FLIGHTS FROM THE PAST
2 June 2001

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Eve 2001: Photo by Edward McKuen. ©2001 Stanyan Entertainment Group

A Thought for Today

Love works best when we don’t work at it.

 

On June 2nd I prefaced the first in a series of ‘Love Letters Unsent'  with the following comments. “Last Saturday when I published a new poem entitled “To One Absent” I had no way of knowing the kind of mail it would generate. It was taken very personally by many and they read into it different things. That’s, of course, the way it should be. A poem is only what each reader believes it is, nothing more.

It did start me to thinking, however. Lately the same situation that inspired ‘To One Absent” has caused me to begin writing love letters that may never be seen by the one for whom they are intended. It’s all too complicated to get into but I thought if the poem could touch people in ways that are meaningful to them perhaps I might let go of a few of the not too personal to be printed letters I’m writing. Here is one such letter.”

A LOVE LETTER UNSENT

Dear You, I hope this reaches you safe and smiling. Hard to believe that June is here. Is it age, circumstance or imagination that makes it seem as if time departs at faster speeds each day?

Since our condition is now dictated by other peoples clocks I no longer tick off days and months as I once did, matter of factly and with resignation. I let them go by without a count or feeling of remorse and yet weeks-end finds me wondering when when will come. The time that sees us seeing one the other face to face. The spoon-sleep of after love is missed as much as love itself if not more, because it is of longer duration.

There are times when holding that great pillow is not enough.

Impatient? Of course. And while I know that I can wait because our love is sure it does not ease some aches that only your arm ‘round my shoulder, my hand on your chest, sliding to your belly can alleviate.

I awaken sometimes because you touch me in an odd way or because I feel the warmth of you too much to manage without a loosening of my grip around you or a position change. Of course you are not there, but then I hurry back to sleep to make it so again. Once, last night I think it was, I had my hand halfway inside of you and I could feel your steady pulse as if it were a beating heart that I was reaching out to grasp. (I pray no doctor discovers my new accessing rhythm method or dares to take such liberties.)

Did I imagine that you called me ‘darling’ on the telephone? I warn you I am unaccustomed to pet names but, oh they come from off your tongue so naturally that I could grow to love and miss them as much as you are missed if those new to me endearments stopped dripping from your mouth in our too short conversations.

It is mid-afternoon here, outside birds are silent because they drowse in shade. Yes, the sun has finally deigned to shine a bit and so the garden is getting attention from one other than me. It could use your hoe and weeding hand. I do not, dare not, wish that we will be two-gether soon enough to harvest what is growing now. I am waiting out the lives we started alone that we will reap in concert.

However longer, I maintain the stay. I love you, Me.

5/30/01 3:30 PM

First publication 6/2/01

THE 12 DOWNLOADS OF CHRISTMAS #6
THE LOVERS OF DECEMBER

THE STORY BEHIND THE SONG

“The Lovers of December” will be obscure to many of you because as far as I can remember this is the only recording I’ve ever made of it. It was written in 1959 and it’s among the first songs Skip Redwine and I ever did as a team. It’s one of the most musically interesting and complex melodies Skip ever wrote. It wants to be a waltz but vacillates between a bolero and rumba beat. There’s plenty of room for the singer to wander in with my words and I wonder that I never showed it to any other artists.

Johnny Mercer played the song through and commented, “If you keep writing all these nostalgic songs at your age what are you going to write about when you’re older?” Nostalgia, Johnny, nostalgia.

Considering how much I like “The Lovers of December” I’m amazed that it took me so long to get around to recording it and that I’ve yet to perform it in concert. This recording was made on June 2, 1972 at Western Studios, Hollywood. The arrangement is by Dick Walter and the orchestra was conducted by Eddie Karam. Pete Jolly is featured on piano. Wade Alexander and I co-produced the session and the track was issued on the Stanyan LP “Rod” (SR 5025). It has never been released on CD.

THE WORDS

The Lovers of December


White winter knows no age
It’s like the printed word that dances on the page
And so they go still smiling though their heads bend low
A smile as gentle as September, The Lovers of December.

Grey morning knows no day
You have to catch it or it’s quick to run away
And so they turn to watch the fire of springtime burn
Until that fire is but an ember, The Lovers of December

There’s a time to love and a time to cry
Time to catch the bird, time to let it fly
Time to see the chariot coming and step aside
For the road is as narrow as the heart is wide.

Black midnight knows no year
It’s hard to see just like the color of a tear
And so they pause, just now and then they stop because
They have so much they can remember,
The Lovers of December.

Words: Rod McKuen. Music: Skip Redwine © 1959 by Rod McKuen; 1965 by Rod McKuen & Stanyan Music

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE LOVERS OF DECEMBER

(A simple left-click on the above link should start the download automatically. If you're having problems, try right-clicking on the link and select "save target as....".)

If you’re starting your New Year celebrations early play happily and safely. If you drink, please don’t drive. See you tomorrow with another download. Sleep warm.

RM 12/29/01

notable birthdays Suzy Bogguss o Skeeter Davis o Bo Diddley o Heidi Fleiss o John Hartford o John Hillerman o Davey Jones o Dmitri Kabalevsky o Rudyard Kipling o Sandy Koufax o Matt Lauer o Eliza Little o Jack Lord o Mike Nesmith o Barbara Nichols o Bert Parks o Del Shannon o Alfred E. Smith o Patti Smith o Noel Paul Stookey o Russ Tamblyn o Tracey Ullman o Jo Van Fleet o Meredith Viera o Fred Ward o Tiger Woods
Rod's random thoughts The supply of love will never exceed the demand, but it should.

The sea invents, we rearrange. The sea takes out a patent, we infringe. The sea holds all the copyrights to all the most important works, speaking truth that even time won’t change. And still we steal from her.

Need can drive you down the darkest alley and leave you beached and bloody, waiting for the next encounter.

THREE DECEMBER POEMS

David's Poem

David's at the window
and snowflakes
sound like drums.

Song

Good God give us more
than just our daily bread.
Let our foraging be done
in your name only.

Make the songs we sing
songs of praise
and not of glory.

God of our fathers
be the one our songs turn to
as we pass into history.

Lessons

In imitating Christ
we mustn't once forget
He seldom went alone.
His friends were those
who needed friends themselves.

A teacher, he was often taught
and not by just His father
but by the flock He shepherded
from torment into love.

He was the wisest of His wise men.
That didn't come by chance,
it came from caring.

- from "The Carols of Christmas", 1971

 
© 1984, 1988, 1999, 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 o Sound & Fury Dr. Eric Yeager o Webmaster Ken Blackie
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