Listen to the Warm

My husband is SLOWLY cleaning out our storeroom (with little help from me).  He came across the first book of poetry I owned, Listen to the Warm, by Rod McKuen.


McKuen died in 2015.  He was from the Bay Area and was active in the LGBTQ+ movement as early as the 1950’s. In addition to his poetry, he wrote numerous songs that were performed by a variety of artists, including Andy Williams, Henry Mancini, and the Kingston Trio.

We have moved many times and it is somewhat of a miracle that I actually still have a book that is over 50 years old and a book of poetry to boot! A used copy of the hardcover book is available on Amazon for $40 plus, but I am hanging on to my copy. I even had the LP at some point.  I wish I had saved that too. 

One of my bffs, JCM (pictured above), and I were both obsessed with this book.  The edition I have was released in 1967.  I think the picture was taken of us ‘reading the book’ when we were sophomores in high school, but that is just a guess. Many of my other girlfriends were fans too, I just don’t have the photos to prove it.

I’m not sure how JCM and I found his poetry in the first place.  My memory doesn’t quite go back that far! 

I have been browsing his poetry since the book was ‘rediscovered’.  I must admit, I still like a lot of his work:

Stanyan Street

These are golden apples to be picked

And green hills to climb

And meadows to run when you’re young.

There are roaring rivers to be crossed

And bridges to build

And wild oats to sow as you grow.

But later on the other side of time

The apples no longer taste sweet,

Bridges fall down. Meadows turn brown

As life falls apart

In a little room on Stanyan Street.

Rod McKuen, 1967

And in honor of my first book of poetry, I am knitting a ‘Listen to the Warm’ cowl 😊.  Rod even got my autumn colors right with the book cover……50 years ago.



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