Spoils of War

I’ve spent some time inside myself,
Preparing my defences:
Laying coils of barbed wire down
And shoring up my trenches.
Just when I thought I’m safely done,
O’er No Man’s Land you soar
And, on my helpless heart again,
Your mighty bombs you pour.

My trenches are all worthless now,
My barbed wire all gone.
Into my heart, you’re free to storm,
Your victory is won.
Is your triumph worth its price?
And does it still taste sweet?
How can love ever again entice,
No matter who I meet?

Stephen Tomkins
20 January 2016

The Hermit


Scuttling sideways, it’s progress I guess,
Bright, shiny shell on, it’s my mode of dress.
My pincers, I click then to let them all see
There can be no doubt: all is OK with me.
But once in my burrow, then off comes my shell,
Revealing my true self, though they’d never tell.
You see, I’m a person and not what I seem,
I’m really quite fragile – no it’s not a dream.
I long to find one who I can be myself with
But all I can see are a billion more shellfish.

Stephen Tomkins
6 May 2016

Photo credit:

Morning Commute

My bus is late! My bus is late! It’s time to hyperventilate! 

Consult my watch and scan the phone, 

At least I’m not left here alone!

I see the trees! I see the stars!

I see the lights of passing cars!

My face is tingling! Vision blurred!

The ground is tilting – how absurd!

A face appears ‘midst flashing light,

And now I’m floating in the night!

I float right into private bus

And off we go! Oh, what a fuss!

Now there’s bright lights here and a crowd,

Pushing, pulling, shouting loud!

It seems I’m passing every test,

Then they declare I just need rest!

So, this will teach that nasty bus!

I mean – who can you really trust?

Buses, trains, they’re all the same!

At least I’ve got someone to blame!

Stephen Tomkins

23 March 2016