Up There

Today sat outside,

Tried to shutter my mind

From worries that whir

And from bothers that bind.

Looked to the heavens

And noticed the clouds,

Floating serenely,

An angelic crowd.

 

But as I observed them,

All borne by the breeze,

And wished I could join them,

Forget my unease,

‘Twas then that I spied it,

First glances proved false,

They each took their own path,

Their own unique course.

 

Spinning and stretching

Then fading away,

Combining, collapsing,

An endless display.

No different to us,

Or so it would seem –

Serene on the outside,

Their troubles unseen.

 

It may seem facetious

But I understood

A life worth the living

Can’t always be good.

Though whirling and wheeling

Like clouds in the air,

We all can come through

If we’ve someone to care.

 

Stephen Tomkins
3 January 2020
Singapore

Viral

4AD3B75D-CD1E-4325-A8FF-55E70A07C307

Not that long ago,

Going viral was good;

If something was clever

Or funny, you could.

 

Now going viral

Means you have the bug –

A milestone that will not

Be met with a hug.

 

So please keep your distance,

A mile will do fine,

I’d just rather not

Make your malady mine.

 

Stephen Tomkins
20 March 20
Socially distant in Sydney

Craving

Like verdant bumble bees hugging the trees,

A hive’s worth of leaves are abuzz on the breeze.

Saluting, inviting and bidding farewell,

They whisper a gentle, restorative spell.

 

Never intruding nor forcing their will,

They beckon us linger, they bid us be still,

For only in silence, will we hear them speak –

The trees know the leaves hold the solace we seek.

 

They live for a time and, when that time is done,

The breeze calls them home again, each one by one.

No need to be sorrowful, no need to mourn;

As fresh leaves appear, our souls too are reborn.

 

Stephen Tomkins
26 December 2019
Melbourne

Tom Bradley

A throaty airport van

Gives expectant birth to

A flight crew of black and gold and white

As they weave their way into

Tom Bradley

In the bustling dead of night.

 

Moaning steely birds

Circle high above,

Seeking respite and yet,

Constrained by forces unseen and unheard,

Flash their lights

In bold disdain –

A petulant display,

Both impressive and absurd.

 

All the while, surly uniforms,

Wearing their silent threats,

Corral the hapless voyagers

Through grim functionality into lines neverending,

Until they emerge

Into a bright carnival sideshow

Of excess and endless spending.

 

As lures for the prey,

The birds in their various plumages

Are reluctantly tolerated

But banished to distant piers,

Lest they deter the captives

From parting with their currency –

A farewell eliciting no tears.

 

Stephen Tomkins
3 November 2019
Los Angeles

Beneath The Mask

I used to dream

Of lots of things,

The world and I,

It seemed, had wings.

But time has passed

In fits and starts

And I’ve been left

In broken parts.

For though I’ve tried

To do my best –

In many ways

I have been blessed –

I always feel

I should do more,

Should be more,

With myself, at war.

 

How can I know

I’ve done enough?

And so, I smile,

Maintain my bluff.

In private moments,

While in bed,

My private eyes

Hot tears will shed.

And in the dark,

I find I’m shaking

As my heart

Is softly breaking.

I reach across

To find she’s there

And know I’m loved

More than my share.

 

So I try

To move ahead

And face the things

I once would dread.

Worthy, I have

Never felt

And so, to others

I have knelt.

At long last,

I’ve come to know

That all of us

Put on a show.

Beneath the mask

We’re all the same:

We all feel just

A little lame.

 

Stephen Tomkins
9 June 2019
Wellington, NZ

 

Hurry

I passed you on the street today –

You hurried on your worried way.

And though our eyes did never meet,

Hastened on by frantic feet,

I felt a kinship just the same –

It seems we play a common game.

 

We hurry here, we hasten there,

And speed ourselves toward despair.

The flowers here that bloom today

Will tomorrow fade away.

And today, with all its cares,

With all its likes and all its shares,

 

Will be repeated evermore,

As all our efforts bleed us poor.

So, take a breath, extend a smile,

Inhale the sunshine for a while.

Upon this earth, we linger not:

Pray, make the most of what you’ve got.

 

Stephen Tomkins
31 October 2019
Sydney

I’ll Be Quiet Now

Darlin’, you’re one in a million.

But statistics were never my scene –

Since the world’s pushin’ two hundred billion,

I’m sure that’s not what I mean!

‘Cause of you there’d be two hundred thousand

And that just cannot be right:

For no matter where I’d be a’browsin’,

There’d be several of you in my sight!

 

Perhaps you’re one in a billion –

There’d still be two hundred of you!

Or maybe just one per gazillion –

Statistics! I’ve had it with you!

Darlin’, I don’t seek another!

How could there be another you?

I’ll stop now and try to recover

From drownin’ in my well-meant stew!

 

Stephen Tomkins
16 May 2019
Somewhere between Sydney and Perth
(I was a passenger, ok?)

 

Hong Kong Style

Skyscrapers eagerly reach for the cloud,

Each new one trying to puncture the shroud –

Precariously perched on the side of a hill,

A balancing act of spectacular skill.

 

Inside the glittering towers of glass,

They labour in hope that their dreams come to pass.

Lower on down in the shimmering shops,

Luxury brands flaunt their exclusive chops.

 

Ubiquitous red and gold, gaudy to some,

Signals to all that the new year has come.

Clearly a festival bigger than big –

This year announcing the Year of the Pig.

 

Everyone seeking their own pot of gold

They hope comes their way before they’re too old.

Unique to Hong Kong? I see you now smile.

The answer is “no”, but they have their own style!

 

Stephen Tomkins
1 February 2019
Hong Kong

 

 

 

 

A Heart

How easily the head can drown out a heart

And, certainly, life likes to play its own part.

Bills to be paid and things to be done –

No time to play nor walk in the sun.

 

Weeks can dissolve and months fade away

While, down in the trenches, we battle with days.

New Year, then Easter, then Christmas arrive,

While all we can do is fight to survive.

 

The heart is forgotten, but still it beats on

And, sometimes, we wonder just where we went wrong.

But this is all part of the fabric of life –

A heart’s done its job when you know you’re alive.

 

Stephen Tomkins
10 February 2019
Osaka

 

 

Too Soon

Trees still as statues

On carpets of grass.

Air barely moving

And flowers like glass.

 

A world scarcely breathing,

A moment serene.

In the silence, a healing,

An unceasing dream.

 

Then out of the aching

Blue dome up above,

The city descends

Like the slap of a glove,

 

Shoving the statues

And breaking the glass

And, far too soon,

This Eden must pass.

 

Stephen Tomkins
19/2/19
Perth