Depression is a Word (But not a Sentence)

You look into my haunted eyes

Which represent my failed disguise,

And, though you try to see inside,

I can’t let go my childish pride.

 

You sit and hold me for a while

As, desperately, I feign a smile.

But I’m a man! I don’t need you!

Even though I know that’s so untrue.

 

And so, each day I will resist

The help I need as I persist

To fabricate my mask anew –

The one I know that you see through.

 

At last I can’t hold back the tide,

As down my face the torrents slide.

And now I have to make a choice:

Succumb or give my fears a voice.

 

In seeking help, I gained relief

And learned there’s life beyond my grief.

But though the rain will sometimes fall,

It’s ceased to be a prison wall.

 

Stephen Tomkins

Perth

29 October 2015

 

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Web of Deceit

 

The Webmaster spends all day in his web
And lingers there still when he heads off to bed.
He’s constantly adding or fixing up strands –
Incredible what he can do without hands!
Like moths to a flame, we’re all drawn to his skill
But when we get stuck, he moves in for the kill.

Go near to one link and all will be fine,
Go near to another, and then, by design,
After the Webmaster hacks you to shreds,
He’ll leave you to hang there on old webbish threads.
And though you may think that he’s there to assist,
There’s really no point in attempts to resist.

The Server’s another who plays his own games:
Impassive, unreachable, serves us, he claims.
Protocols, scripts and his own endless jargon,
If allowed to logon we must think it’s a bargain!
All pretence of freedom is just a sick joke:
Make the wrong move and your cash turns to smoke!

The Webmaster, though, is the one we must heed
And live by his opaque and meaningless creed.
With eight bulbous eyes and his striped, hairy legs,
He’ll have you for breakfast and savour the dregs.
You never know when he’ll get more hunger pangs,
So I suggest you stay alert for his fangs!

Stephen Tomkins
7 November 2015
Shanghai

spiderinweb

Down Among The Dead Men

flash-and-the-pan-down-among-the-dead-men

“Down among the dead men,” droned the song.
How could they get it so terribly wrong?
So sexist and so morbid too!
It clearly needs a whole redo!

We all know people will pass away,
And sometimes they get led astray,
But female persons all need inclusion –
“PerSONS! Don’t need that confusion!

People of the female kind?
Yes, that’s better, I think you’ll find.
“Down” – that word will never do!
There’s implication there, quite taboo!

“Down” suggests there must be “up”,
So please don’t drink that poisoned cup!
Paternalistic condescension!
No! Level playing field by convention!

“Dead” is clearly too judgemental.
It seems to me more incremental.
So, how would I rewrite that line?
It took some time to redefine:

“People of the non-female kind
Communing in peace and harmony
In a state inconsistent with being fully alive,
While affirming the choice of each
To abandon hierarchical stereotypes.”

(With apologies to Flash and the Pan)

Stephen Tomkins
Perth
29 October 2015

A Day in the Life….

The sun half-heartedly crawls out of bed
And very reluctantly slides overhead.
A veil of ice crystals is covering his face –
One more loathful witness to what will take place.

The Doctor now cheerfully strides down the line
Then gives me a wink to say all will be fine.
Through snow, slush and filth, still the railroad tracks gleam,
The train then appears, as if shrouded in steam.

The chill in the air has invaded my bones
And through the barbed wire, the icy wind moans.
When I ask my Sergeant what all of this means,
“Do your damn duty!” he angrily screams.

The train has arrived and the doors are forced open;
Out fall the people, exhausted and frozen.
With shouting and wailing, selection begins –
The Doctor continues to seek out the twins.

Oh! How did I come to be part of all this,
Since studying music was my source of bliss?
These people did nothing but sadly be born.
The fit and the healthy are stripped and then shorn.

There’s no way, it seems, to escape from this place
Without bringing me and my unit disgrace.
The air here is fetid and really does stink,
And I, when off duty, rely on the drink.

Stephen Tomkins
5 November 2015
Canberra

 Author’s note:
I would like to clarify that this poem is not an attempt to justify the actions of those who inflicted the Holocaust upon the world. They cannot be justified. Rather the poem is an attempt to find humanity where little, if any, existed.