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

 

 

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You’ve Got A Friend

When you’re down and feeling low,
When life deals you a savage blow,
You know you can depend on me –
My services are all for free.
Just call my name and I’ll be there.
So, you’ll never need despair.

But please don’t call when I’m at work –
My boss would simply go berserk!
And once I get the kids to bed,
(Their baths all done, their stories read)
As long as you live in my town,
You can be sure I’ll be around!

I’m sorry I can’t linger long.
For though your sorrow may be strong,
Tomorrow I’ve an early start –
Let’s quickly mend your broken heart.
And though I seem a part-time friend,
At least my selfie can attend.

Stephen Tomkins
2 April 2018
Perth

New Year

On New Year’s Eve

We celebrate,

Our vocal cords

We lubricate.

On New Year’s Day

We hibernate

And, when we rise,

We medicate.

 

And so begins

A brand-new year,

Awash with wine

And kegs of beer.

It’s like we want

To purge the stain

Of every previous

New Year’s pain.

 

Fireworks

There may well be,

Though if we

Could truly see,

We’d understand

A year’s not new

Unless there’s change

In me and you.

Stephen Tomkins
12 February 2018
Shanghai

 

 

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

 

A New You

“I think you’ve lost weight,”

Said Glitter to Gold,

Though she thought to herself,

“It’s just made you look old”.

“Why, thank you so much!”

Said the nugget to Glitter.

“I’ve been working out”.

She was clearly no quitter.

 

“Your sparkle is sparkling,

Now, brighter than ever”,

A quip that the Gold

Thought remarkably clever.

For Glitter had clearly

Been working out, too,

But Gold was too

Selfish to focus on you.

 

For even a cursory

Glance would have shown

That Glitter belonged now

On some crystal throne.

To Fairy Dust, Glitter

Had morphed while in bed

While Gold had transformed

Overnight into lead.

 

Stephen Tomkins
4 July 2017
Jakarta

 

 

I’m Hearing Voices

stop-noise

They tell me that I am alive.
They tell me that I’m fit to drive,
That maybe I should send a text,
That in the phone queue I’ll be next.

They say that this is good for me,
That I should go and hug a tree,
That I should watch this TV show,
That, really, I should up and go.

This special will not last for long,
That I should buy this brand new song,
That nothing’s right and nothing’s wrong.
Ignore the weak and laud the strong.

They tell me all I ought to do:
‘But to your own self remain true.’
So who’d have thought I’d come to dread
The voices raging in my head?

For God’s sake turn the volume down
Lest the voices bid me drown!
So for myself, perhaps, I’ll think
And drag myself back from the brink.

Stephen Tomkins
20 October 2016
Sydney

Happy

happy-face-adobestock_65597478-2017.jpg;w=630

“People make you happy” said the Wise Man once to me.
“Things create more problems, always was and thus shall be.”
Profound, prophetic words spoke he – at least that’s what I thought,
But as my life progressed, I found that wisdom came to nought.

Things are neither good nor bad, it’s what we use them for:
They can be used to kill or to relieve a tiresome chore.
People, on the other hand, are often good and bad
And very often people are the ones who make you sad.

Things will either work or not and sometimes seem capricious
And, though sometimes they’ll drive us mad, they never are malicious.
People kill and people steal and people lie and cheat,
And peoples sometimes treat you like you’re just a slab of meat.

Yet people are the ones who can give life its greatest meaning;
So confused am I that I’m not sure which way I’m leaning.
But if you have been blessed and found good people in your life,
Then look for nothing more, my friend, you’ll only find more strife.

Stephen Tomkins
6 March 2017
Perth

Photo credit: happy face AdobeStock_65597478 2017

The Power of the Shower

shower-vworif

When darkness falls
Although the sun shines brightly,
When troubles come
And weigh my spirit down,
Then I recall
You wait there in the silence.
I turn the tap
And watch relief rain down.

Your steaming jets
Will wash away my anger,
Your clouds of steam
Revive my weary dreams.
I linger long
Despite the drought impending
And my wife’s
Shrill icy shower screams.

I once was strong
But now am pleasant-smelling,
My hair was lank
And shines now like the sun.
If we could dwell
Forever in your torrents,
I guess our work
Would never be begun.

Your gentle rain
Lifts away my burdens,
Your soothing splash
Erases all my fears.
I need no more
To drink away my sorrows,
The water flows
Although I’m in arrears.

Stephen Tomkins
19 May 2017
Singapore

 If desired, can also be sung to the tune of “You Raise Me Up”, sung by Josh Groban et al.

Photo credit: baychoicebariatrics.com

A Little Perspective, Please

Seeing myself quite so dead on the bed 

Has certainly changed my perspective. 

“Take care of your health” is what I’d always said, 

But it turns out my heart was defective.

It’s a little too late for such drastic resorts,

Still they zapped me with 10,000 volts.

Though I’m grateful they’re thinking such positive thoughts,

I’m now just a bucket of bolts.

“Death comes to us all” as old sayings contend

Though he shows us such open contempt.

Some struggle and fight making bitter their end

As if fighting will make them exempt.

Now, I must say farewell as I start to ascend –

I’ll soon have such stories to tell.

A cool summer breeze whispers, “Welcome, old friend”,

So I feel now that all will be well.

Stephen Tomkins

25 June 2017

Hong Kong

The Miracle Factory

Open all hours and open each day,
The Miracle Factory beavers away.
The Miracle Workers all wear special clothes
And speak their own language that no one else knows
With monitors, pumps and needles and tubes
And other cool gizmos that only they use,
Conduct arcane rituals from far distant lands
Attended by quizzing and laying-on of hands.

The Miracle Seekers, reluctant, attend
The Miracle Factory and hope they can mend
All kinds of ailments and injuries too,
In full expectation that they’ll all pull through.
But sadly, though, sometimes this isn’t the case,
And this is a thing that we’ll all have to face.
Still, in denial, we’d much rather stay –
In awe of the Factory that beavers away.

Stephen Tomkins
19 March 2017
Sydney