The Rime of the Modern Mariner

Bill Watt de Heck
Sank right up to his neck
And, furthermore,
He was quite far from shore.
His life vest he’d left
In that old, rocky cleft –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Bill’s luck was good,
And though he understood
That his chances were fading
(No chance of him wading),
He felt God on his side,
And he still had his pride!
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Out further he floated,
By a lifeguard was noted,
A chopper dispatched,
His location it matched.
They lowered a swimmer
But Bill viewed this dimmer –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

The closer he moved,
The more Bill disapproved.
“Wrap this round your chest
And hold on to my vest.”
Bill said with a sigh,
“I’m not that kind of guy!”
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

On he proceeded,
The shoreline receded.
Some dolphins swam by,
With their all-knowing eye,
“Feel free to climb on”
But Bill bade them gone –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

A fish boat arrived,
Glad to find Bill alive.
Of his adventure they knew,
To his rescue they flew.
“I’m still not regrettin’
That I won’t climb no nettin’!”
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Bill finally found land
At St John’s, Newfoundland.
By then he was frozen –
‘Twas the fate he had chosen.
They laid him to rest
On a hill facing west –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

With this cautionary tale,
They began to regale
All the fishers, well-wishers
And seafoody dishers
Lest his madness recurred
And sure rescue demurred –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Stephen Tomkins
30 August 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

Normal

I must be normal

‘Cause I’m me –

I’m not so sure about you.

I’m nearly normal as can be

No matter what I do.

 

In my defence,

It’s common sense,

(If there’s still such a thing)

Normal changes day by day,

Though to it, still, we cling.

 

What is normal?

What is not?

What does the word now mean?

Who decides

And, satisfied,

Proclaims it on our screens?

 

Stephen Tomkins

6 December 2017

Perth

Update on the Current Situation

In light of the current situation,

I’m here to provide some information.

The rumour mill’s been running hot

But most of it’s not worth a jot!

 

Our bottom line will not be dented!

Our office space is newly rented!

We must uphold our company creed

So we can meet the customers’ need!

 

You’re worried and I understand,

But these tough times just were not planned.

We all must take our share of pain.

There’s really no one here to blame!

 

And so, you see, then, that is why

I’ve descended from on high.

You know that I would not be lying!

There’s little use in sitting, crying.

 

I hope, your doubts, I have allayed.

I’m sure, this week, you should get paid.

Thanks but I’ll be quite ok.

If things get bad, I’ll slip away.

 

So stand together, worthy band!

I knew that you would understand!

Together we can turn things round!

You know, I like the way I sound!

Stephen Tomkins
5 June 2014
Sydney

 

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

 

 

The International Date Line

For many years now, people have been led to believe that the International Date Line is a geographical construct designed to differentiate between two calendar days. It sits, by international agreement, at 180° longitude but deviates around various nations to accommodate their desired time zone.

Therefore, depending on your direction of travel, it is possible to leave on one day, travel thousands of miles and arrive before you left, thus effectively having two of the same day. Or, in reverse, you can skip an entire day altogether. This can be very useful if you’re prone to forget your wife’s birthday or want to avoid a family celebration.

“Sorry, darling, I didn’t forget. I crossed the International Date Line on my way home and missed your birthday!”

“The family reunion was yesterday? How did that happen?”

Useful, confusing or annoying, depending on your point of view, the International Date Line is a fallacy, an international conspiracy of epic proportions. The reality is that the International Date Line is exactly that – a date line. The following is a transcript of a recent call. (Not mine, of course.)

“Good morning. You’ve reached the International Date Line. You’re speaking with Sven. How may I help?

“Good morning Sven. I’m travelling to Uzbekistan on holiday soon and I wanted to arrange a date.”

“Of course. That’s no problem. I’ll just take a few details and run through the various plans on offer. Then we’ll check availability. Will this be a one-off trip or part of a global excursion?”

“Hmm. I don’t know. I haven’t really thought that far ahead.”

“The Global package is our best value. We can arrange dates for you in 74 countries. Though not on the same day of course. Ha ha ha.”

I thought my jokes were bad.

“Can you describe yourself briefly?”

“Male. Average height. Average weight. Average intelligence. Financially and emotionally insecure. Is that brief enough?”

“Perfect. Now, what sort of date are you looking for?”

“I was thinking of something like the 20th of April. I’ve always liked that date.”

Move over Tinder, eHarmony, Match.com etc.

Stephen Tomkins
12 June 2017
Bangkok

The Gift of Lift

 

Lift is a gift sent from Heaven above
To draw aircraft homeward with Heavenly love.
You’d like to float upward? Well, that just won’t work;
That lurk is for Angels – it’s kind of a perk.
So, bolt on your rotors or wings, if you will
And ready yourself for an unearthly thrill.
Bolt them on tightly for in them you must
Place all your hopes and your dreams and your trust.
Add some propulsion and balance the weight,
Four forces slow-dancing while out on a date.
Flirt with the clouds and then harness the breeze,
You’ll soon find yourself over rivers and seas.
And when you return to the earth with a bump,
You’ll never again be considered a grump.

Stephen Tomkins
20 October 2017
Sydney

So Gourmet

Glutinous globules of glippity Glop

Slipped from the spoon with a slippity slop.

Sad-eyed and sorry, I sat there and looked

As I tried to decide if the Glop had been cooked.

 

Now, I’m not the type who is wont to complain,

Though I started to wonder if I’d gone insane.

The Glop on the plate simply sat there and stared

And asked to be eaten if I could be dared.

 

Revulsion and Hunger began to debate

The outcome of eating the Glop on the plate,

Which seemed to enjoy the whole querulous question,

In anticipation of my indigestion!

 

Finally, my hunger I just had to sate,

So, I started to pick at the Glop on the plate.

Now I must confess that it wasn’t so bad

Though I doubt it will ever become the next fad.

 

All through the night and right up to the dawn,

The Glop I had eaten fought hard to be reborn!

Somehow, my dinner I managed to keep down

But I swore that I’d never return to that town!

 

Stephen Tomkins

1 April 2017

Sydney (not where I ate the Glop!)

 

Trumpet

In the house that’s built upon a hill,

There lives a

Man for whom the truth’s a bitter pill.

And so he

Blurts out every thought within his mind

And hopes that

All of us will be deaf, dumb and blind.

 

He wants to claim our very heart and soul,

That makes the

Mind so very easy to control.

He doesn’t

Care much for an objective truth

And hungers

Night and day for his eternal youth.

 

If the language doesn’t suit his needs,

He’ll simply

Switch across and use the Twitter feeds,

And if his

Spin should ever be confused with lies,

Then watch him

Hint the doubters may be foreign spies.

 

If you don’t like what he wants to do,

Then maybe

Next election vote for someone true.

Of course that’s

If such a person really wants to run

Or else we’re

Stuck with fools whose brains are underdone.

 

Stephen Tomkins
1 November 2017
Perth

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