A Fun Night Out


“I sense a presence in the room!
A presence coming from the tomb!
She’s saying something, it’s not clear.
She wants to contact someone here.”

Looking round the darkened room,
Their faces clear despite the gloom,
My séance partners looked at me,
Trembling, moaning, like they’d flee.

Incense rose in lazy plumes,
Candles burning, menace looms!
The table rises, shakes about.
A puff of wind and candles out!

One cold beer won’t be enough,
This séance is now getting rough!
Chains are clanking, falling down!
I’ll soon be getting out of town!

A former friend thought it would be
A good idea to see if we
Could contact someone who had died
And hear of life from spirit-side.

I haven’t slept a wink in weeks
And every time a floorboard creaks
I crack my skull upon the roof
Or maybe it’s a cloven hoof?

Stephen Tomkins
14 February 2015

Face It


I look into the mirror and what is it that I see?
My own familiar face stares intently back at me.
He never has a word or two original to say;
He smiles at me, I smile back – perhaps the other way?

My only true companion from the cradle to the grave,
His subtle metamorphosis unnoticed day by day.
Precisely how I’m feeling, he always seems to know,
In wordless ways revealing what perhaps I wouldn’t show.

Though my voice is an assistance, it’s my face that people know.
Without my face, a faceless man, I’d freely come and go.
An image of my face is in my memory perceived
But as it’s ever-changing, could my memory be deceived?

Go beyond the superficial and it’s clear there’s something more:
Of my fifty years of history, my face is now the store.
I see recorded years of smiles, of laughter and of tears.
The bags beneath my drooping eyes speak volumes of my fears.

Unseen, a gentle artist of unparalleled skill
Etches in slowly life’s sorrow and thrill.
A constantly evolving, living masterpiece of grace
Taken for granted, right there on your face.

Stephen Tomkins
28 June 2014

The Hive

Alarm clock beeps and we awake
Shower, dress and coffee take.
By bus or train or maybe drive,
The worker bees attend the Hive.

We swear allegiance at the gate
By swiping cards with face and date.
The Hive accepts and lets us in,
The working day can now begin.

We settle on our usual flower
Evenly spaced throughout the tower.
Collecting pollen is the task
The Queen of worker bees does ask.

But digital collection now does mean
The flower itself is rarely seen.
Cocooned inside our comfy Hive
The world outside can be denied.

A button press, the screen awakes
By which our Queen communicates.
With mousey clicks and chairy squeaks,
This is the way to us she speaks.

Beemail, buzzphones, meeting cells;
The honey from our Hive excels
But honey-making is so tough,
Those other hives keep playing rough.

The Queen bee tells us we must change
And, even though this seems quite strange,
She says to us she has a plan
To split the Hive throughout the land.

“A strategy is what we need,”
And to her buzzing all pay heed.
“A different one from what we had.
The worker bees have been so bad.”

The Queen herself is far too busy,
Buzzing around, she makes us dizzy.
Her generals gather us in groups
And pass her message to the troops.

“We need less workers”, they will say,
“Or get less honey if allowed to stay.”
The buzzing soon becomes intense
And troubled workers wander hence.

We feel we’ve heard all this before,
Throwing workers out the door.
We can’t recall that this then worked
But duties still cannot be shirked.

The Queen herself is sometimes seen
To speak to workers on the scene,
And while this is anticipated,
Little is communicated.

And so the workers clean their wings,
And into boxes, pack their things.
We say goodbye to friends we loved,
Some wish to leave and some get shoved.

They buzz away to another hive
And make more honey, 9 to 5.
The Queen, of course, will get to stay,
It seems she has an MBA.

Stephen Tomkins
27 March 2014

Tick Tock


Time is such a greedy guy,
Giving little, flying by.
When having fun, he rushes through
And hangs around when feeling blue.

Time is like a distant relative –
The kind who’s mostly uncooperative.
He hates to feel he’s been controlled
And pays us back as we grow old.

Time’s made of rubber, don’t you see?
When young, he’s stretched as he can be,
And slowly shrinks back into place.
The passing years soon gather pace.

The camera, Time of all things hates
Because a piece of him it takes:
Forever captured, free of time –
A timely refugee sublime.

Stephen Tomkins
12 September 2014

Time’s A-Wasting!


It’s been so long since I have slept,
It’s clear at sleeping, I’m inept.
I’ve laid in bed at night and wept
And round the darkened house I’ve crept.

If you’ll permit me to explain
And forgive my seeming to complain,
Please don’t regard me with disdain,
And be assured I’m not insane.

It all began some years ago,
When I was dealt a heavy blow.
Sleep was then an easy task
but now it’s an enormous ask.

I woke one morning quite refreshed
And took for granted nightly rest.
It seems my lack of gratitude
Erased my restful aptitude.

From that day forward to today,
I’ve, every night, been made to pay.
I refused to take it lying down,
But, over time, have been worn down.

Every treatment in the book
Is little more than gobbledygook.
I’ve tried them all and I can tell you
There are even some that would repel you.

I’ve jazzercised, been tranquillised,
And sleeping I have visualised,
Eaten lots and had some shots
And even been tied up in knots!

Meditation, incantation,
Frontal-lobely amputation,
Failed to yield a shortish nap!
I even found a sleeping app!

I gave up all forms of caffeine,
Retreated from the social scene,
Tried dancing and some French Champagne,
And even snorted cheap cocaine!

Sought a creepy Voodoo guy,
Who looked at me with watery eye,
“Relief you soon will come to know,
On me, your worldly goods bestow!”

I ran around and round the room,
Heard peaceful music in the gloom.
I starved myself and got so bored,
While all around me people snored!

I tried my doctor, said I’m ill,
But he just thought that I’m a dill,
Prescribed me several largish pills
And sent me frequent largish bills.

My sense of humour’s wearing thin,
I’ve tried to take it on the chin.
With enormous, bloodshot, saucer eyes,
I’ve slowly come to realise

That this whole sleep-thing’s overrated.
Its benefits can be debated.
I’m living proof that we don’t need
To yield to sleep’s voracious greed!

And though it still remains seductive,
At work, I’m now the most productive.
And while I may not have the looks,
I’ve loads of time for reading books!


Stephen Tomkins
1 June 2014

Midnight Departure


Pinpricks of white in an indigo sky,
Stars twinkling at us, they’re not at all shy.
A platinum moon shines ethereal light
On towering battlements, black, edged in white.
Cathedrals of Cumulus, silent, imposing,
At eight miles a minute, we’re rapidly closing.
From deep inside, there’s a bright flash of light,
Perhaps it’s the incense that chose to ignite?
Threading the needle between them we go
While back in the cabin, you hardly would know.
A few hours later, the sky pales ahead
And rapidly morphs into deepest blood red.
Below us the ground turns a purplish hue,
And gradually features start coming to view.
Orange, then pink and finally gold,
The sun then ascends, it’s a sight to behold.


Stephen Tomkins
9 February 2015

The Puppeteer


My life, it seems, is not my own.
This freedom-thing is overblown.
You may not realise you’re the same.
You see, it’s all a little game.

I feel just like a marionette:
So pull one string, I pirouette.
Pull another, just for fun,
I break into a steady run.

You may think this is quite amusing
But it’s you that I’m accusing.
Every time my telephone rings,
I have to stop doing other things.

And every time that I get emailed,
Texted, tweeted, I am derailed.
So, dear Reader, never fear.
It’s you! You are my Puppeteer!

Stephen Tomkins
3 June 2014

The Airbus Rap

By Stephen Tomkins
29 March 2014


For those who don’t speak chic Français,
My footnotes might help ease the way!

Yo! You fools! I’m Stevie T!
I’ve got a message so listen to me!
That Boeing Crew just gives us crap,
That’s why I made “The Airbus Rap”.

They seem to think they’re the only ones
Who can fly a plane – they’re all Top Guns!
We Airbus guys, though, know the truth.
We’ve done our testing, got the proof!

With trusty sidestick at my side,
That Normal Law[1] gives one sweet ride.
We’re autothrusting up and down,
Trimming’s[2] for fools! You crazy clowns!

Triple Click[3]! Triple Click! Yeah! What I say!
A Cavalry Charge[4] and I’m away!
With autopilot now disconnected,
My flying skills are resurrected.

Wrestling Fifi[5]? No! No! No!
You’ll come unstuck, that’s not the go!
With sweet caress, you’ve got to treat her.
Trust me now – not trying to preach ya!

Airbus loves its acronyms
So learn them all or you’ll seem dim.
The AADs[6] the place to start;
Get moving now and learn them by heart!

Sometimes Airbus can be unkind
But don’t you pay it any mind.
She says some things I won’t repeat
As wheels and runway gently meet.

The Boeing guys still seem to grapple
With Fly By Wire stuff made by Apple,
And even though that’s not quite right,
The concept still gives them a fright.

They see our flight deck, start to frown
But who would want it painted brown[7]?
We eat our meals off sliding tables[8].
Our flight controls don’t need no cables!

By FMAs[9], we live and die.
Without them, Fifi wouldn’t fly.
A daily litany of them we pray;
It’s another language! No cliché!

Which brings me to my favourite part
(And that includes cool autostart!)
By phase of flight she changes screens!
I’ve yet to find out what that means!

Mon Dieu! I can’t believe the time!
To go on so long! It’s just a crime!
By Airbus cleverness, we’re inspired!
We hope by now, you’re not too tired.

You Boeing dudes are still our friends
And here’s how you can make amends:
Stop talking ‘bout your moving sticks[10]
Defect to Airbus! Quick! Quick! Quick!

To those who’ve not yet seen the light:
Give ‘Bus a go, it’s quite alright!

[1] The normal operating system for Airbus Fly By Wire (FBW) flight controls.
[2] Manual trimming of the elevators (when in manual flight) is required on Boeing but done automatically on Airbus.
[3] The warning sound made when a flight mode changes automatically to a more basic mode.
[4] The warning sound made when the autopilot disengages.
[5] An affectionate (?) name given to Airbus aircraft.
[6] AAD is an acronym for Airbus Abbreviation Dictionary – 91 pages of funky acronyms!
[7] Boeing flight decks were, for some time, painted in “pleasing tones of brown” while Airbus flight decks are grey.
[8] Airbus aircraft have retractable tables in front of the pilots, made possible by the absence of large control columns (which Boeing retains) between the pilots’ legs.
[9] FMA is an acronym for Flight Mode Annunciator/Annunciation
[10] Moving thrust levers (when autothrottle/autothrust is engaged) is a major and contentious point of difference between the two manufacturers.

Oh! It’s Great To Have A Job!


Oh! It’s great to have a job!
Glad I’m not some lazy slob
Who sits around to whinge and sob!
It’s great to have a job!

Leap from bed to heavy clock rock!
Air guitar, my darling wife’s shocked!
Verbally, at me she throws rocks!
Great to have a job!

Pirouette around the room!
Rip curtains open! Banish gloom!
If looks could kill, I’d be entombed!
It’s great to have a job!

At the bus stop, spread my cheer!
Finally, did my bus appear!
Sadly watch it disappear:
Clearly, it was full!

On the bus, they cough and sneeze,
Blithely spreading their disease!
Make-up, Facebook and PC’s!
Great to have a job!

At last, I make it late to work!
My new boss can be a jerk:
Attacks me like it’s his one perk!
Great to have a job!

Catch my breath, get PC going!
Email inbox overflowing!
It’s clear to lunch I won’t be going!
Great to have a job!

Payday’s here! I’ve cash in hand!
Taxman comes with his demand!
Super, health fund, mortgage. Grand!
Great to have a job!

At the meeting, I am chilled!
Half the workforce will be spilled!
Vacancies will not be filled!
It’s great to have a job!

Years to go yet on my pay freeze!
Working hours now set to increase!
Boss’s bonuses: Oh yes please!
Great to have a job!

Client wants delivery Monday!
Guess where I’ll be going Sunday!
So much for the family funday!
Hope I’ll keep my job!

Now, my replacement I am training!
While outside it’s surely raining!
They tell me to stop complaining!
Once I had a job!

Now at Vinnie’s volunteering!
And at Maccas tables clearing!
My life’s savings disappearing!
Wish I had a job!

Stephen Tomkins
11 November 2014



Painstakingly picking up colourful shards,
Inspecting, selecting, rejecting discards,
The artist methodically adds a piece here:
An image mosaic begins to appear.

Each piece on its own is a part of the story
But in solitude, none can exhibit its glory.
A masterpiece made up of thousands of parts;
Until it’s complete, it conceals its true art.

Life’s a mosaic of abstract extremes,
A collation of seemingly disparate themes.
Ironically, milestones that make up a life
Are quite often those most connected with strife

Or oftentimes episodes most unexpected
While, elsewhere, our energies are most directed.
Out of life’s refuse, by hindsight extruded,
One’s mosaic image is finally concluded.

Stephen Tomkins
17 January 2015