Everyone’s a Critic

Critics gonna criticise

No matter what you do

Until you get that special ‘name’

And then they’ll all love you.

So, do your best and publish

When you think the time is right,

‘Cos critics are proud owners

Of so much more bark than bite.

 

Stephen Tomkins
21 September 2018
Sydney

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Wars

We talk of battles, we talk of wars;

We fight for each other, we fight for a cause.

And though we might wish to fight goblins or elves,

The real wars are those fought inside of ourselves.

 

Sometimes we don’t know that we’re fighting in there,

And sometimes we’re only too keenly aware –

And though all these battles aren’t fought with a gun,

The battles are real, and the war’s never won.

 

Sometimes, we will feel worn right down to the bone –

Just understand that you’re never alone.

Some battles we’ll win, and some may leave us bruised:

To fight on is the only way we’ll never lose.

 

Stephen Tomkins
11 August 2018
Sydney

The Rime of the Modern Mariner

Bill Watt de Heck
Sank right up to his neck
And, furthermore,
He was quite far from shore.
His life vest he’d left
In that old, rocky cleft –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Bill’s luck was good,
And though he understood
That his chances were fading
(No chance of him wading),
He felt God on his side,
And he still had his pride!
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Out further he floated,
By a lifeguard was noted,
A chopper dispatched,
His location it matched.
They lowered a swimmer
But Bill viewed this dimmer –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

The closer he moved,
The more Bill disapproved.
“Wrap this round your chest
And hold on to my vest.”
Bill said with a sigh,
“I’m not that kind of guy!”
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

On he proceeded,
The shoreline receded.
Some dolphins swam by,
With their all-knowing eye,
“Feel free to climb on”
But Bill bade them gone –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

A fish boat arrived,
Glad to find Bill alive.
Of his adventure they knew,
To his rescue they flew.
“I’m still not regrettin’
That I won’t climb no nettin’!”
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Bill finally found land
At St John’s, Newfoundland.
By then he was frozen –
‘Twas the fate he had chosen.
They laid him to rest
On a hill facing west –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

With this cautionary tale,
They began to regale
All the fishers, well-wishers
And seafoody dishers
Lest his madness recurred
And sure rescue demurred –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Stephen Tomkins
30 August 2018
Sydney

 

 

 

Choices

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Long ago, I’d come to dread

The choices looming up ahead.

Now the intersection’s clear,

The day of reckoning is here.

Soon there’ll be no turning back,

Once I choose the narrow track.

Steep and winding it will be

But it’s the only one for me.

When I pass around the bend,

I’ll not see you again, my friend.

Let no one your decision make –

For only you the path can take.

 

Stephen Tomkins

17 July 2018

Shanghai

Take a Chance

I’ve got your back, you’ve got mine –

Lived that way, life would be fine.

But sadly, that’s not how it works

Though that could be one of life’s sweet perks.

 

We view each other with grim suspicion,

Relying on some weird intuition.

Instead of giving each other a chance,

We engage in some kind of deadly dance.

 

You know, we might just be surprised,

Our neighbourly opinion might be revised.

We might find ourselves a brand-new friend –

One on whom we can depend.

 

And isn’t that what we truly seek,

As from behind our wall we peek?

Lower the drawbridge, the portcullis raise.

Watch the sun break through the haze.

 

Stephen Tomkins
26 July 2018
Sydney

 

 

So Gourmet

Glutinous globules of glippity Glop

Slipped from the spoon with a slippity slop.

Sad-eyed and sorry, I sat there and looked

As I tried to decide if the Glop had been cooked.

 

Now, I’m not the type who is wont to complain,

Though I started to wonder if I’d gone insane.

The Glop on the plate simply sat there and stared

And asked to be eaten if I could be dared.

 

Revulsion and Hunger began to debate

The outcome of eating the Glop on the plate,

Which seemed to enjoy the whole querulous question,

In anticipation of my indigestion!

 

Finally, my hunger I just had to sate,

So, I started to pick at the Glop on the plate.

Now I must confess that it wasn’t so bad

Though I doubt it will ever become the next fad.

 

All through the night and right up to the dawn,

The Glop I had eaten fought hard to be reborn!

Somehow, my dinner I managed to keep down

But I swore that I’d never return to that town!

 

Stephen Tomkins

1 April 2017

Sydney (not where I ate the Glop!)

 

Trumpet

In the house that’s built upon a hill,

There lives a

Man for whom the truth’s a bitter pill.

And so he

Blurts out every thought within his mind

And hopes that

All of us will be deaf, dumb and blind.

 

He wants to claim our very heart and soul,

That makes the

Mind so very easy to control.

He doesn’t

Care much for an objective truth

And hungers

Night and day for his eternal youth.

 

If the language doesn’t suit his needs,

He’ll simply

Switch across and use the Twitter feeds,

And if his

Spin should ever be confused with lies,

Then watch him

Hint the doubters may be foreign spies.

 

If you don’t like what he wants to do,

Then maybe

Next election vote for someone true.

Of course that’s

If such a person really wants to run

Or else we’re

Stuck with fools whose brains are underdone.

 

Stephen Tomkins
1 November 2017
Perth

The Gift

winnerGraphic

A lottery ticket’s of no use to me
Though a million or two would be nice.
For were I to win, it just wouldn’t be fair
Since luck would have favoured me twice.

What had I done to deserve my first win?
Nothing I know of, it’s true.
Taken for granted for so many years,
My prize I’ll now point out to you.

Born in Australia, to parents sincere,
They clothed, fed and raised me in peace.
How could I perceive my good fortune so young
When granted by chance or caprice?

If born somewhere else, of a different race,
Perhaps I would not have survived.
Instead, though I whine, take for granted my time,
Grateful, I should be, I thrived.

And though I’m still wary of those diff’rent to me,
To prejudge them, I have no right.
For I could so easily be where they are
And day would be unending night.

Stephen Tomkins
8 June 2017
Melbourne

Photo credit: nhlottery.com

 

The Department of Truth

You don’t know we exist
But, I gently insist,
We can change your whole view of the world.
We have been here for years,
With your hopes and your fears,
While our spin on the news is unfurled.

Through social media too,
We have been here for you,
So you’ll be in no doubt what to think.
We don’t want you to stress,
There’s no need for duress,
We can update your views in a blink.

Though our opinions we spread,
Once they’re seen, heard, or read,
They’re accepted by most to be fact.
And if you should disagree,
You’ll get no help from me,
With the Truth, I’ve long made a pact.

Stephen Tomkins
20 January 2017
Singapore

Lest We Forget

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Row upon row, the crosses stand,
An army on parade,
Tended now by gentler hand
‘Neath verdant palisade.

Like silent sentinels, the trees
Stand guard here day and night
Though now only the bees
And vengeful magpies keep the fight.

No Sergeant-Major’s voice is heard,
No bugle call to battle.
The sound of leaves, by breezes stirred,
The call of distant cattle.

Baptised by mud and blood and sweat,
They heard their country’s call.
Waved off by crowds who then forget
And never see them fall.

From battle’s fertile fields, they’re borne
With honour to this place.
That we’ve not learned their lesson
Means yet more will meet their fate.

Though the lucky ones return,
It’s clear they’re never quite the same.
They, too, have paid a heavy price
Despite the victory claim.

Stephen Tomkins
3 April 2017
Sydney

Photo credit:
journalstar.com