Colours And Shades



"From cradle to spade, life's every kind of colour and shade."
The poet, author


Yes, reflective poems.

1.  Colours And Shades

Yes, life’s made up of colours and shades, some bright, some pastel, some dark, and some grey,
And they all part of growth and experience, and hence that sad or cheery day.
Yes, life having its ups and downs, such all par for the course, what we get used to,
We hanging in there midst those colours and shades, ’cause that’s life, and what the brave do.

Yes, life’s not just one boring colour, but an artist’s palette, and so it goes,
We wielding the brush, and sometimes life itself, and exactly why, who really knows?
And midst it all, life to be explored via those little or large strokes — yes, that oil,
But we minding how we go, learning from the masters, lest life’s canvas we spoil.

By Lance Landall

2.  The Stray

One evening I was relaxing and watching the news on TV,
When a particular item appeared that deeply affected me,
'Cause a homeless dog was dodging the traffic on a motorway,
A motorway that was very busy, four to six lanes, I’d say.

This homeless dog was trying to rescue another dog, a mate,
Thus putting itself at grave risk of suffering from the same fate.
And with its mouth, was trying to pull the other dog to safety,
Or at least it thought so, 'cause its mate was now a fatality.

Yes, I was deeply moved by that hairy hero, that dear canine
That was struggling with its mate, and putting its own life on the line.
Yes, an animal, one that could teach us humans a thing or two,
A homeless dog that most citizens would no doubt yell at and shoo.

And yet, one that showed such selflessness, such courage, love, thought and care,
Despite those juggernauts roaring past with barely inches to spare.
Yes, despite that sea of traffic that must have loomed scaringly large,
That great moving mass that down such motorways, one sees daily charge.

Now that's quite something, isn’t it? Yes, just a waif, apparently,
A stray, a drifter, unloved, unkempt, and no doubt far from healthy.
And yet, despite its misfortune (and health wise, much earlier grave),
It generously imperilled itself in order to thus save.

So not only was I deeply moved by this, but it stirred my pen,
'Cause such are often called dumb creatures by rather ignorant men.
However, what I saw that evening via the news on TV,
Told a very different story, and very eloquently.

And hence why I ask,

Would those who call such creatures dumb, risk their life in order to save?
And hey, would we risk our life, or rather differently behave?
Yes, would we show such selflessness, fearlessness, generosity,
Such loving concern, courage, and just as unconditionally?

By Lance Landall

This poem was upgraded on 19 December 2021.

3.  Dreams In The Night

Though I didn’t know where I was, it didn’t really seem to bother me so,
But isn’t that the way with dreams, that during the night silently come and go.
As I recall it, I was looking for happiness, contentment, tranquillity,
And consequently, trying to find those who could direct me accordingly.

I noticed some people coming my way, smiling broadly, clearly friendly,
So I stopped to say, “Hello,” and then asked if they could kindly enlighten me.
I mentioned I was trying to find happiness, contentment, tranquillity,
And they pointed in the direction they’d come, which didn’t seem quite right to me.

However, they seemed to be au fait with such requests, and such territory,
So I listened to their detailed and generous directions (carefully).
They seemed to notice I was looking puzzled, but continued talking anyway,
Reassuring me with their confidence and calm manner that they knew the way.

What they mentioned sounded very familiar, too familiar, actually,
But how could I argue given my ignorance (rather embarrassingly).
So I continued to listen to them taking note of everything they said,
Determined that despite my misgivings, I’d heed their advice and push ahead.

“Keep going ’till you get to Downsville,” they said, “Then turn right at Misery Street,
It goes for quite some distance, and along the way many hurting souls you’ll meet.
You’ll pass Heartbreak Hotel, Anguish Lodge, Grief Hall, Struggle Inn, Depression Alley,
And along the way you’ll see sadness, distress, things that won’t make sense, probably.

When you get to the end of Misery Street, turn left at Troubled Boulevard;
It’s a pretty battered neighbourhood where you’ll see wounds, scars, they doing things hard.
Next turn left at Woe Street, passing Downcast Dumps, Dire Straits, and taking Sorrows Lane,
Where you’ll see folk going through mishaps, trials, set backs, hardships, upsets, loss and pain.”

“Whoa!” I said, feeling sure that they must be wrong. “I think you’re misdirecting me.
May I remind you I’m trying to find happiness, contentment, tranquillity?”
They smiled knowingly, “You will, if sincere, 'cause the very thing you need to see
Is that such are discovered when one’s ministering in such territory.”

By Lance Landall

This poem was upgraded on 19 December 2021.

4.  The Fledgling

Upon arising one morning, I heard a loud commotion of sorts,
The sound of excited birds, and hence our two cats amongst my thoughts.
And right I was, 'cause there they were, and a very shaken fledgling,
Confronted with life’s harsh realities, one sunny day in spring.

I managed to quickly get the offending predators inside,
Lured by a rattled jar of tasty cat snacks (that I wisely hide).
Then, shutting the door behind me, I sought to attend to that bird,
Which managed to flutter off despite the mauling it had incurred.

And there it perched, higher off the ground but still at risk, still too near,
Hence why I kept the back door shut, lest two predators reappear.
Sensing it needed time to rest, I went back inside for a while,
And what I then saw through the window was nature’s endearing style,

'Cause to its aid there flew a mother bird with a worm in her beak,
And again, giving sustenance to the fledgling ruffled and weak.
Well, I couldn’t keep the cats in all day, so I went back outside,
Hoping that with some coaxing, that fledgling would further away glide.

Eventually it did, freed from two well-fed cats pacing the floor,
So, amidst deep thought, I unlocked the cat flap (their own private door).
And out they went, sniffing here, sniffing there, hopefully not to find
A fledgling no doubt still mending, but spared this time, via humankind.

Such reminded me of how we can get mauled by life’s predators,
Be they in the form of calamities, or ills behind closed doors.
Yes, be such via the hand of strangers, or our loved ones (shamefully),
Who leave us shaken like that fledgling, looking for some sanctuary.


Are you a mother bird in human form, lovingly bearing aid,
A Samaritan, member of humanity’s caring brigade?
Are you a rescuer of fledglings, those shaken, bruised and battered,
Or do you pass by, indifferent, as though it never mattered?

By Lance Landall

This poem was upgraded on 19 December 2021.

5.  Tell Me What You See

Excuse me, my little feathered friend, would you mind telling me what you see?
'Cause I can’t fly like you, wish I could do, and you make it look so easy.
So much is hidden from my gaze, which I’m sure would amaze, interest me,
But such I may never see, hence my plea, though even more importantly,

I’d like to know where there’s a child in tears, their head buried in a pillow,
Or a housewife sobbing, fraught with cares and fears; such you’ll see through a window.
Perhaps that child's been abused, or that wife just used, both treated like objects,
Or maybe they’ve been neglected, rejected, bullied, reduced to nervous wrecks.

I’d like to know where someone is housebound, feeling anxious, feeling poorly,
Or frightened, and can’t pay their bills, face winter ills, or need help medically.
Perhaps they’ve been left alone, live on their own, no longer have family,
Or are handicapped somehow, can’t get out (cost no doubt), or are elderly.

I’d like to know where there’s someone who’s depressed, or seriously unwell,
Going through a bad spell, pain they can’t quell, nursing something (injured when they fell).
Someone needing help with chores, those things indoors, or around the property,
Someone who has lost their job, house, spouse; contemplating suicide, maybe.

Yes, tell me what you see, my little feathered friend, I’d really like to know,
'Cause where there’s such need, hearts that bleed, one should go, love and compassion show.
We shouldn’t wait ’till they cry, nor ’till they pass by, but rather, such folk seek,
Thus by our heart being led, not just our head, 'cause it’s actions that truly speak.

Therefore, catch the airwaves, soar and dive, search the city, little feathered friend,
So that someone’s misery, anxiety, I may lessen, even end.
And not just I, but all I cry, who’ll die to self (“me”), act unselfishly,
'Cause those who do, and what’s right pursue, reveal the best in humanity.

Yes, please do my bidding, my little feathered friend, and tell me what you see,
'Cause I seek not my own, desire no heart of stone, won’t act indifferently.
Plus, the greatest joy that hearts will buoy, and that which gives the greatest return,
Is found in what’s willingly given, selflessly driven, which many too late learn.

By Lance Landall

This poem was upgraded on 19 December 2021.

6.  A Diary

If you had a diary where you recorded your daily deeds, what would it reveal,
A diary containing all your thoughts and words, which nothing about you would conceal?
And how would you be left feeling were your diary left behind somewhere publicly,
Your name and address inside, a life you couldn’t hide, there for everyone to see?

And what if it were discovered and its contents released on the six o’clock news,
Or printed in some tabloid with a worldwide readership that your entries would peruse?
What if its contents were circulated in your neighbourhood, your town or city,
Or delivered into the hands of your workmates, friends, close relations, family?

Would such hardly faze you, see you hold your head up high, leave you smiling confidently,
Would you remain cool, calm and collected, be basking in compliments, pleasantry?
Or would you be wanting to hide, quickly flee, consider such a catastrophe,
A reason for feeling depressed, anxious, frantic, scared, and retire embarrassingly?

Isn’t our life a diary, for all to see, though not everything, undoubtedly,
But enough to reveal what is or isn’t nice, sound or unsound, on or off key?
Yes, we may have two hats, one that we wear privately, and one that we wear publicly,
But often life has a way of exposing the truth, so mind what goes in your diary.

By Lance Landall

7.  All Of The Above

I would like to be an engineer, spanning gulfs of bigotry,
Bridging gulfs of hatred, suspicion, prejudice and jealousy.
Yes, I would bridge gulfs between cultures, religions, husbands and wives,
And between parents and children, thus changing hearts and thereby lives.

I’d like to be a doctor, healing tortured minds and broken hearts,
Making sure that depression, fear, hurt, anger or despair departs.
I’d make sure everyone’s needs were met, whatever those needs might be,
Spiritually, emotionally, mentally or physically.

I’d like to be a gardener, sowing seeds of encouragement,
And planting flowerbeds of cheer, which pleasing groves would complement.
A gardener pruning negatives, and just leaving what’s positive,
And a lush spread of gratitude and praise that healthy growth would give.

I’d like to be a builder, restoring damaged relationships,
Dismantling walls of separation, dissolving gripes, grudges and chips.
I’d put up fences of protection around orphans and widows,
And hang doors and windows of opportunity that wouldn’t close.

I’d like to be a surgeon, removing suffering and poverty,
Skillfully transplanting hearts full of love, compassion and mercy.
A surgeon injecting forgiveness that would flow through every vein,
Leaving behind a peacefulness, and distaste for the inhumane.

I’d like to be an architect, designing what’s best for us all,
Things that would enlighten, brighten, aid, improve, delight and enthrall.
I’d come up with clever designs that everything would beautify,
And that the potential and good in everyone would magnify.

I’d like to be an electrician, replacing darkness with light,
Electrifying the air with laughter, making joy and hope burn bright.
Yes, I’d immediately rewire the whole of humanity,
So that we would all be empowered to live harmoniously.

I’d like to be a plumber, so I could drain the world of misery,
Unblocking or enlarging closed and narrow minds that fail to see.
I’d give depth to each mind, width to each heart, and set new heights to reach,
Install showers of wisdom — and baths, that stains of the past would bleach.

I’d like to be a painter, splashing all with creativity,
Colouring each life with exuberance and spontaneity.
I’d brush away cobwebs, sand back worn grooves, leave a freshness behind,
So that new and better ways of doing things, everyone could find.

Yes, all of the above, and more, I would certainly like to be,
If I could somehow do what I’ve mentioned, supernaturally.
After all, I’m speaking imaginatively, figuratively,
Given that’s what one can do when creatively penning poetry.

By Lance Landall

8.  The Vagrant

I slowed as he approached me, aware of his outstretched hand,
Watching as his haunted eyes nervously my face scanned.
Words were unnecessary, 'cause so plainly I could see
A poor dispirited being silently pleading with me.

Deeply saddened and disturbed by this visible tragedy,
I reached into my pocket in response to his silent plea.
His torn and dirty clothing held my deeply concerned gaze,
And I wondered to myself, “Just how many nights and days?”

It was not for me to ask, it was not for me to know,
Where any money given might rightly or wrongly go.
And what right had I to judge this poor man who roamed the town,
Who might well seek alcohol, hoping misery to drown.

How could I not take the time to help some dear mother’s son,
That most, out of ignorance, contemptuously would shun.
This poor wretch who slept on streets might well have been you or I,
Hence why now his silent plea I wasn’t about to deny.

How could I deny this man some momentary relief,
This vagrant who seemed shipwrecked on some emotional reef.
Another human casualty whose hopes and dreams lay scattered,
Tenaciously clinging to rocks and indifferently battered.

Smiling, I took hold of his arm, and placed money in his palm,
Gladly, unhesitatingly, and without one single qualm.
Not used to such response, a tear wet the ground below,
'Cause seldom did humanity, this vagrant such kindness show.

As he turned to walk away, I just couldn’t help but say,
“I come this way each week, friend, round 9 a.m. each Tuesday.”
I knew that he had heard me, but he dared not turn around,
Lest it be, his new-found friend notice more tears wet the ground.

By Lance Landall

9.  Figuratively Speaking

If I had a magic wand, I would wave it vigorously,
I would quickly banish sadness, suffering and misery.
I would fill the world with laughter, put a smile on every face,
And thus evil or darkness from any heart and mind would chase.

I would cloak the whole world with love, dry up every single tear,
Sprinkle happiness and joy, continuously, everywhere.
I would make sure that each person got a cuddle every day,
And I wouldn’t let the weather please itself, have its own way.

Giggles would be commonplace, as I would use my wand for fun,
So that every day on Earth there would be rays of happy sun.
I would wave away the old blues, get rid of grizzles and growls,
And would banish with my wand, high pitched shrieks and disturbing howls.

Yes, if I had a magic wand, I would get carried away,
I’d coat each day with brightness, and a creativeness display.
I'd send people nice surprises, see that every need was met,
And I'd remove every worry, each regret and every threat.

I would fill each home with flowers, hang nice pictures on each wall,
I would help out all the shorties by making them six foot tall.
I would banish age forever so that everyone stayed young,
And I’d make us all attractive, see that critics bit their tongue.

I would take the fear from creatures, have everyone treat them well,
I would banish war and violence, and any other ill.
I would make the air smell lovely, turn the wind into a breeze,
And every summer season, remove those things that make one sneeze.

Yes, if I had a magic wand, I would be a busy bee,
Using it just for others…okay, a tincey bit for me.
Yes, I would make big improvements in this world in which we live,
Improving the lives of others — which me, such pleasure would give.

By Lance Landall

10.  On Reflection

Our life is somewhat like a diary, a diary that is filling up fast,
Yes, filling with experiences written with a pen that cannot last.
Sentences and paragraphs document our incredible life journey,
Which we’ll look back on as the pages fill, aware of less agility.

Our life is a story, an unintentional autobiography,
Not a work of fiction, nor some fantasy, but rather, reality.
A record of our actions, both good and bad, a record sometimes airbrushed,
A story, a journey, a great adventure, too often thoughtlessly rushed.

Yes, a panoramic compilation tracing our life’s activities,
Chapters into which things said and done, or encountered, we over time squeeze.
A very revealing insight into who we are, our thoughts and feelings,
Our choices, our responses, our everyday dealings, our hurts and healings.

Millions of picturesque words conveying frustration, worry and concern,
Perhaps turbulence, difficulty, a rebelliousness, an about turn.
Or maybe joy, an unbounded happiness, moments of ecstatic bliss,
Which, over those chats around the table, or photographs, we’ll reminisce.

Yes, a kaleidoscope of happenings, challenges, risks and surprises,
That one in their later years, and in hindsight, reflects upon, analyses,
Or as life’s frail curtain gradually descends, regrets or celebrates,
And the inevitable dust to dust, peacefully or anxiously awaits.

Our lives are a story that we each get to write, to tell, well or poorly,
A story others will read over time — and hopefully, enjoyably.
Because those passages in our diary are windows through which others see,
Windows reflecting images, and sometimes very influentially.

Yes, every day each entry is seen by others perusing our diary,
And there are also those who stumble across passages accidentally.
But either way, what our diary conveys, will either attract or repel,
Because the way in which we live our life, much will verify or dispel.

By Lance Landall

11.  Nature's Jewellery

Flowers may well win prizes, but sitting in a home they're best,
'Cause there they prove a blessing, and thus there, should more often rest.
Although they’re Nature’s jewellery, adorning this world we’re in,
They also sooth and calm when inside, much like good medicine.

They’re so colourful and cheery, and attractive to the eye,
Thus Earth would be more dreary if flowers didn’t beautify.
And though some take them for granted, and hardly notice that they’re there,
They would very soon awaken should all flowers disappear.

Oh yes, I’d rather have flowers than material treasure,
Given that Nature’s sweet bounties give one far greater pleasure.
So give me gardens I can view, as through life I make my way,
'Cause every diamond or pearl, nature’s jewellery will outweigh.

Yes, no lacquered-cum-painted face, nor some jewel bedecked body
Can out-do Nature’s striking yet humble natural beauty.
Be such those flowers I’ve mentioned, some breathtaking scenery,
That star studded sky or sunset-cum-far greater finery.

By Lance Landall

12.  Quiet! Artist At Work

If this world were a picture, just an uncoloured pencil sketch,
I would remove it from its frame, and pencil and rubber fetch.
I would erase all the bad things, and every mistake as well,
And duly make corrections, sketching happiness and not ill.

I would then fetch paint and brushes, and all sorts of colours try,
I would brighten up the faces of everyone passing by.
I would dab pink on every cheek, splash twinkles in every eye,
And the lives of every person continue to beautify.

I would rub out all the clouds, any smog too, and any pain,
I’d colour all the sea-shells so that they didn’t look so plain.
I would put a large yellow sun in the middle of the sky,
And I would paint the sky all blue, a blue that would catch the eye.

I would rub out all the weeds, and then sketch in shrubs and flowers,
Which I would brightly colour, filling in many pleasant hours.
And then with my dazzling paint brush, deftly held within my grip,
I would fill every empty life with loving companionship.

I would erase each orphanage, sketch each child into a home,
And I’d also sketch in dwellings for those homeless folk that roam.
I would rub out every tear-drop, and only beaming smiles draw,
And sketch in lots of money, enough for all those who are poor.

And any tree that dropped its leaves, I would erase from the scene,
Sketching in another one, which I would colour evergreen.
And those scary creepy crawlies I would soon erase as well,
Sketching in lots of others that people's phobias would quell.

Yes, I would take a big rubber, a pencil and brushes too,
And changes for the better would then creatively pursue.
Thus you’d see a brighter picture, and this world coloured with love,
And right in the right hand corner, I would sign off with a dove.

By Lance Landall

13.  Bethany, Bethany

Bethany, Bethany, what will you be, what will you do? — if you’ll excuse me,
Because I can’t help wondering seeing you there looking so cute and comfy.
I guess I’ll have to wait and see, you only but a tiny, bonnie baby,
And as for being a princess, or queen living in a castle — well, maybe.

Oh, what granddads imagine, ’cause they’ve a tendency to get carried away,
And you’re still in your bassinet, thus such imaginings quite some time away.
Yes, you’ve only just arrived, and explore you will, so how dare I hurry you,
And look at you, granddad teary-eyed, fussings and sweet things bound to overdo.

By Lance Landall

14.  The Path

It’s as if he’d read my mind as I stood there deep in thought,
'Cause he firmly shook his head as I turned and our eyes caught.
Then gesturing to the path that had held my steady gaze,
He said with deep conviction, “I wouldn’t, son, it never pays.”

His words I should have heeded, but this path still drew my eyes,
And as I stood there gazing, I soon felt my interest rise.
Reluctantly he moved on, but his troubled look I saw,
'Cause clearly he’d seen others take this same old path before.

At first it seemed exciting, 'cause each step brought new delights,
And in time I’d wandered far, mesmerized by sounds and sights.
But trouble soon engulfed me, and I heard ringing in my ear,
“I wouldn’t, son, it never pays,” and I soon began to fear.

However, I still wandered down that path despite my fears,
Till the words that man had said ceased to echo in my ears.
I’d figured that my troubles might abate as time went by,
Though an uneasy feeling in my stomach seemed to lie.

That unease began to grow when more trouble came my way,
But others on that path told me that I would be okay.
They were ready with advice, tried to comfort and distract,
And I found myself admitting there was still much to attract.

But just as night follows day, pain and sorrow came my way,
And the merits of proceeding I solemnly began to weigh.
As I paused to count the cost of my foolish headstrong way,
I now saw very clearly why this worn path did not pay.

Ignoring that man’s wisdom was something I now mourned,
'Cause he, wise with experience, had lovingly this fool warned.
If only I had welcomed the sound wisdom that man had,
I wouldn’t be saying now, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, Dad.”

By Lance Landall

15.  Oh, Sasha, Sasha

Oh, Sasha, Sasha, how your laugh amuses us all, how it has us laughing too,
And where you got it from is quite a mystery, it seemingly triggered on cue.
Oh yes, it’s unique alright, and with what to compare it, we really just don’t know,
And once triggered, at considerable risk, it’s hardly in a hurry to go.

And all why ear plugs can oft come in handy, and not to mention social distancing,
Unless one’s happy to take that battering, though I could be exaggerating.
But nevertheless, it does pay to be prepared, ’cause once someone sets Sasha off,
A picture’s created that rivals the imagination of Vincent van Gogh.

By Lance Landall

San-Yai and Simba 

A photo of a picture that hangs above our mantelpiece.