Tuesday, 6 September 2011


“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, The last of life, for which the first was made.” - Robert Browning

We have been replacing a shade tarpaulin in the garden every 8-10 months or so for the last three years. It’s become quite a problem as it fits over an oddly shaped frame and only its manufacturer can supply the custom-made weather-resistant cloth. Unfortunately, the material is poor quality and is designed to last for a blink of an eye. Buy, consume, throw away – such is our society, things are not made to last for a long time, nowadays. It explains the popularity of antiques. Old things were made to last for a lifetime – or several, in fact! Whether they are furniture, vintage cars, machinery, specialist equipment, hand crafted instruments, old things last and one can see in them the pride that went into their making. Old is beautiful, functional, classic, made to withstand the ravages of time – within reason…

Here is my latest contribution to the writing group hosted by Magpie Tales, which this week used the photograph above to stimulate the creative efforts of the talented people that regularly write in response to these visual stimuli.

The Fossils

A fossil in the making
Its paint flaking:
Half-buried truck in mud and landslide –
It’s seen better days.

The rain leaches it,
The sun bleaches it.
Each scratch a memory,
It’s been a long time since it was on the road.

The rust consumes it
And time subsumes it;
The years bite, each day its last –
For so many years, countless last days now…

And yet it stands
Embraced by sands,
Resistant, immune to changing fashion,
Defiant, indifferent to the passage of time.

As corrosion gnaws
With all-devouring jaws,
The old truck stands bravely, still
Weathering storms, droughts, floods, searing sun.

Just like the old van,
A strong old man,
My grandfather stands tall and proud.

His joints eroded
His bones corroded.
His skin peeling, rusty, wearing thin.

Each wrinkle a memory,
His touch rough emery,
Smooths the passage of time.

An old man, an old truck,
The images ’ve stuck,
They’ve seen better days.


  1. @nicholas: a good take on the prompt.. really nice.. :)

  2. I found myself caught up in the shift of form from four line stanzas for the vehicle to the more powerful 3 line stanzas for the old man.

    Poetry speaks in so many ways.

  3. I agree with Jacqui ... the change from four lines to three created a shift in my perspective and energy as I read ... I really like this.

  4. Good work, Nicholas. The contrast old truck/old man very effective.

  5. What a fabulous read - given respect for an old banger. That's real sweet!

  6. "His skin peeling, rusty, wearing thin..." Worth it for that line alone.

    Good take, sir.

  7. I love this poem Nic!!! The way you have combined the old truck image with that of your grampa is great....

  8. Wonderful poem and a poignant metaphor, Nicholas. They don't make them like that anymore...

  9. This is an intense poem, comparison fits perfectly...
    Superb Magpie!

  10. corrosion gnaws
    with all-devouring jaws

    I feel the bite!!

  11. ...I guess there comes a time when we all have seen better days....a wonderful poem Nicholas! :-)

  12. beautiful rhyming and wording,

    love your tale.

  13. What an amazing poem! 10/10!