Writing this blog caused me to plumb my own poetry roots. It took me a while to remember the name of the poet who ignited my interest in poetry. Rod McKuen was the culprit. Probably few who read this will know who Rod McKuen is.
Mr. McKuen is an anomaly; a poet who actually made a living off his poems and songs. His books sold over 65 million copies. According to Wikipedia, he is still alive.
I was introduced to McKuen’s poetry by an older lady, probably twenty-five years older than I, when I was a young, unmarried man. I would have been romantically interested in her, but she was smarter than that. Instead, she focused our relationship on work and the discussion of Rod McKuen.
I do not believe I ever owned any of McKuen’s books, although my lady friend loaned me several of hers, but I owned several of his albums—you know, those vinyl disc things that played at thirty-three and a third RPMs. Mr. McKuen had a beautiful speaking voice, much better than his singing voice, and to hear him read his poetry would stir anyone’s soul.
After McKuen, I began reading Robert Burns (went straight to the Scot), William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning (whose, How do I Love Thee, is my favorite poem of all time http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/how-do-i-love-thee/), and many other of the classical poets.
Only after exploring those lofty heights did I decide to write poetry. Shows how smart I am.
by Mike Patrick
Each poem grows from little vines
Attached to heart and soul.
Fermented into finest wines
With age and theme control.
With rhyme and verse, format is set,
And tempo holds the pace.
Word-choice demands must be met;
Maintaining style and grace.
Through subtle use of word and phrase
The reader soon will find,
The deepest truth or latest craze
Is quickly brought to mind.
But poets fail to reach that goal,
Unless the writing’s real.
The only thing they can control
Is what they truly feel.