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A life too short

by Brian Aird 

Posted: 10 November 2004
Word Count: 105

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A life too short
By Brian Aird

I cannot leave the white room
Nor turn from the red rose
That lies adrift on his becalmed chest

Wed thought hed always be there
Like antique pitch
Trying to make us sea-worthy

But expert kindness
With cruel hands unclean
Hurried a fatal flaw to a blemish

Thus the water got below
Sails turned to shrouds
Breath howled to a full stop

Now thoughts lost in sudden mist
Search for words
But find stubborn tears

So flow my tears to this poignant nib
And make a quiet prayer
For a life too long and a life too short

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Comments by other Members

roovacrag at 22:11 on 10 November 2004  Report this post
Brian.. read this through a few times. Well composed poem,sad but real.
You always think they will be there and suddenly they go.
Sometimes too young,which is why I read it a few times.
Brought a tear to the eye on this.

Good poem.

xx Alice

joanie at 18:34 on 11 November 2004  Report this post
Brian, this is very moving; I can't help thinking that it must be a personal experience.

I like the sea/boat metaphors: That lies adrift on his becalmed chest, Like antique pitch/Trying to make us sea-worthy, Sails turned to shrouds.

I have read this aloud now a few times and I really like it.

Personally I prefer more punctuation and capitals as they appear naturally, not at the start of every line, but that's just me - I think I would find it easier to read that way.

Good one,


fevvers at 11:13 on 12 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Brian

There's some beautiful writing in this, I especially liked "Wed thought hed always be there/ Like antique pitch/ Trying to make us sea-worthy//.

I'd like to ask you if you think it's finished, because it seems to me it needs a little more work to tighten it and maybe take away a little of the directing the writer is giving the reader. Hardy wrote some wonderful elegies to his wife, I'll dig out the titles if you like - and of course there's Douglas Dunn's beautiful elegies as well.

I'd also be interested in knowing what poetry/poets you're reading at the moment.


Brian Aird at 11:48 on 12 November 2004  Report this post
Thanks Jacqueline/Joanie/Alice - It's not finished. I'm not happy that I've dealt with the issue of MRSA killing the elderly adequately. Perhaps the last line about a long life being shortened isn't linked with the 'expert kindness with unclean hands' sufficiently? The meaning is clear to me, but this is about my father. When I wrote that I can't leave the white roon; I meant it. I still grieve, even after two years.

What did you mean by 'directing' Jacqueline? Do say. I'm ready to re-write this.

Also as a beginner help with when to capitialise and use commas is very useful!

P.S. I would prefer that it's not just an elegie; also a cry of anguish - rage at 'kind cruel hands' mixed with deep respect for the head of a loving family.

fevvers at 11:56 on 12 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Brian

I think that all elegies are a cry of anguish at base, I don't think they can avoid it. The elegies I suggested do this. At the moment, I'm afraid I don't have time to suggest ways to develop this poem but I will be able to over the weekend.


Lawrenco at 23:45 on 16 November 2004  Report this post
I have come a little late to this,I had to read it a few times.There was some really good turn of phrases,after losing my father that sense of hopelessness, emotionly,I could relate to.
This turned to the ship allegory,intwines well.

I wasn`t sure 'I couldn`t leave the white room ",-It took a while before it clicked you were talking about a hospital room.Possibly intentionally criptic? At the same time a very personal piece.Good luck in finishing it.

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