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

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Choices

School-Choice-HQ

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

Gone Too Soon

Though we try to understand,

The flowers say it best:

A life in full-bloom plucked away

And hastened to its rest.

 

Straining to articulate,

In vain we seek a voice.

So, we resort to hugs and tears,

As if we had a choice.

 

To void the Reaper’s deathly grin,

We focus on a life –

Thankful for a life well-lived,

It still cuts like a knife.

 

Stephen Tomkins
11 September 2018
Sydney

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

 

 

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