Reading McKuen at Dawn


I am reading love poems this morning,
the smell of your sleep still in my hair,
our last kiss lingering on lips
as I sip coffee and slowly turn pages
of someone else’s memory.

There on black and yellowed white pages,
the poet catches moments not unlike
the ones you and I shared at 2 a.m.
as we curled into each other,
blurring lines of you and me……..and time.

I remember reading these poems
when love was paramount,
this poet’s words my ideal,
set on a shelf with adolescent understanding
of supposed-to-be and meant-to-be.

How funny to turn these pages again,
beyond any year I could image then,
find companion with the poet……..and the promise,
so certain I will turn a page and find you there
reading lines, my expressions of surprise.


Rod McKuen was an American singer-songwriter, musician and poet. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks and classical music. He earned two Academy Award nominations and one Pulitzer nomination for his music compositions. His poetry dealt with themes of love, the natural world and spirituality. McKuen sold over 100 million records and 60 million books worldwide, according to the Associated Press. He died on January 29, 2015 at the age of 81. (Wikipedia)

WORDS ©2014, Jen Payne
IMAGE: Woman Reading in a Cashmere Shawl, John Singer Sargent.

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