In plain language

The faded Help for Heroes sticker
in the rear window of his well worn
twenty year old Fiesta speaks volumes,
which is what it’s meant to do.
No way of telling if he’s the hero even
though he’s elderly and walks with a limp
or if the sticker came with the car he uses
a few minutes every day to collect his paper.
He has a handy battery charger which
the woman from the second floor relies on
when her old Skoda refuses to start because
she doesn’t take it out often enough.
The woman from the first floor hardly ever uses
her well preserved Focus except to go to Tesco’s
once a week and she takes the Help for
Heroes man to do his little bits of shopping.
It is first come first served in the car park
but somehow she always gets her place back,
even when it’s time for the M.O.T. and
the nice mechanic returns it, nicely washed.
Sadly, the other day, the Help for Heroes
man didn’t get his usual parking space
after collecting his paper, and another
driver hit the corner of his bumper.
The rear lights cover has been missing
for two weeks and hasn’t been replaced;
the bumper is detached at one end but the
Help for Heroes man still goes for his paper.
Perhaps the car he’s had for so long is
like an extension of his body, bits damaged
or coming loose, but hanging on, like so
many residents, from one day to the next.

© Nemo 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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Thoughtful poem with a story and a philosophy to ponder upon. Can relate to the narrative as I see my parents going about their daily chores, energetic and spriteful in their 80’s and 70’s respectively, unmindful of the joint pains, aches, sugar levels, taking medication and applying pain balms. Liked the analogy between car and a human body. Poignant lines towards the end moistened my eyes. Thankyou for sharing this soul stirring poem Nemo.
Warm Regards, Gomathi.


Telling it like it is. This piece takes a mundane event and highlights the hidden largely untold stories we all carry with us.
An enjoyable and thought provoking read.


I am guessing this is from an observation rather than imagination as it’s so true to life. An unfolding age related documentary almost. I was completely captivated by the stories of the indeviduals.
Sue 🙂


These keen observations are quite revealing. One can read good and bad news between the lines.
It is nice to see that the residents are good neighbours helping each other in the hour of need but an ecological minded person cannot avoid being disturbed by the fact that everyone is the owner of an old car, Fiesta, Skoda, Focus, whose noxious fumes are likely to be deleterious to the environment, even though it seems that their use is fairly limited.
A nicely written commentary on a tight-knit community.


Dear Gerald, I don’t understand why you describe this poem of yours as a ‘not very poetic’. To me it reads as a genuine, realistic portrayal of everyday life which we know is not always a bed of roses. You don’t need me to tell you that poesy is not all about romance and stargazing.
By all means keep posting but don’t feel pressurised by the deadline.
Kind regards, Luigi.

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