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RETIRED TEACHER USES HIS VERSE TO REFLECT ON LIFE.

Byline: Carol Rock Staff Writer

NEWHALL - From his Newhall apartment, Raoul Hurd looks over the wildlife at William S. Hart Park. The towering trees of the celluloid cowboy's estate wave at him while the music from families picnicking at tables wafts up to fill his living room.

The 79-year-old retired educator draws inspiration from the pallette of nature outside his window, writing down his thoughts and decorating his prose with things that make him chuckle.

With the encouragement of fellow teacher Richard Weekley, Hurd has published his first book of poetry. The book, ``Turn Me Inside Out,'' published by Los Angeles Poets' Press, will have its debut reading next Sunday in Weekley's Laughing Buddha Garden.

A slight, balding man with a gray beard and mustache, Hurd has eyes that sparkle when he talks about his life and the joy of writing.

``There are so many things to write about,'' he said, walking through the park. ``There's nature and politics and war and peace. I used to be careful before and didn't deliberately speak out. Then I started writing and traveled around the world, meeting other writers.

``There are several parts of my book because I have a lot of interests,'' he said, leafing through the pages of the softbound yellow book. ``Tickle My Funny Bone,'' ``Everywhere With Sky and Air'' and ``Hang With Me, I'm Blue'' are some of his favorite sections.

The ``Where Do I Go From Here'' chapter addresses some of the challenges of advancing age.

When I was young and fun,

I used to swim and run

till I reached the drinking age

and felt the hormones rage.

That led to prancin' and dancin'

to country, rock and swing.

Then came the urge to booze and cruise,

to lots of courtin' and fancy cavortin.'

Now I've slowed down - no more crankin'

just amblin' and ramblin.'

By cracky, it's a sin

when you get these slow walkin'/talkin' blues.

Hurd taught French for the Hart school district for 27 years before retiring. Now he occasionally travels to a magnet school near California State University, Dominguez Hills, to teach - as a substitute - history and Spanish. That is, when he isn't thinking about his next poem.

Hurd's book reflects the influences of his world travels. An ode to Charlie Parker is printed in both French and English in homage to Parker's European flair; his war-themed poems echo the perspective gained from meeting fellow writers and observing conflict on a global scale.

``I'm very much a procrastinator,'' he said, when asked why he waited so long to publish his work. ``I wrote a play, and it wasn't very good. And I have a series of stories about a rat and an old guy called 'Pops and Popcorn' that I need to have illustrated. But I like to write funny poems.

``I especially like the title,'' he continued, smiling. ``It says to rip me up and see what I'm made of.

``Poets never make any money, but at least I'm doing something.''

``Walking on Through''

I keep walking

I keep walking

I keep walking

Walking past the roses.

Walking past the trees.

Walking through the meadows

With jasmine on the breeze.

I guess I'll keep on walking

Till I walk myself right out of me.

After I walked to the other side

Should I go back or should I hide?

Then I wonder what I will see

I wonder, yes I wonder, how I wonder!

In some strange land beyond the seas.

Is there great adventure

Just ahead of me?

The poetry reading will begin at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Laughing Buddha Garden, 24721 Newhall Ave. There is no admission charge, but guests are asked to bring a snack to share.

Also featured will be readings from Weekley, who will read from his book ``100 Doors,'' and Jerry Danielsen, reading from his book ``Against the Fog,'' as well as Butoh dancing by Don McLeod and music by singer/guitarist Teri Sansfield. Limited open-reading spots are available. Further information is available by calling Weekley at (661) 254-5215 or e-mailing him at weekley360(at)comcast.net.

Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252

carol.rock(at)dailynews.com

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(color) ``Poets never make any money,'' Raoul Hurd says, ``but at least I'm doing something.''

David R. Crane/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 19, 2003
Words:719
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