Poems by Stephen House

“three billion” 
             By Stephen House

three billion creatures killed
by bushfire devastation
leaves me gasping in sadness
for wildlife burnt alive
and while i also grieve loss
of human life and construction
amount of animals not escaping
incineration screams horror

and although i was outside zone
not victim to furnace
silent suffering as i ponder
still plagues me each day
nightmares of heat blazing
howls of terror from scorched fauna
brings on distress and anxiety
one year on no relief

and as i attempt accepting
extermination of three billion
i must endure deniers spouting
climate change is not real
politicians refusing
to place planet before money
confirms we humans who care
must continue to rally

stand up vote accordingly
against nature disappearing
weather changes now rapid
greed is always placed first
halt uncaring destruction
stop ignoring extinction
unsure how we retaliate
join together may help

throw scientific proof in the faces
of those who won’t listen
they refuse to hear figures
dismiss proven data
shout in one season of bushfires
so much wiped out forever
and will continue to vanish
if world leaders won’t hear

             By Stephen House

for thirty years wattlebirds have lived
in four sprawling grevilleas
i planted
when i bought my small house
in a big city

my contribution to native birds
i realized over time
through their come and go presence

they swoop and dive
perch and flutter
feed on nectar of flame red flowers
that blossom when they do

he crows complex call at dawn
patient wait
changes rhythm
until she coos soft response

as i lay awake in my dim room
window open wide
absorbed in outside courtship games
and song

they mate and nest
share offspring joy with me
sense i am their friend
they must know i keep prowling danger away
watch me
as i spray hunting cats with water
to say our garden is not for kill

i feel my home has seen many generations
of the same flying family
they show territorial ways
allow some in to share the trees
build on familiar limbs
sing and mimic repeated songs

but how can i know
they are birds and i am man
separated by our species
but together
in our pocket of shared urban nature
on our still surviving planet
as decades soar fast by

a union
of four growing grevilleas
wattlebirds who need them
and me

“her seagulls”
             By Stephen House

if i’m heading to my room late
or grabbing food or a beer
i always say hello to a tall woman
who stands by the corner on and off
from midnight until dawn most nights
outside of a burger shop
and she always says hi back to me
or we just smile and wave

she usually wears the same maroon dress
short with a plunging gold neckline
and red boots with stiletto toes and heels
with her thick long blonde hair dropped
over one shoulder in front
and there are always seagulls around her

last night i bought a vegan burger
on my way home from a bar
and sat inside the shop
though not purposely but in view of her spot
and she didn’t mind me there and gave me a nod
as she chatted to passing men
and then leaned in the window of a black car
to talk to the driver before he pulled away

a guy in the shop near me
finished his burger and left
and she came inside immediately as he did
and checked his scraps and what was left
took outside to the squawking flapping seagulls
that had followed her to the door
and fed them chips and bun remains

and then came back inside again and took scraps
from another spot where a woman had been eating
and i commented on her feeding seagull activity
and she said in her deep voice “i do it between customers
because i love the seagulls and they love me”

she then went back outside as a silver car stopped
and fed her seagulls
got in the car and it drove away
while the seagulls and i watched her disappear
all of us knowing our friend would soon be back
standing on her corner

- Stephen House has won many awards and nominations as a poet, playwright and actor. He’s received several international literature residencies from the Australia Council for the Arts and an Asia-link India residency. His chapbook “real and unreal” was published by ICOE Press. He’s published often and performs his acclaimed monologues widely.

Copyright©2021 by Stephen House. All Rights Reserved.