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Shades Of Brown

by Lisa 

Posted: 24 August 2003
Word Count: 143
Summary: By popular demand, I have reverted to the original title! Thanks for your wisdom, all.

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Donít leave me with dying roses
and your narcissi,
vain and gaunt.
Donít forget your greenhouse,
steam house,
childrenís dream house
and its narcotic earthy scent.

Take your russet armchair
with the faded cushions
and your smell.
Remember that teak-framed photograph
when you were the lorry man,
your waving hand so much bigger than

Donít forget to take that warmth
from your coffee-coloured slippers
that swim around my tiny feet.
Finish off those biscuits,
sweep beige crumbs
from the carpet
that make me think of you.

Then thereís the tomatoes:
Who will grow those
and the beans?
The crumbling soil needs your time
to create life
and to give mine

Donít leave me with the ticking clock,
that secret knock
so you know itís me.
Donít leave me with just memories
of plants and sounds
and shades of brown.

Donít leave.

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Comments by other Members

Bobo at 09:07 on 25 August 2003  Report this post
Hi Lisa

This is so very beautiful - full of sadness and a strong sense of loss. It brought a tear to my eye.

There's not much I can offer in terms of constructive criticism as poetry's not really my area, but my preference would be for the original title as the new one makes it sound as though the poem will be comedic ( which is obviously not the case! ). Also, the rhythm of the second verse jarred a little, but that may just be me!

Anyway, lovely.

BoBo xxx

Lisa at 10:22 on 25 August 2003  Report this post
Thanks Bobo - you're prbably right about the title.

The rhythm of the second verse is a little different to the other verses - perhaps breaking the line: "your waving hand so much bigger than mine" might help? Certainly, I'll ponder that.



poemsgalore at 18:37 on 25 August 2003  Report this post
Wow, what a poem. Such as sense of devastation and loss. Yes, I agree that the original title serves it better.

peterxbrown at 00:27 on 26 August 2003  Report this post
A beautiful poem which captures the feelings we all have about the inevitable future loss of aged loved ones. You have expressed those feelings very movingly. I agree with Bobo and feel that the second verse jars somewhat. Could you drop it altogether as the remaining verses are certainly strong enough to stand alone?


I am sorry! Its verse 4 I would remove. I missed a line out of my comments. I too would revert to your original title. Apologies.

Lisa at 15:43 on 26 August 2003  Report this post
Interesting. Thanks for your comments Peter - I'l bear them in mind.


olebut at 15:57 on 26 August 2003  Report this post

what a beautiful poem as someone else may have written PERFICK

as or the title why not just Not Out

shades of brown is an interesting title but the one thing the description is not is brown your poem is too descriptive 'shades of autumn' perhaps where browns are such beautiful rich reds and ochres and yellows.

still whatever you decide a nice image I hav ebeen tryingto compose something for a long while to describe my memeory of my father and the wrods just wont come still one day

take care


Ellenna at 16:05 on 26 August 2003  Report this post
This is poignant and beautifully put across..

one really experiences your memories ..


fevvers at 18:06 on 01 September 2003  Report this post
Hello Lisa

What was the other title?

LONGJON at 09:24 on 02 September 2003  Report this post
Hi Lisa,

The background to a poem such as this bars the creation of controversy, so I'll just say leave verse 2 right where it is, please. It speaks in its own voice, as it must,since loss is never a single voice, it is not rooted in single memory. I envy you - I would love to write on this but there is nothing to write about.

Have you ever read W.H.Audens Funeral Blues?

Good on you for posting your reflections on this.

John P.

Lisa at 20:50 on 10 September 2003  Report this post
Hi John - no, never read "Funeral Blues" but will look out for it. I'm intrigued.


Lisa at 20:52 on 10 September 2003  Report this post
Hi Jacqueline!

The original title was: "Grandpa's Good Innings - 92 Not Out"... but the piece is distinctly lacking in cricket imagery so I think "Shades Of Brown" (wood, earth, dying flowers, etc (for the benefit of David)) will do the job better.


P.S. My Grandpa is now 93 anyway!

pene at 11:32 on 13 September 2003  Report this post
I have not been on line for a while so am not sure how much this beautiful piece has changed from the original? whatever I feel it matters not as what I have read is wonderful, very very emotive and beautifully written! well done

Lisa at 23:53 on 16 September 2003  Report this post
Cheers Pene.


Elsie at 18:29 on 03 November 2003  Report this post
Hi Lisa, this was really atmospheric and aching with loss. Having seen it with the original title only, I hadn't realised it was a grandparent you were talking about, it could have easily been a partner of someone - midle aged admittedly. Well done, thanks for the read.

tinyclanger at 21:35 on 05 November 2003  Report this post
I really enjoyed this - sorry to have missed out on all the debate. As it stands now I think it's a beautiful, gentle portrait of a loved one. It makes them real and the connections between you are so touchingly expressed. Amazing how just a fe lines and memories can capture someone so well. It made me think of my grandad and how much we shared and I how I still miss him. Lovely

Lisa at 18:30 on 09 November 2003  Report this post
Thank you (fellow Clanger fanatic!) - all the elements I put into this are real memories and moments from my childhood with my grandfather (aged 92 now, and still digging the allotment at six every morning!). Even now that I'm a grown woman, and they are so much older, we have a secret knock so they only have to answer the door to family.

You know when you think back on an era or a place from your childhod it conjures up smells and colours? My grandparents' house always seemed so brown - seventies brown patterned carpets and upholstery, lots of wooden furniture; cake and biccies even. And the front and back garden, the greenhouse and the allotment were always so green and brimming with fruit and veg and flowers that the idea of those outside spaces ever adopting the shades of brown that was so atmospheric inside their home would in contrast be a sign of neglect and decay outside.

But enough of my self-indulgent ramblings. Thanks so much for your thoughts.


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