Poem a Day 2013 #23: War Veterans Home

Poem number 23.

I live near a War Veterans Home. I’ve noticed they seem to be marketing themselves lately. I wondered why, and came up with this imaginary scenario.

War Veterans Home

A gaudy flag flies at the entrance

of the Hurtle Bank War Veterans Home.

Not a national or regimental flag

This one was not hoisted by a wounded soldier.

This one will not be saluted by beribboned, medalled men.


It proclaims “Retirement Village”.

A sail-like banner, the kind you see

as you pass an outer-suburban development

designed to attract the attention

of young couples and astute investors.


It beats in the breeze, flashing its oranges, blues and yellows

over the red, white and black five km per hour speed limit sign.

The marketing manager chose it without much thought.

His job is to make the War Veterans Home financially sustainable.

Occupancy has fallen drastically. Old soldiers drop almost daily.

Newly wounded soldiers are too young for a place like this.


The home needs to broaden its appeal,

find another demographic.

Its market niche is too constraining.

The marketing manager has taken aim

at the residential wings.

Coral Sea can stay, it conjures up tropical islands.

But Tobruk, Gallipoli, Long Tan, Kapyong, Bangka?

They all have to be renamed, realigned, repositioned

if the Hurtle Bank War Veterans Home is to compete

in today’s increasingly competitive economic environment.


In a few decades, they can change the names

to Oruzgan, Charmestan, Kandahar, Mirabad, Baluchi

But until inflows catch up with outflows

he’ll go with Sunset, Windsong and Gracedale,

Orange Grove and Grevillea.

Much more attractive.

Much less depressing.

Much more marketable.

Much more rewarding.



Copyright Mike Hopkins 2013


4 thoughts on “Poem a Day 2013 #23: War Veterans Home

    • Thanks Tyler. Glad you enjoyed it. Given more time, I’d like to build in a few more military type references. This was written within a few hours of walking past the home.

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