Poetry by Stephen House

“crab-catchers and fish-killers”
             By Stephen House

i avoid them on the jetty when i’m walking the shore
at times anticipate their gruesome activity
crab-catchers and fish-killers lurking to murder
dragging sea-life from living sea

i know i’m a vego and animal rights old hippie
i’ve been told that by fish-killers before
but i can’t help their plunder bringing me down
how can it not as a lover of nature

the trickery involved with the crab capture is ruthless
a crab crawls on to a net with fish carcass
nibbles a bit and then is hauled up in a rush
into brutal light and freedom no more

thrown into a vessel and taken to slaughter
dropped in boiling water still moving alive
and the crab-catchers say convinced by their words
“the crabs don’t know a thing feel no pain”

fish killing involves another callous manoeuvre
the fish bites bait then hook caught in mouth
in terror pulled up while suffocating in air
slowly smothers to death in a bucket

and if the fish is too small or of non-edible type
the hook gets ripped hard out of soft mouth
and the fish is pitched back to die in the sea
or left on jetty to roast in hot sun

i try to be reflective over these acts of mean terror
understand folks can make their own choices
fish-killers spout that people have always fished
and have hunted since time first began

but crabs and fish are living a life just like us
their existence is as important as ours
we’ve evolved as a species and learnt what is cruel
and we have other options for eating

so if the agony suffered by catching and fishing
has no impact upon those that must do it
maybe crab-catchers and fish-killers can think of our planet
and the fished-out seas that are now quickly dying

- 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.