Usefulness outlived

A possible tragedy, or unwanted present maybe, abandoned on the pavement this morning—I didn’t take a pic in case it really was a tragedy. Just imagine, brand new, bright red pushchair…


On the pavement before the park, an empty pushchair waits and metaphorically weeps. Almost new, with all its wheels, no broken axle, no torn hood, no unsightly stains, it stands, carelessly askew, gathering spots of sultry, desultory rain amid the debris of the weekend. I wonder as I look away, in sorrow at some imagined drama, is this a monument, Ozymandias in the sand, an abandoned castle of a couple’s dreams now dead, moved on, perhaps, with heavy hearts to build anew. Or did someone simply hate the colour red?


Gutters fill with loss,

pigeons peck the city’s crumbs,

rain spots, dust remains.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

21 thoughts on “Usefulness outlived”

  1. Oh my word – that could be such a sad story – Unless – the older brother or sister was incensed that the new baby had such a lovely push chair and hijacked it and left it. I imagine him now, hiding in the play room, wondering what will happen when they find out.

    1. Diane, you are exactly the right person to write this story. I give it to you, pushchair and all, the pavement in front of the park, the empty parking spaces, blowing rubbish, rain spotting… Go!

  2. Oh my aching heart and I didn’t even see it …. that is the power you have through your words skilfully drawn, Jane. Do not lose sight of this, please. My father’s favourite poem was Ozymandius. He was born and raised to the age of 8 in Egypt. I often wonder how deeply that ran in him. Anyway, enough reflecting on Daddy. Bravo! Chapeau! I am touched and troubled by this.

    1. You’re not the only one not to have had morbid thoughts. I told husband and his reaction was the pushchair was a stolen vehicle abandoned by some joy-riding tot.
      I love Ozymandias as a poem, a concept and an image. And I’ve never been near a desert in my life 🙂

      1. Ozymandias is the same on both counts for me though one day I do intend to go to Egypt and see where Dad lived his early years. I love your husband’s take … having just endured the tram with various rampaging tots I think he maybe onto something 😉

  3. Wow–so much here, and so much wonder. I do hope the story has a happy ending. Perhaps your husband is right. Or the mother whisked the baby off for a bath and nap, then fell asleep herself, carriage forgotten. (I looked up pushchair to make sure that’s what it was.) 🙂
    I’m also a fan of Ozymandias.

    1. I should have said buggy. I think that works in both languages 🙂 I hope there’s no tragedy behind it. I couldn’t help but think of the Hemingway story ‘For sale, baby shoes, never worn.’

  4. Well I’ve never heard the term “push chair,” so I was afraid you were talking about a wheelchair and was opening an elderly person hadn’t been abandoned somewhere!

    I love this part:

    “in sorrow at some imagined drama, is this a monument, Ozymandias in the sand, an abandoned castle of a couple’s dreams now dead”

  5. Around here, the explanation would be some bored kids spotted the buggy/stroller/push chair unattended – maybe on a porch while the child and parcels were carried up stairs or into the house or car – and the little urchins grabbed it and tore down the street with it…until it sagged from their weight – or they decided to sell it on EBay or another social media thieves’ market venue. Some strollers are worth a lot of money and resell easily.
    School’s about to start and they need money for those fancy athletic shoes.

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