Legal Spender

With deep regret, I must advise –
Though tears still cloud my mournful eyes –
A friend we all hold close and dear
Has met untimely end, I fear.

Her wardrobe has no earthly equal –
Sad it seems, there’ll be no sequel –
Gold and silver, purples, browns,
Bold designs and regal crowns.

As legal tender, she may reign –
Though she’s been called by many names –
But who among us carries cash
(Though some still like to make a splash)?

A wave of plastic deems us flush –
Enough to make a tycoon blush –
We spend as if there’s no tomorrow,
But come month’s end, we’ll need to borrow.

And as rates rise beyond the skies –
And statements viewed with anxious sighs –
We may well rue the painful day
We changed the way we chose to pay.

Stephen Tomkins
6 October 2022
Perth

Time is a State of Mind

Though it may seem Spring’s taken hold,
Late Autumn’s in disguise,
Betrayed by flakes of falling gold,
All borne on gentle sighs.

Indifferent, now, the trees may seem,
Still wrapped in gold and red.
Stoic, untold winters seen,
Their wisdom left unsaid.

And though the darkness soon may reign
As faithless Sun retreats,
Stone-like sentinels remain,
Another year completes.

Seasons fly like autumn leaves,
And as my autumn calls,
Summer memories fill my heart,
As Spring peeps round the walls.

Stephen Tomkins
4 January 2023
Tokyo

Serenity

Grooving along to the song of the bar fridge,

Humming the tune of the mower.

The truck out the front is inhaling the garbage,

The bloke down the back’s on the blower.

Over the road, she’s still trimming the hedges,

Concrete has conquered the weeds.

While down in the nets, they’re inventing new sledges,

‘Cause cricket’s the colour they bleed.

Serenity’s not quite the word I would use

But I feel right at home just the same.

My wife’s busy getting her fix of the news,

Somewhere, somebody’s calling my name.

I’m waiting for peace to descend from on high,

But, somehow, life just gets in the way.

So, it’s rain that falls out of the hole in the sky

And I just get on with my day.

Stephen Tomkins

26 September 2022

Sydney

The World is Way Too Much

Silhouette trees close ranks to shield

The now-departed sun,

The chill advances by degrees

Then breaks into a run.

Incandescent suns on poles

Shed cold mid-winter light,

Holding back, at least for now,

A brash mid-winter night.

Here in the fortress nation,

Largely, we can feel secure –

Just keep those borders welded shut

Until there is a cure.

Yet in the throes of vaccine woes

We choose to close our eyes,

Pretending COVID’s gone away,

Denial justifies.

While in the mall, behind the wall,

The spending knows no peer,

As long as over there remains

Away from over here.

Stephen Tomkins
24 May 2021
Sydney

Life Diminished

Where commuters once would surge,
Driven by a common urge,
Uneasy silence reigns instead,
Bound by an unspoken dread.

Deep within their fortress homes,
Guarded by their garden gnomes,
The people sit in disbelief,
United in a sudden grief.

All the plans and all the goals,
Shipwrecked on unbidden shoals,
And as the next wave hits the shore,
They’re broken up a little more.

In an outer ring of Hell,
The people, mostly, are all well,
And though he wishes no one ill,
It seems Death’s not yet had his fill.

So, they remain in limbo yet,
A vaccine not an even bet.
Authorities are clueless still
With re-election to fulfil.

Stephen Tomkins
28 October 2020
Sydney

Life in a Minor Key

We speak of life just like the weather,
Act as if we’ll live forever,
Judge by looks and bold pretence,
Consider wealth our best defence.

We hold our life within our hands,
While it slips through like silken sands,
And focussed through a camera’s portal,
Part of us becomes immortal.

Life’s finest crystal, softly wrought,
Only once it’s gone is sought.
Passing through just like a thought,
Life can be sold but can’t be bought.

And as life turns another page,
We tango with advancing age,
And pay again our yearly wage,
Until it’s time to leave the stage.

Stephen Tomkins
21 September 2020
Sydney

Grey

Rain is falling, sky is grey.

Normally, I love the rain

But today the sky is crying

As it tries to ease my pain.

 

Respectfully, the sun remains

Discretely distant, as a friend.

The clouds descend and kiss the ground –

It’s raining in my soul again.

 

Taking refuge in my room,

There’s not much more I have to say.

The world continues unconcerned –

I think I’ll skip it for today.

 

Stephen Tomkins
12 June 2020
Sydney

Raw

The sun is shining,

Breeze is warm.

The streets are busy,

That’s the norm.

But on the path,

A guy’s asleep.

His few belongings

In a heap.

 

The world continues,

Cars drive past.

And yet, for him,

The die is cast.

Somehow, he’s lost

This endless game.

Does anyone still

Know his name?

 

He had a mother,

Father too.

Where are they now,

His childhood crew?

He lives now

In a silent place –

Invisible,

Yet in disgrace.

 

How did he get here?

Where to go?

Does anyone

Still care or know?

So, what’s the answer?

What to do?

As I walk past,

I wish I knew.

 

Stephen Tomkins
5 March 2020
Los Angeles

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