Frequent Flyer


My suitcase and I appear joined at the hip;
He loyally follows me on every trip.
When I turn around, I find he’s always there;
A most faithful companion since I pay his fare.
He carefully stows and transports all my things
On four little wheels as if carried by wings.

He never complains about being too tired
And by his consistency, I’ve been inspired.
I started recounting the deeds of the day
Even though, clearly, he’d little to say.
But when I began to invite him to lunch
My sweet darling wife promptly gave me a punch!

All had been fine until this latest trip;
I started to feel I was losing my grip.
I was telling him red was much better than black,
It was then that I realised that I’d finally cracked!
He answered me back in a deep muffled voice
And fondly advised that I’d made a good choice!

My life was unravelling quickly from there –
At home, he would sit in my wife’s favourite chair.
Despite her entreaties, I thought her unfair –
My luggage obsession soon brought her despair.
I’m writing this now from my warm padded cell;
The doctors assure me that all will be well!

Stephen Tomkins
27 August 2014

I Just Wanted a Drink!


Yet another busy morning
And the sun had finished dawning
When I started craving iced mocha frappe.
So I hurried down the street,
Looking forward to a treat
As I headed to a trendy local cafe.

So I went right on inside
And then managed to collide
With a waitress and a tray of hot coffee.
The coffee hit the ground,
In the cafe not a sound,
But the floor was now brown and kind of frothy.

“I’m so sorry!” is what I said,
With a face gone very red,
Adding, “Now please let me buy another round.”
The waitress rolled her eyes,
With accompanying sighs,
And her next few words were really quite profound:

“A Keira Knightley for the man,
Whoopi Goldberg and a flan
For the lady over there by the window.
Michael Jordan, Al Pacino
For the guys both wearing chinos,
And another for the guy who brought his pillow!”

I was stunned and in a daze,
Wilting underneath her gaze,
So whipped out my credit card to make the payment.
I quickly then sat down,
She approached me with a frown;
Of her time, you see, I’m now another claimant.

“Please upon me now take pity:
I’ve not understood the ditty
That you used just now to place the coffee order.”
She rolled her eyes again,
And with paper and a pen,
Tried to pacify my mind from its disorder.

“Skinny, flat white’s Keira Knightley,
And now hold on very tightly,
‘Cos a Michael Jordan’s clearly a long black.
Cappuccino is guess who?
Black, none’s easy, even you!
Whoopi Goldberg has the quick wit that you lack!”

To my senses, I came later,
And somehow managed to date her;
On her pretty face I sometimes see such pain.
‘Cos I guess by now you know
That my brain’s a little slow:
All her jokes she has to take time to explain!

Stephen Tomkins
3 January 2015

24 Hours


A day is but a blazing second
By which a life is truly reckoned
As good or bad or in-between.
Its like will not again be seen.

A day is but a passing dream
Projected on my retinal screen;
Arriving there, it’s upside down,
My brain then has to turn it round.

A day is but a thought in time,
Propelled by sun’s diurnal mime.
Upside down and round and round,
In timeless music, days resound.

A day is but equivocation,
A scene of human desolation.
Blinding fast it flashes by,
If we’ve time, we’ll question why.

A day is but a blazing second
By which a life is truly beckoned
Towards that great eternity
When free, at last, we’ll finally be.

Stephen Tomkins
28 July 2014

Mighty Otis!


Mighty Otis! God of Lifts!
By your power, we skywards shift.
To office workers, you’re a gift!
Daily we give thanks!

Inside your halls, we press your numbers,
Lighting up, we still can slumber.
Without you, up the stairs we’d lumber,
Puffing, sweating ranks!

Once inside, we face your altar.
Auto-doors will never falter.
If they did, stay calm we oughta!
‘Long as we stay up!

Safe at work, we do ignore you.
Secretly, we do adore you.
Come knock-off time, we do implore you:
Please to hurry up!

Down the shaft, we start to plummet,
Falling quickly from the summit,
Trying hard now not to vomit!
Where’d my stomach go?

Ensconced inside your cage we fall.
At every floor we seem to call.
There’s no room left here for you all!
A-waiting you must go!

Safe at ground, there’s disbelief:
Once more, we’ve avoided grief.
Thank you, Otis! Sweet relief!
Homeward we can go!

Mighty Otis! You’re the best!
Way ahead of all the rest!
Schindler’s lift can’t pass your test!
Daily we give thanks!

Stephen Tomkins
2 April 2014

(Note: To avoid confusion, Otis and Schindler are two manufacturers of elevators or lifts.)


Ocean View

93. Heavy seas at dusk, Imperial Beach, CA-L

Wave after wave, the invasion continues,
Pounding the shore with ephemeral sinews.
Unceasing, the aqueous army advances;
Observing, it’s clear that the whole thing entrances.

The beach battles on in it’s own unique way,
Seemingly letting the sea win the day.
An unlikely defence is so expertly mounted
By armies of sand, in their legions uncounted.

Invaders advance and retreat once again;
The battle continues, a war without end.
A paradox of tumult that somehow brings peace,
A meeting of foes world-renowned for caprice.

Much has been said about maritime moods:
One day she sleeps and the next day she broods.
Perpetual motion, a palette unbounded,
Don’t turn your back or you may just get pounded!

All through the day and then late at night
The sea’s roar continues, but now out of sight.
At some point, the wind’s airy music crescendoes,
Battering huts with tin roofs and small windows.

Transient humans, the sea will remain
Completely unmoved by our joy and our pain.
Her riches we harvest but never can tame
Poseidon unchanging but never the same.

Some say she’s moody but I disagree:
There’s never been artwork that’s quite like the sea!
With every whitecap and every hue,
A masterful canvas no human could do!

Stephen Tomkins
18 December 2014

The Duck

In the widow, hanging down
Was a duck: crisp, golden brown,
With the others hanging round.
How’s your day today?

No more trouble, no more strife,
No more toil and no more wife,
No more family, no more life,
How’s your day today?

On the farm where pigs were suckling,
He was then a fuzzy duckling.
Life was sweet, his Mama’s darling.
How’s your day today?

Fuzz now gone, his fine new down,
Like a stunning regal gown,
Cloaked the king without a crown.
How’s your day today?

He worked hard and built a nest.
His new wife thought him the best.
Three fine eggs were soon their guest.
How’s your day today?

Swiftly, summer days were gone.
Ducklings, too, were moving on.
Youth’s bright beams no longer shone.
How’s your day today?

Sadly nothing but illusion,
All this just a sweet delusion,
‘Midst hunting season’s raw confusion,
Life just ebbs away.

“Why?” you ask. “Why tell this tale?”
Swiftly through this earthly vale
Life sweeps past so fine and frail, so
Cherish your day today.

Stephen Tomkins
26 June 2014

The Cat

Once upon a stormy night,
I opened the door and got a fright.
My cat, I found, was waiting there
Wearing a smile but none of her hair!

What had happened to my pet?
I haven’t figured that out yet.
But when I do, I’m sure you’ll find
That what occurred will blow your mind.

My cat had lovely, shiny hair
Which now was left upon the chair.
Whiskers, tail and eyebrows too,
Out the window, they all flew!

My cat - with hair!

My cat – with hair!

Stephen Tomkins
17 February 2014

My Digital World

All through the day and then the night
I downloaded a megabyte.
“A megabyte?” I hear you say
And shake your head in sad dismay.
“You must have gotten more than that!”
And so I would but for my cat.

She frequently attacks the mouse
And drags my Mac around the house,
Through the halls and down the stairs,
Over books and under chairs.

Despite the damage caused by this,
The keyboard is her place of bliss,
And there she likes to sleep and purr
While excess downloads, I incur.

I scratch my head and then disable
Wifi modem and the cable.
Sadly, though, I soon forget
The 3G network and my pet.

In haste, I call my ISP,
With phone in hand and cup of tea.
Naturally, though, I’m put on hold
And sitting there, it soon grows cold.

I start to laugh and soon feel better
And decide I’d rather send a letter.

Stephen Tomkins
3 March 2014


My cat, Mia. She’s not as innocent as she looks!

Nothing To It! (or “What’s It Like To Be A Pilot?”)

Some envy my most glam’rous life.
You think it’s great? Just ask my wife!
She can’t remember who I am,
Quite over all pretence of glam!
Myself, I try to introduce
And broker an uneasy truce.
I slump into a comfy chair
To make up for night’s spent ‘up there’!
Soon enough my snoozing’s through,
There’s far too many jobs to do!

“You have to study? But what for?
You must have done it all before!”
And so I have but there’s more to it
Than simply turning up to do it!
“You only have to fly the plane!”
Such comments drive me quite insane!
The testing comes round mighty fast;
I study so I might get passed!
Keeping up to date is fun,
You start again just when you’re done!

In the cockpit, people ask:
“Just how easy is your task?
The autopilot does the work,
Sitting there is just a perk!
The takeoff’s done by button press
While you sit there in fancy dress!
Another press completes the landing!”
Shows their lack of understanding!
Were it so easy, they would be
Sitting there instead of me!

But when the rain falls, lightning flashes,
Engines fail and thunder crashes,
They’re very glad we’re sitting there,
Strapped into our sturdy chair,
With all our skills kept up to date,
Averting quite a nasty fate!
So when in flight you think “How easy!”
Remember us when you feel queasy!
It’s in our blood, this love of flight;
The work we do is out of sight!

Stephen Tomkins
31 December 2014

‘Twas The Night After Christmas

‘Twas the night after Christmas and all through the house
Nothing was stirring, not even a mouse.
All were asleep in a comatose state
After approving of each empty plate.

The feast had exceeded all rational bounds,
Come New Year resolving to shed extra pounds.
The fridge was still groaning with leftover cheer:
Turkeys and trifles and cases of beer.

Mountains of paper, cards and empty boxes
That once had contained iPads and new X-boxes,
Remained on the floor, a new obstacle course,
Attempted by those lacking sober recourse.

Crackers and pate and nibblies unending
Fuelled the reunions and newly befriending.
Children a-running and Dad-jokes a-cracking,
Into their tummies, the food they were packing.

The fun had continued late into the night –
A successful engagement with only one fight!
The hosts were exhausted, collapsed into bed,
To clean up tomorrow, it’s best left unsaid!

Stephen Tomkins
28 December 2014