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?)

 

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People Services

Thank you for your call today

(Oh, won’t you please just go away?)

Your colleagues, we are serving now

(So please applaud while we all bow!)

Important your call really is

(Or some such other silly fizz!)

Just go ahead and join the queue

(We’ve more exciting things to do).

 

You may think there are people here

(But that is a mistake, I fear)

Our name implies there’s service too

(Perhaps there is, but not for you!)

So please complete our online form

(Well, hasn’t that become the norm?)

To speed your query straight on through

(The options will be wrong for you!)

 

Surely you must know we care?

(As long as quickly you despair)

We’ll contact who you really need

(Our task is really to impede)

So just sit back and do relax

(Make contact by email or fax)

You could be waiting quite a while

(Efficiency is not our style!)

 

Stephen Tomkins
19 January 2019
Sydney

 

I Wonder

A quorum of quarrelsome clouds has convened,

Disrupting a day that had dawned quite serene.

Sparking an argument, rumbling away,

It’s clear that they all will have plenty to say.

 

For those of us earthlings stuck here on the ground,

It’s time to seek shelter, if some can be found.

For while the big boys are all roaring their rage,

One never can find a free Faraday cage.

 

Lit up with rage and all venting their spleens,

Like indulged children, they conquer the scene.

And, in the end, when they go on their way,

I’ll still be here wondering what they tried to say.

 

Stephen Tomkins

26 November 2018

Sydney

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

 

 

 

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