It’s Just a Book

“It’s just a book!” he spat at me,
Contempt dripped from his eyes.
Appalled I was as I looked back,
No words would come but sighs.
I wanted to explain to him
The pages and the binding
Are nothing but a neat disguise
For a universe in hiding.

Like a magic carpet, let the words
Convey you to a world
Unique to every reader
As its secrets are unfurled.

And at the end, if you
Should feel a tear or two descending,
Let no one else convince you
That your manhood here is ending.
If touched you’ve been or moved
Or felt some kind of revelation,
You’ll know your heart is still unharmed
By life’s great conflagration.

Stephen Tomkins
13 May 2017
Jakarta

 

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Prison Bus

images-2

Off to work once again, the pre-dawn steely grey.
Off to work once again, like the rest, need my pay.
We Prison Bus inmates, united, we sway
As, to God-in-the-screen, those awake seem to pray.

The colourful ladies and dull, greyish men,
Our routine repeating all over again.
Brothers-in-arms and our Sisters here too,
We still have no clue just who’s who in the zoo.

The gun-metal sky has now melted away
As delicate blues and pinks welcome the day.
No bars on the windows, unnumbered my shirt,
It’s only my outlook I need to convert.

IMG_1571

The scene that inspired the poem, taken on my iPhone.

Stephen Tomkins
2 March 2016
Sydney

Prison bus photo credit:
istockphoto.com

Arise!

Taken for granted and filled with misgiving,
Life is for loving, for living, forgiving.
Though, through the years, the bright lights may be dimming
And, at the end, all those tears may be brimming,
We still, day by day, live a life worth the struggle
Till the Reaper appears and, with love, bursts our bubble.
The choice, then, is ours: to choose life or demise.
‘Tis human to weep, but love bids us arise.

Stephen Tomkins
29 February 2016
Sydney

I’m Not Crazy!

Insanity runs in my family,

The author of constant calamity.

He sped to my sister

And tenderly kissed her,

And then rushed over to me.

 

Detected in me fertile ground

And smiled at the treasure he’d found.

As he messed with my head,

I retreated to bed –

To this day, that’s where I’ll be found.

 

Stephen Tomkins

15 February 2016

Perth

Unintended Consequences

candlestick

Jack not so nimble,

Jack not so quick.

Jack failed to clear the lit candlestick.

Awake and unconscious,

They both took their turns,

A most tender place for those third degree burns.

He’s now held together with pieces of wire

And sings boy soprano for St Michael’s choir.

 

Stephen Tomkins
2 March 2016
Sydney

 With apologies to children everywhere…

Photo credit:
http://www.buzzle.com
kizaz.com

bull-leaping

God Bless This Little Boat!

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Like ships, we’re launched into the world

Before we’re really ready.

The ground that we seek solace from

Is never truly steady.

And so we float as best we can

And try to make our way,

And even have a little fun

Before we’re drenched in spray.

Stephen Tomkins
19 January 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
societbyofsponsorsofusn.org
http://www.photosearch.com

Resistance Is Futile

sleep-deprived-workers

Slumber wakes inside her room,
Her soothing Siren song seducing,
Drawing me into the gloom,
The sweetest nothingness inducing.

Down into the void I fall,
Weightless in the inky dark.
It doesn’t frighten me at all –
Waiting for a dream to spark.

Once aflame, it rages on,
Sweeping me just where it will.
Abruptly, the inferno’s gone,
And, once again, the world is still.

Just how can sleep be so seductive,
Even when I do resist?
Succumb, I must, lest she’s destructive,
Ruling me with silken fist.

Stephen Tomkins
16 January 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
lucien.uchicago.edu
sharperiron.org

I’ve Had A Heart Full!

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There once was a heart, a very fine heart
With ventricles, valves and vessels,
Suspended in air and securely held there
By membranes, magic and muscles.

Open to all, at their sweet beck and call,
Its loving dimensions immense.
Defenceless, unmoving, its beating so soothing,
Without the least shred if pretence.

The wolves were soon out, in their cruelty devout,
With gnashing and slashing at whim.
Bloodied and bruised, the heart feeling quite used,
With its luminous insight now dim.

It just goes to show, as the days come and go,
Why a good heart is so hard to find.
In spite of it all, and when you hit the wall,
Just remember it’s all in the mind.

Stephen Tomkins
9 January 2016
Singapore

Photo credit:
http://www.cmoney.tw

 

With a View To Breakfast

sunday-brunch1

Motionless ships set on sparkling jewels,
Brilliant-cut diamonds in deep azure pools.
Closer to shore, the worshippers bathe
As the Sun-God ascends over white sand and wave.
And framing it all, as if by design,
A towering pair of lush Norfolk Pines,
Their branches and finger-like leaves reach above,
Beseeching the Sun-God for life-giving love.
Removed from it all, by a clear glassy wall,
Sit I, like a scientist, cold yet in thrall
Of a view unexpected and perfect, serene,
Hypnotic reliever of stress, evergreen.

Stephen Tomkins
21 January 2016
Wollongong

Photo credits:
retaillawadvisor.com.au
secrets magazine.com.au

 

Sorry For Being Born

The-Overly-Excited

Arrive at airport, cap in hand.
My bags are packed, my travel planned.
“Oh! The glamour!” you may think
But I’ll be treated like I stink!

As airline staff on cheap staff travel,
All careful plans will now unravel.
So I approach the hallowed desk
Where staff may check-in at their risk.

Like an insect, I am viewed
And told to wait in voices rude.
In holding pen, we congregate
And hopefully await our fate.

In muted tones, we quiz each other
And try obliquely to discover
Just where we fit into the list –
My category must be higher than this!

At last they start to call some names,
And so begin the churlish games.
Those lucky few will get on board,
The rest of us will sit here, bored.

Like music to my weary ears,
I hear my name as chaos clears.
They take my bag, give me a pass,
And tell me, “Move your bloody arse!”

I sprint now to the Customs queue.
Amidst the throng, I wrestle through.
On my watch, I check the time –
My God! How long’s this frappin’ line!

Finally, I get on board,
Wedged between two giants! Lord!
So strong the scent of garlic is,
There’ll be no vampires here for years!

I’ll need no seatbelt come what may:
Restrained by blubber, I will stay.
Come meal-time, there’ll be nothing left.
Cheap travel is a wondrous gift!

JHJ

Stephen Tomkins
7 January 2016
Sydney

Photo credits:

http://www.businessworldtravel.com
theegyptiantraveler.blogspot.com
acollectionofmusings.wordpress.com