At a Loss

The fragile petals now will fall.
The leaves, of course, fell first of all.
And through it all she sits there still,
Living yet, against her will.

Her husband bravely does his best,
Including now a feeble jest.
She cried and cried, her tears now dried,
Since the day her baby died.

If only this, if I’d done that,
The self-destructive mental chat
Continues on inside her head
And fills her husband with such dread.

He prays she simply needs more time
To learn to deal with such a crime.
For now, he mourns not one but two:
The baby’s one, his wife now too.

Stephen Tomkins
14 January 2017
Sydney

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Red Balloon

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I float through the world like a big red balloon –

Drifting and dreaming and bumping along,

Borne on the currents of breeze and monsoon,

Collecting experiences, none right nor wrong.

Behind and below me, there trails my long string,

If you want my attention, then give it a tug,

But don’t get excited, I don’t plan a thing

‘Cause I live for the moment, a kiss or a hug.

If I’m floating off, you can drag me your way

And I’ll happily follow along for a while

Till a zephyr distracts me and I’m borne away.

But don’t be upset, I’ll depart with a smile.

The winds are so fickle, I may soon return

From brand new adventures with tall tales to tell.

At some point, perhaps, for a home I may yearn:

Only love will entice me off this carousel.

 

Stephen Tomkins
19 October 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
Pinterest

The Sweetest Thing

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The sun has packed up and gone home for the night,
Leaving behind a soft silvery light.
The sea has now dressed in a purplish blue,
And clouds are all lilac to fit in there too.
A heavenly breeze whispers subtle deceit,
Caressing away the day’s tropical heat.
But while my surroundings idyllic may be,
I remember that nothing in life comes for free –
Except the free-given love of that someone,
Unearned, undeserved, moulding two into one.

Stephen Tomkins
29 September 2016
Honolulu

Photo credit:
wallpaperup.com

Happy Anniversary!

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
– John Lennon et al.

We had made it! We’d reached twenty-five years of marriage! My wife, co-conspirator, leading lady, best friend, confidante, advisor, instructor, superior officer, lover, patient and long-suffering companion, and bride and I were still together despite everything life had thrown at us! And that we’d thrown at each other!

In this day and age, that’s quite an achievement.

To celebrate this momentous event, I had organised a few days, away without the kids, in Adelaide – a place Monica, my wife, had never visited. We managed to escape from home without any major disasters. The flight to Adelaide was pleasant and uneventful. We were picked up promptly at the airport by the limousine I had arranged and taken to our hotel where we were upgraded to a luxury room for no additional cost.

Things were proceeding better than I had hoped.

The gift I had ordered online arrived intact and was as lovely as advertised – and arrived on time! She was suitably surprised.

We spent a lovely afternoon exploring Glenelg, by the beach.

On our return to the hotel, we were both a little weary so we decided to have a light meal from room service. We had booked a car for the next day to go wandering through the Adelaide hills. What could possibly go wrong after such a wonderful start?

Food poisoning, that’s what. Monica spent the night back and forth to the bathroom and the next day, our twenty-fifth anniversary, clutching a bowl, a towel and hovering near the bathroom. I spent the day tending to my poor bride’s needs. There was little I could do really.

It struck me that this is exactly what marriage is like. Beyond the glitz and dreamy-eyed romance of the early days together and the hype of the wedding day, marriage is just life, but in larger font. You make your plans, dream about what you will do together and then reality steps in.

It’s how you deal with derailments, disappointments, pleasant surprises and other unexpected eventualities that will determine the success or otherwise of a marriage. Or, indeed, a life.

Stephen Tomkins
27 April 2017
Sydney

Deeper

Two eyes, a nose, a mouth and chin
Set in endless shades of skin.
So different and yet still the same,
Each mix a chance genetic game.

And though I look a bit like you,
We may not share a common view
But still we both laugh, smile and cry,
Feel tired and hurt, with teary eye.

Yet so important are our looks,
The subject fills a million books.
The shape of my nose, the shade of my skin –
Really? Must judgement here begin?

Stephen Tomkins
5 July 2016
Sydney

Who Needs Feelings Anyway?

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So, how do I feel?
Well, where do I start?
For many long years
I’ve kept chains on my heart.
Those feelings kept captive
Would flow just like blood,
If freed, I’m afraid
I’d just drown in the flood.

The chains and their locks
Are maintained with great care.
It’s really much safer
If feelings stay there.
And though I may yearn
Now to share them with you,
I’ve been burned before
Though they said they’d be true.

Words may be knives –
They’re heard once and are gone,
But feelings remain
And the wounds linger long.
So am I a coward
Or merely pragmatic?
I’m fragile right now –
Could you be diplomatic?

Stephen Tomkins
1 May 2016
Hong Kong

Photo credit:
giphy.com

 

Spoils of War

I’ve spent some time inside myself,
Preparing my defences:
Laying coils of barbed wire down
And shoring up my trenches.
Just when I thought I’m safely done,
O’er No Man’s Land you soar
And, on my helpless heart again,
Your mighty bombs you pour.

My trenches are all worthless now,
My barbed wire all gone.
Into my heart, you’re free to storm,
Your victory is won.
Is your triumph worth its price?
And does it still taste sweet?
How can love ever again entice,
No matter who I meet?

Stephen Tomkins
20 January 2016
Sydney

The Hermit

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Scuttling sideways, it’s progress I guess,
Bright, shiny shell on, it’s my mode of dress.
My pincers, I click then to let them all see
There can be no doubt: all is OK with me.
But once in my burrow, then off comes my shell,
Revealing my true self, though they’d never tell.
You see, I’m a person and not what I seem,
I’m really quite fragile – no it’s not a dream.
I long to find one who I can be myself with
But all I can see are a billion more shellfish.

Stephen Tomkins
6 May 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
http://www.fanpop.com

Adrift (On The Sea of Regret)

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My stomach is full though I’ve not eaten yet;
I’ve just launched myself on the Sea of Regret.
I’m sickened and saddened and sorry to boot:
There’s no one to blame for this dark attribute.
And though I’m not sure how I followed this path,
I’m floating alone on this flimsy old raft.
The sea is unfriendly, the night is pitch black,
I really don’t know if I’ll find my way back.

Yet off in the distance, I glimpse a dim light –
It’s just what I need in my desperate plight.
For just when I felt like I might pull the plug,
I find myself wrapped in a comforting hug.
I suddenly find myself back on the shore,
The sea disappears with one last mighty roar.
I’m so undeserving of someone like you
But if your love sustains me, I might just pull through.

Stephen Tomkins
17 February 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
www.smh.com.au

God Bless This Little Boat!

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Like ships, we’re launched into the world

Before we’re really ready.

The ground that we seek solace from

Is never truly steady.

And so we float as best we can

And try to make our way,

And even have a little fun

Before we’re drenched in spray.

Stephen Tomkins
19 January 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
societbyofsponsorsofusn.org
http://www.photosearch.com