Turtle Wax

Post image for Turtle Wax

They appear like ladybirds in November,
Popping unexpectedly out of another century
To roll along roads for which they were never intended –
The Sunbeam Rapiers and Hillman Imps,
The Austin Healeys and Morris Minors,
Their number plates obscure as runes,
Their bodywork glowing with colours
Which no longer have a name,
Their lines like the reconstruction of the idea of a car
By someone who has never seen a car before.
Along the roads of air bags and sat navs they motor,
The crowded lanes of overdrive and cruise control,
Proudly independent with their proudly polished chrome,
Doing their own speed because they can do no other,
Carefully equipped with tartan rugs and toilet rolls,
With Ever Ready torches and Kendall mint cake,
Prepared for everything that life might throw at them,
Knowing full well that there is only one life,
And that the best way to come through it
Is with infinite amounts of Turtle Wax
And infinite amounts of love.


By Jonathan Steffen.

Turtle Wax is published in Poetry Salzburg issue 21, Spring 2012

Photograph by Millicent Garenger, acting and voice professional on Instagram as @millicentg

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Sally Clarke May 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Hello Jonathan,

I love this…a truly feel-good poem.

“Doing their own speed because they can do no other”. Great stuff!

Best wishes

Sally Clarke

P.S. I passed my driving test in a Morris Minor. I swear the instructor loved it more than my driving!.

Elizabeth Harris June 17, 2012 at 11:48 am

Hi Jonathan,

I was at the Acumen reading in Bath yesterday and just wanted to tell you that when I heard you read Turtle Wax I thought someone had a last written a poem which my dad would like! He is not at all into literature or poems but loves classic cars, so when I got home i found it here and showed it to him and he did really love it. If a poem can get through to someone who considers poetry something too difficult or too separate to their lives to be interested in, then i think it has achieved a lot.
Good luck with everything in the future,