Moment to Moment

The following poem was written by a most extraordinary poet named Rod McKuen.

His books of poetry and song have gotten me through many an emotional time. The following is my all time favorite Rod McKuen poem. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

The Leaving

Lingering

as the dying do

between that life

just past

and the still unknown,

I only know enough

about myself as yet

to know that I don't

know enough.

Nor can I say

I know what's missing-

voids are voids

only seen completely

after we've had

victories over them.

I do not dangle

at the dawning

on a strand of sunlight,

nor do I perch on

paragraphs of prayer.

I'm hill and gully rider

only on the edge

of conversations

never in the center.

Get close enough to learn

but lean as little as you can

and only then

to have a closer listen.

All men have lessons

they can give you

even in rejection.

And the least

that you can offer

any man

is your good arm

or shoulder.

There will be

times when many

will want pieces of you

but only offer up the whole.

The small times count,

the inches not the miles.

Touches not tradition

will fill your memory

in the morning or the end.

And memories are

the only sanity

the world can now

assure us.

While traversing a lifetime

we should not concern ourselves

with steps that lead us

day to decade

or even year to year.

Moment to moment is enough,

you do not ask for more

though it is

certain to be given almost always.

Whatever interlude

of kindness or of light,

real or pretended

you see coming

through the distance

be ready and be open.

The cost

of one warm moment

is considerable

but worth the poverty

that staying private means.

I know this and I knew it

that September night

in Amsterdam.

And having been without love

for so long a time

and what new knowledge

each encounter brings

I must have been

as ready as a rose is

to be caressed

and then be ruined

by the rain.

Rod McKuen

3 Replies

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  • Hi Jane, and thanks for posting this. Is this the same Rod McKuen who is a singer/songwriter?

    George

  • Yes, it is. His books are no longer in print but I manage to find them at book stores, flea markets and the like. I have been reading his poetry since I was an eight grader back in the early 70's. He is just my all time favorite!!

  • I didn't realize he was a poet... but I have long been aware of his singing/songwriting. Come to think of it, songwriting is, in itself, a form of poetry.

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