Poem: Welcome To the Yellow House

And he coaxed:

“Chirpy bird,

chirpy bird,

rest beside me,

chirpy bird.

The music of your spangled song,

thaws the freeze of love gone wrong.


Chirpy Bird.

chirpy bird.

Look what I’ve got,

chirpy bird.

Golden seeds

plucked from my heart.

Feast on these,

fresh shoots will start.”


But reason warned:

“Chirpy bird,

Chirpy bird.

Watch fast footsteps, Chirpy bird.

Your beak does peak

to chasms deep

as he bathes in your sweet




But though he sometimes calls you “dear”,

note he’ll never let you near.”


Oh, Chirped bird!

Chirped bird!

Beak jammed in crack,

wings tied to torture wrack.

With a blind man’s bash,

your fragile bones he had to smash.

His yellow house was painted grand.

Do you think you’ll ever understand?

I only ever hear you cry:

“Lord, tell me why?

Just tell me why.”


Baited bird.

Beaten bird.

Chirped out bird

flopped in my hand.

Your crumpled feathers,

could I carress,

but you’d die

inside a comfort nest.


So, I offer you back

to the outstretched sky.

Spread your wings!

It’s time to fly.

Fresh shoots can spring

from golden seeds.

They’re ripe for thee,

my chirpy bird.

Eat & Fly free.

Rowena Curtin  14th August, 1992.


Chirpy Bird.

Again, this poem revisits my trip to Europe in 1992 and the horrors of heartbreak. It’s title comes from Van Gogh’s house in Arles, which appeared in the painting The Yellow House. I chose Van Gogh’s house for the title as I was rapidly descending into the sort of anguished madness one associates with Van Gogh.

I hadn’t seen the painting when I named thew poem and the actual painting is much more conventional and “tame” than I’d expected, especially when you think of Van Gogh’s emotional and mental expressionism in Starry Night, which oozes with raw, unbridled emotion.

My “friend” used to say I was like a chirpy bird and quite other worldly I guess.

Unfortunately, as When Harry Met Sally points out, friendship between single men and women is often fraught.

By the way, I actually visited Van Gogh’s home in Cuesmes in Greater Mons, Belgium with my “friend”, which also makes the link to Van Gogh more pertinent.

xx Rowena



4 thoughts on “Poem: Welcome To the Yellow House

  1. Tony Single

    I feel the despair in this, Rowena, which is a marked contrast to the… well, almost ‘flighty’ seeming use of language. It catches you between that state of heady infatuation and the crushing reality of heartbreak. Very nicely handled, and it feels so true to the experience of losing one’s love. 🙂

  2. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Tony.
    I can tell you there wasn’t much life in the bird at the end of that heartbreak. Came very close to flying back to Sydney but went to stay with friends in Heidelberg and ended up getting a job and staying there for almost 6 months. I am very grateful to the people who nurtured me back into some kind of equilibrium. You never forget that!

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