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

 

Advertisements

At a Loss

The fragile petals now will fall.
The leaves, of course, fell first of all.
And through it all she sits there still,
Living yet, against her will.

Her husband bravely does his best,
Including now a feeble jest.
She cried and cried, her tears now dried,
Since the day her baby died.

If only this, if I’d done that,
The self-destructive mental chat
Continues on inside her head
And fills her husband with such dread.

He prays she simply needs more time
To learn to deal with such a crime.
For now, he mourns not one but two:
The baby’s one, his wife now too.

Stephen Tomkins
14 January 2017
Sydney

Bourbon Dolphin

bourbon-dolphin5

Mum said when I turned fourteen years,
She’d put aside maternal fears
And I could go to work with Dad –
My dream, a dream so long I’ve had.
My Dad’s the Captain of a ship,
And I’m to go on his next trip.
Excited? Yes! You bet I am!
At last I feel just like a man!

Dad’s ship supports the North Sea rigs:
Supplies them, moves them, helps them dig.
He shows me the survival suits,
All in one piece, complete with boots.
We check the vests and radio;
The lines are in! Away we go!
I’m so excited I could burst;
Mum always seems to fear the worst!

Soon a massive chain’s aboard
And, on the bridge, no one is bored!
The work continues through the night.
By late next day something’s not right.
The ship tilts sharply to the left,
Then rights itself –  we all draw breath.
Suddenly, it’s on its side,
I’m on my back and terrified.

The ship continues over now,
We’re on the bridge but upside down!
Dad pulls me close and hugs me tight
And says it all will be alright.
The water takes my breath away –
It has such force, we can but pray.
The last thing that I ever hear
Is Dad’s love whispered in my ear.

Stephen Tomkins
23 December 2016
Perth

Author’s note: On April 12, 2007, the Bourbon Dolphin, an Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessel, capsized while working in the North Sea. The ship sank three days later. Aboard were Captain Oddne Remøy and his fourteen-year-old son, David, who was on work experience. They were among the eight persons who lost their lives that day.

While based on media coverage of the event and the official accident report, the above is a fictitious account of what may have happened. Above all, this poem is a tribute to those who lost their lives.

The Festering Season

It’s the Festering Season all over again:

A most joyous time for all women and men.

Passed a whole year has for old wounds to mend

And breed the good will that such healing attends.

 

But old wounds are good wounds and this time of year

Is perfect for festering with wine and with beer.

A thought may be thought but it’s best not unleashed

Unless thought right through, lest the tension’s increased.

 

Still, why spoil the fireworks of family and friends –

So skilfully opening those old wounds again?

So, sit back, enjoy this year’s floor-show and dinner.

Just stay on the sidelines and you’ll be a winner.

 

Stephen Tomkins

10 December 2016

Singapore

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