Poem Hunter
On Rod Mckuen
(04 October 1943 / Germany)

On Rod Mckuen

It was the sixties when he came
from nowhere in particular, it seemed.
The country was divided into haves
and have-nots, as is usually the case.
But further trouble brewed in Vietnam,
young boys were being sent to jungles,
and many stayed, although unwillingly.
His name was Rod McKuen, poet,
war correspondent of the mad Korean War,
he wandered into many lives and was adored
as idols were so very much in short supply.
So many albums, countless poetry creations,
it was the human hiding in between the lines
and looking back I say those truly were the days
when Frank Sinatra did it, like McKuen, just his way.
What makes a poet or a butcher or a baker,
who is the judge and who the final undertaker.
Two million copies in three years, and who did read
those golden words from number one in USA?
He spoke to us from heart to heart, he soothed
and took our hand on all his journeys into Awe.
He was persona grata and a trusted friend,
one who would stand out in the storm, and all alone
until the masses felt their need to be united
and to be counted as they stood in someone's shadow.

User Rating: 3,1 / 5 ( 7 votes ) 7

Comments (7)

Rod McKuen remains my favorite poet, as I discovered his writings when I was a young teenaged girl. I still snuggle up on winter nights and read his poetry books, which I forgot to return to a local library over 35 yrs ago. I did confess to the oversight and paid a slight fine, which they kindly lowered. I kept the books, and treasure the poems inside. Your poem took me back to that memory. Thanks for sharing it. Perhaps tonight I will revisit Stanyan Street. I invite you to read my poems, as I am new to this forum and welcome new friends with PEACE
I just read Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows and I thought it was great. This is a great representation of him and well written as well. Why he is not on this sight, I do not know.
Thank you Andrew, for your comments. I am not a fan of the poetry of McKuen, as a matter of fact, I on; y rememebered the one title of his book In Someone's Shadow from my hairy times in Minneapolis in the late 60's. But I do remember that most of the people I associated with 'clung' to McKuen as one would to a guru, which he was in a way. We also sat at the banks of the Mississippi River and sang We Shall Overcome, and Lemon Tree and Where have all The Flowers Gone. It was a great time and McKuen just was a big part of it. I guess it's a bit like falling in love with the nurse that nurses you back to health. If you know what I mean H
personally, I have to say that I am not a fan of Rod McKuen's songs or poetry. However, I think he was a positive focus for people in time gone by and generations need figureheads whether Ali or Dylan...because figureheads often give a voice to people who want to make their voice heard. And there is nothing wrong with championing someone who one reveres, particularly as I think McKuen stood for something positive. I have expressed praise for everyone from Humphrey Bogart & Charlie Chaplin to Aristotle...I believe your poem is very positive.
Personally, a poet who motivated and united millions of people, who was admired by Frank Sinatra, Henry Mancini and Glen Yarbrough, who wrote poetry that was and is enjoyed by many millions of people, deserves all the praise he can get. Yes, a measure of the greatness of a poet is the number of people whose lives are enriched by reading his work, after all, what else would you base the relative talent of a poet on, judgment of people like you? Give me a break. I don't think your poetry is good but who am I to judge it? Perhaps there are many who think otherwise, which would make me a loner and...wrong! Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Joan Baez, Heinz Erhardt.....not everyone's cup of tea but. As to whether my lines in my poems are good or not, please spare me the comments. You would not know but my best suggestion is don't read my stuff. Hoping you will have better days soon, H
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