox o Daniel Day-Lewis o Lonnie Donnegan o Nora Dunn o Dale Earnhardt o Duke Ellington o Tom Ewell o Paul Galvin o William Randolph Hearst o Emperor Hirohito o Celeste Holm o Tommy James o Preston B. Lawing o Rod McKuen o Zubin Mehta o Donald Mills (Mills Bros.) o Kate Mulgrew o Tommy Noonan o Jo OíMeara o Bill Paxton o Michelle Pfeiffer o Eve Plumb o Tino Rossi o Jerry Seinfeld o April Stevens o Uma Thurman o Carnie Wilson o Fred Zinneman
Rod's random thoughts The best thing about getting older is you never have to go back.

The poem is in the skin. It is a blemish that will not rub out.

The older I get, the older I get.



You lie bent up in embryo sleep
below the painting of the blue fisherman
              without a pillow.
The checkered cover kicked and tangled on the floor
the old house creaking now
a car going by
the wind
a fire engine up the hill.

Iíve disentangled myself from you
              moved silently, 
groping in the dark for cigarettes,
and now three cigarettes later
       still elated
               still afraid
I sit across the room watching you -
the light from the street lamp
       coming through the shutters
hysterical patterns flash on the wall sometimes
       when a car goes by
otherwise there is no change.
Not in the way you lie curled up.
Not in the sounds that never come from you.
Not in the discontent I feel.

Youíve filled completely
this first November day
with Sausalito and sign language
canoe and coffee
       ice cream and your wide eyes.
And now unable to sleep 
because the day is finally going home
because your sleep has locked me out
I watch you and wonder at you.

I know your face by touch when itís dark
I know the profile of your sleeping face
the sound of you sleeping.

Sometimes I think you were all sound
kicking free of covers
and adjusting shutters
moving about in the bathroom
       taking twenty minutes of our precious time.

I know the hills
       and gullies of your body
              the curves
                     the turns.

I have total recall of you
and Stanyan Street
because I know it will be important later.

Itís quiet now.
Only the clock,
moving toward rejection tomorrow
breaks the stillness.

- from "Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows", 1965, 1966


If we are lucky
even the lilacs 
will last the weekend.
                We'll last too.
And the leave taking will come 
                     without smiles.

Each of us will carry for a while
                        a secret hurt
but a pride at being just right for the other.
Then - one day - one will forget
                              later on - the other.

In time no one will know or remember
a weekend in early April shared by two
old enough to know not to expect too much
not to want this time for more than what it is,
                                the final weekend.
When everything is almost right
and both of us are old enough 
               to know and to be thankful
for the little time that we have left.

-from the book & album "Listen to the Warm", 1966, 1967

© 1965, 1966, 1967, 1988, 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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