Friday, August 12, 2011

Rome Itself by Rod McKuen

Photo of the Coliseum from

In the early 70's I was a teenager and my boyfriend used to give me poems he said he'd written for me.  They were pretty good, too.  After we married, I discovered his small collection of Rod McKuen books and the poems he'd 'borrowed' from them to win my heart.   We used to use the poem below as our secret code for having sex.  If either of us mentioned Rome, we'd skitter home to have some fun.  And trust me, it's not that easy to work Rome into a conversation at your mother's house.  LOL!  Ah, the joys of youth! I own every single one of Rod McKuen's books, a few battered copies from the early days of our marriage.  I still enjoy reading Mr. McKuen's poetry.  It never fails to move me and bring up great memories.  xo

By Rod McKuen

I carry down between my legs
Rome itself, for you love Rome
and I would drive Rome into you
or drive you into Rome.
This room your coliseum till you board
your plane. These arms your forum
cats included.

Self-propelled am I between
the morning and the midnight
I glide along your groin and earn my wings
by testing out your thighs
like some new willful Wiley Post.
My flight is not away, not to or from.
Above you, below you - I soar
and perch upon your second pillow.

I have no need for such mechanical devices
as winged shoes or wings. I am made uncommon
by the need to know you and thereby
come to know myself.

Rome, though in the distance, is no farther
than the dresser and not so far away
that I can't take you there.

For me the Spanish Steps
are centered on your tongue
and Caesar could content himself with
California wine had he your eyes to follow
and your breath to capture with his own breath.

We'll go to Rome
as slowly as you like
and be there by tonight.

- from "Fields of Wonder", 1971


Kelly said...

Aha! Sharing secrets from your past! :)

Ben Ditty said...

Eep I love the back story behind this :D

Fireblossom said...

Got to love Rod. :-)

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Very sexy! I love to hear that you were wooed by poetry, even if it was "borrowed". What a great story ... You won't mind the tiniest pause for some envy, will you?
My courtship and marriage involve various salacious limericks which don't even rank on a poetry scale, except for the meter and rhyme patterns. Alas. None of them spoke of Rome, just Nantucket, which seems to rhyme nicely with other sexy words like "bucket".

We have been known to say, "When in Rome" though. Funny to say it when we were in London or Amsterdam. Great poem. Fantastic story. I love your blog posts!

Serena said...

Love the story about your youthful code word. The poem's cool, too. I hadn't read any McKuen in a long time.

Marion said...

Thanks for the kind comments, ladies and gentleman.

Katherine, I've had my share of salacious limericks, too. Ray used to get Playboy and Penthouse and loved to spout those funny limericks. LOL! Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!

erin said...

marion, your cander is like being home. love it. love how you have lived. and rome's not so bad either:)


Terresa said...

Code word Rome, got it (and I'm going to use it).

Joyful-Lady said...

Thank you for this beautiful story and posting a favorite poem from my teen years. I remember when just the thought of this poem seemed so naughty. I was looking for it and found your beautiful page because My Life Partner just took me to Europe for three weeks, with 12 days of it on a Med cruise with 10 ports in 12 days. Anyway - the day we were to go to Rome we stayed in our cabin until Noon, "going to Rome" instead of rushing around on a shore excursion and then had a very lovely walk in the port town and an adventurous lunch at a restaurant where the staff spoke only Italian and we do not so we did not know what we were ordering but it was great fun. Thanks again and blessings to you.

Marion said...

Joyful-Lady, I envy your wonderful trip abroad. I've never been out of the South but for my millions of travels in books. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. Rod McKuen in one of my first poet-loves. Blessings to you, too. xo

Joyful-Lady said...

Look not upon what I do with envy but as inspiration. "If she can; so can I"

I once thought that such trips were something that others did but not the likes of me. But a European cruise can be extremely affordable. The trick is to get a passport - it is as if that opens the door to the opportunity, to the good deal, etc.

There is nothing that you cannot do if you believe you can. Blissings to you. xo