About The Pondering Poet Pilot

My name is Stephen Tomkins, an A330 Captain for an Australia-based airline. I am married with kids. Interests: music, guitars, poetry, reading, psychology, and learning. I suspect all of this makes me an atypical pilot. For many years, I had been creating silly rhymes and songs for my children. As they grew up, and found my creations embarrassing (ah teenagers!), I felt drawn to write poetry of a different kind - some humourous, some less so, on whatever topic grabs my attention. It's strange how the mind works at times! All posts are my own original work. If you would like to share them, you are most welcome to do so provided that you attribute authorship to me. Thank you for your support. I hope you enjoy my creations.

The Sweetest Thing

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The sun has packed up and gone home for the night,
Leaving behind a soft silvery light.
The sea has now dressed in a purplish blue,
And clouds are all lilac to fit in there too.
A heavenly breeze whispers subtle deceit,
Caressing away the day’s tropical heat.
But while my surroundings idyllic may be,
I remember that nothing in life comes for free –
Except the free-given love of that someone,
Unearned, undeserved, moulding two into one.

Stephen Tomkins
29 September 2016
Honolulu

Photo credit:
wallpaperup.com

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Production Line

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Life’s factory conveyor-belt never will stop.
It races along and then suddenly drops,
Rolls under and hurries right back to the start –
To all things indifferent and lacking a heart.
We start when we land on the belt with a thump,
Well may we cry since from then on we jump.
Following orders as soon as we wake,
It’s chaos and frantic – no wonder we ache

To stop that betrayer-belt just for a while,
To regain our sanity, pause for a smile.
If in denial we didn’t persist,
The shadows we’re chasing would cease and desist.
And though the assayer-belt rolls on apace,
Reaching the end, we drop off without trace.
We only arrive there when our time is done,
Resistance is futile – it can’t be outrun!

Stephen Tomkins
15 November 2015
Perth

Time Traveller

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TV scenes flash on the screen of my mind
As I slowly start to relax and unwind.
Sweet frangipani has scented the air
And palm trees wave spindly hands in the air.
Sky’s perfect canvas of crimson and blue
Is brushed by cotton ball clouds drifting through.
Waters of turquoise and deep blue most royal
Inspire the timid and lovers most loyal.
A constant parade of those seeking the sun,
They come in their mobs and their twos and their ones.

And though I may seem altogether right here,
I’m split largely in between time zones, I fear.
Lost in a fog of my sacrificed sleep,
My body clock chimes with a resonance deep.
Tomorrow, I’ll once more be up in the air,
Leaving behind the poor Earthlings their cares.
Soon enough, though, I’ll be back on the ground
And by the real world I will once more be found –
The visions of places and people I’ve seen
Will seem little more than a half-faded dream.

Stephen Tomkins
29 September 2016
Honolulu

Don’t Give Up

No matter the storms that you’re facing,
Nor the westerly gales.
No matter whose hand on the tiller,
Nor the wind in your sails.
Keep your eyes fixed on the North Star,
And remember the tales
Of those who sailed here before you
And, though their memory pales,
The demons they faced then no stranger
Than the ones you face now.
So breathe deep, set your face and
Take your place at the bow.

Stephen Tomkins
1 September 2016
Singapore

Okay! You’ve Made Your (Power)Point!

 

The import of this meeting overrated cannot be.
I am a little nervous but that’s just ‘tween you and me!
For suitable attire, my whole wardrobe I have scoured.
My new bowtie analysis has left me quite empowered!

I stride into the meeting room, exuding style and poise,
My large piccolo latte shows I’m not one of the boys!
I open up my MacBook, shine the Apple in their eyes,
Confident they’ll all be fooled by my complete disguise!

I funnel feedback down the line, cascading here and there,
The conversation’s now offline – they haven’t got a prayer!
My (Power)Point is made so well they dare not ask a question –
But if they did, I’d beat them down with my raw condescension!

They show their slides, I smile and nod and grant them my approval –
But all the while, I’m plotting my new Boss’ sad removal!
Today, the Emperor’s brand new clothes are still the height of fashion –
It’s great to see them worn so well, with pride and so much passion!

Stephen Tomkins
23 March 2016
Sydney

Office life

Photo credits;

blog.injetwholesale.com.au
dreamstime.com

It Was I

‘Twas I who nailed you to the tree,
Mired in muck, unable to see.

‘Twas I who flayed your sinless back
With my shattered soul, sin-black.

‘Twas I who shaped your crown of thorns,
I, so lost, alone, forlorn.

‘Twas I who hurled abuse at you,
My own self-loathing, gladly spewed.

‘Twas I who lanced your heart divine,
In doing so, I’d broken mine.

And, through it all, you never ceased
To love and so my shame increased.

But when, at last, I too was crushed,
So gently to my aid you rushed.

How could I have been such a fool?
Ne’er again let my pride rule!

Stephen Tomkins
11 April 2016
Sydney

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