Happy Anniversary!

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
– John Lennon et al.

We had made it! We’d reached twenty-five years of marriage! My wife, co-conspirator, leading lady, best friend, confidante, advisor, instructor, superior officer, lover, patient and long-suffering companion, and bride and I were still together despite everything life had thrown at us! And that we’d thrown at each other!

In this day and age, that’s quite an achievement.

To celebrate this momentous event, I had organised a few days, away without the kids, in Adelaide – a place Monica, my wife, had never visited. We managed to escape from home without any major disasters. The flight to Adelaide was pleasant and uneventful. We were picked up promptly at the airport by the limousine I had arranged and taken to our hotel where we were upgraded to a luxury room for no additional cost.

Things were proceeding better than I had hoped.

The gift I had ordered online arrived intact and was as lovely as advertised – and arrived on time! She was suitably surprised.

We spent a lovely afternoon exploring Glenelg, by the beach.

On our return to the hotel, we were both a little weary so we decided to have a light meal from room service. We had booked a car for the next day to go wandering through the Adelaide hills. What could possibly go wrong after such a wonderful start?

Food poisoning, that’s what. Monica spent the night back and forth to the bathroom and the next day, our twenty-fifth anniversary, clutching a bowl, a towel and hovering near the bathroom. I spent the day tending to my poor bride’s needs. There was little I could do really.

It struck me that this is exactly what marriage is like. Beyond the glitz and dreamy-eyed romance of the early days together and the hype of the wedding day, marriage is just life, but in larger font. You make your plans, dream about what you will do together and then reality steps in.

It’s how you deal with derailments, disappointments, pleasant surprises and other unexpected eventualities that will determine the success or otherwise of a marriage. Or, indeed, a life.

Stephen Tomkins
27 April 2017
Sydney

I Love the Heat

The Sun, it seemed, had moved in right next door –

Never had such heat been felt.

Covered in sweat from my head to my toe,

I was sure I was ready to melt.

The aircon was going full tilt on the wall,

Its innards were glowing bright red,

The fan was ready to lift off the roof

As I slumped in a pool on the bed.

The air was thicker than treacle, it seemed,

And I hung ‘tween the next world and this.

I must have dozed off ‘cos the next thing I knew,

I was floating ‘midst icebergs in bliss.

A seal bubbled by with a gleam in his eye,

Said “It’s quite warm today, don’t you think?”

I nodded assent to this maritime gent

And then he was gone with a wink.

It started to rain on my feverish brain –

In the shower, I then found myself.

The water was cold and I felt very old

As I reached for the towel on the shelf.

I looked out at the sky while I rubbed myself dry,

And prayed for a breeze or some rain.

The aching blue sky looked me right in the eye,

Said, “You’ll soon need to shower again.”

It was then that I knew, despite all I could do,

That my new next-door neighbour would win.

So, as I got dressed, while he set in the west,

I showered in sweat with a grin.

Stephen Tomkins
18/2/17
Bangkok

 Sydney had a very hot and humid summer this year!

How Did I Wind Up Here?

In days gone by, we’d wind our clocks

And they’d respond with ticks and tocks.

Nowadays, there is no need:

The sun or battery does the deed.

I wondered what the reason was

And figured it may be because,

Instead, we wind ourselves up tight,

And text and email through the night.

Instagram and Snapchat too,

Facebook – what’s life without you?

We live in fear of missing out,

Post our meals and goings out.

Perhaps with less time spent on screens,

Our lives could very well then seem

A lot more real, fulfilling too.

You see, that’s why I’m here with you.

 

Stephen Tomkins
12 August 2016
Sydney

Hamburger Hill

Hamburger Hill is my target tonight

And the thought of my mission just fills me with fright.

At the top of the ridge, I will rendezvous there

With my contact whose blue eyes and long, brunette hair

Disarm in an instant with effortless ease,

A hint of her perfume floats soft on the breeze.

Despite the attraction, we’ve work here to do:

It’s time that huge ammo dump finally blew.

We slip down the hill and dissolve in the dark.

It may seem like fun but this isn’t a lark.

Explosive and fuse are the tools of my trade –

You don’t last for long if you don’t make the grade.

Many the friend who’s been captured or killed;

You’re better off dead if they start with their drills.

A pat on the back and a day or two’s leave

Is the best I can hope for, there’s no time to grieve.

The cost of this victory, if one day it comes,

Can never be counted – see what I’ve become!

Stephen Tomkins

3 August 2016

Melbourne

So, How Are You?

 

She sat alone on a seat at the bar,

Her legs crossed and rhythmically swinging.

She glanced one more time her watch and then jumped,

As the phone in her hand started ringing.

 

The radiant smile on her face lit the room,

A snapshot of ecstasy captured.

But nothing remains the same for too long,

Especially a moment enraptured.

 

Her face then fell with an audible crack,

The phone became quite unstable.

The tears welled up and spilled down her crushed face

And formed a small pool on the table.

 

How quickly a world can change for someone,

Without warning or solace or season.

The fool who now seems a bit short on the phone

May just have a very good reason.

 

Stephen Tomkins
21 June 2016
Sydney

photo credit: 2.bp.blogspot.com

Hail the King!

He knows what is what

And he knows who is who

And, if you’re not careful,

He’ll do who to you!

‘Cos by putting you down

He can build himself up

So he’ll offer a refill

From his poisoned cup.

 

He walks down the hallway

All strutty and cool.

It’s clear to all passing

He’s nobody’s fool.

Opinions don’t matter

When he is around –

Each word that he utters

Is clearly profound.

 

But past castle parapet

And his thick walls,

Behind the array

Of his huge cannon balls,

Enter the Throne room

And you’ll find the King –

He’s just a lost boy

And not wearing a thing!

 

Stephen Tomkins
5 October 2016
Perth

Deeper

Two eyes, a nose, a mouth and chin
Set in endless shades of skin.
So different and yet still the same,
Each mix a chance genetic game.

And though I look a bit like you,
We may not share a common view
But still we both laugh, smile and cry,
Feel tired and hurt, with teary eye.

Yet so important are our looks,
The subject fills a million books.
The shape of my nose, the shade of my skin –
Really? Must judgement here begin?

Stephen Tomkins
5 July 2016
Sydney