Still Vermin

Vermin seagulls


Still Vermin

I am just like you

But hungry

My stomach longs

For days of food

A taste that through

My numbing mind

I sometimes still remember

I am just like you

But dirty

My oily, spotted flesh

Smells rank and damp

From days afloat

With no warm breeze to sing to me

Just the icy spray from salted sea

I am just like you

But cold

My garments, insufficient

On the day I left, with hope,

Now cling like a thing

To which you would attach

The label of derision

I am just like you

But childless

From my frozen hands

The locks of young blonde hair

Were torn by those whose

Eyes could look no more

On frothing foam

I am just like you

But simpler

You do not know

What it is like

To live within a hungry hole

And shelter from the light

That gives the hunter sight

I am just like you

But weaponless

We fled from guns

From guns that in the mind

Protect and guard your kind

And bombs that split and thus divide

Their rending of the limbs by which we hide

And in the end

I am not enough like you.

And till my dirty words can touch your heart

As though my pain were yours

You can never be just like me

And, homeless, cold, and out there

I will forever be

Still vermin


©Copyright Stephen Tanham 2016


14 Comments Add yours

  1. jenanita01 says:

    Your words are like silky razors, cutting away the rubbish, leaving the truth exposed. A terrible word ‘vermin’. Nothing deserves that kind of label, we are all God’s creatures after all…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. stevetanham says:

    Thank you Jaye. I cried writing it…


  3. You’ve certainly touched my heart, Steve. What a stunning piece of work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. stevetanham says:

      Thank you, Darren.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on THE PEN AND THE PAGE and commented:
    A stunning, provocative & thought-provoking piece by Steve Tanham…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sevoiland says:

    Darren, Thank you so much for the reblog of this most sad and provoking piece. I really makes me think.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have a “candidate” named Vermin Supreme. Otherwise, that’s a terrible way to talk about seagulls. We call them “hoovers” because they vacuum up anything left along the shore and are not above stealing the dinner off your grill 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. stevetanham says:

      Thank you Marilyn. It’s not entirely about seagulls, of course …


  7. sevoiland says:

    This is a by-comment, but here goes. My son was in the Army, but stationed on a boat (not a ship, Mom). During training at an east coast base, he learned that the Army painted seagulls on thte docks. A seagull will not soil another seagull – it kept the docks quite clean too. Honestly, the little gems one picks up along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Eliza Waters says:

    Beautifully penned, Steve. Every wild thing deserves its place under the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. stevetanham says:

      Thank you, Eliza. It can be read on two levels, of course; and was written to reflect the plight of the refugees fleeing Syria, too.

      Liked by 2 people

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