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Nicholas Henshall


Neutral, elegant and calming,
Understated and timeless,
Somewhere between a sandy tan and a golden white.
Creamy and comforting, serene and simple,
Stirring memories of my Gran’s rice pudding
And Wall’s vanilla ice cream.

It is the colour of my bedspread, so soft to touch
And my bedroom walls, which I love so much.
It is the decorator’s choice above all,
Not lifeless at all.
Yes! Mild and silky beige!
Glorious beige, wonderful beige!

And yes, I can hear you moan:
“No, not Beige Man!”
So dependable, reliable, adaptable
Yearning for a quiet life sans adventures
Never clashing, always smoothing and soothing
With his off-white ambrosia, his pale persona.
“Boring,” you say. “Bland.”
So conventional this shade of unstained wool.

But I say: “No! Come and reassure me, comfort me, gorgeous beige.
May I bathe in your Milky Way mildness.”

Scientists say it is the Average Colour of the Universe,
Of 200,000 galaxies reaching out over billions of light years.
But “don’t call it beige,” they insisted.
So some suggested ‘Univeige’ instead,
Others wanted ‘Skyvory’. Why not?
But they chose for their Not Quite White the name:
‘Cosmic Latte’.

Which, yes, of course, is beige to you and me
The colour of the Universe
And my Infinity.

© 2020 by Nicholas Henshall.
Used here with permission.


Nicholas Henshall was born in Manchester and grew up in northern England. He now lives in Paris, where he works as a journalist. Nicholas loves long conversations, new destinations, and poetry. His favorite literary lines are the soliloquy, “What light is light if Silvia be not seen?” from Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona.



Post New Comment:
It?s fun to write about color and this poem honors beige in a new way. Light-hearted and fun you have elevated beige in my eyes. Terrific poem.
Posted 08/04/2020 11:15 PM
Lori Levy:
Sheds a new light on beige!
Posted 07/31/2020 01:09 AM
I appreciate this poem! it made me think about beige a different way.
Posted 07/30/2020 07:18 PM
Ironic for me... I'm in the process of repainting the interior of our house from the reds, golds, and greens of my younger days into the soft, silky beige you so beautifully described. Love it!!
Posted 07/30/2020 01:57 PM
"Cosmic Latte" is a much more interesting name! What a fun poem!
Posted 07/30/2020 01:36 PM
Wilda Morris:
A fun poem! Hurrah for beige!
Posted 07/30/2020 11:54 AM
Fun, witty and gives beige a whole new status in the world of color! Bravo. Randy
Posted 07/30/2020 09:13 AM
We all need the comfort, the soothe of beige these days. Love "Skyvory!" Well done, Nicholas. M. Zelke Windau
Posted 07/30/2020 08:59 AM
"No, not Beige Man!" a funny turn in a masterful poem. Thank you for this poetry pleasure.
Posted 07/30/2020 08:55 AM
Larry Schug:
This poem is not beige it is BEIGE!
Posted 07/30/2020 08:25 AM
michael escoubas:
Cleverly done, Nicholas! Unique treatment that makes the "beige" THE color of the hour.
Posted 07/30/2020 08:23 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
Thank you Nicholas for this merry melodical delicious delight. Funny and fanciful. Hooray for taking beige from blah to beautiful.
Posted 07/30/2020 07:44 AM

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