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

In It For The Long Haul

From high above the heaving sea,

With iPad chart upon my knee,

I gaze into the endless sky

As cotton balls of life creep by.

The indications of our speed,

Created by our mighty steed,

Seem unrelated to the view

Of floating in the aching blue,

And yet the world drifts slowly by,

From pewter seas to mountains high.

In boundless tones of floating fire,

The sun at last deigns to retire.

The lights are dimmed, our eyes relax,

The stars are all turned up to max.

Glowing cities that pass below,

Like jewel-studded carpet on ebony snow,

Are milestones on a featureless road,

As we speak on in our acronym code.

Elastic hours speed up and slow down

Till the last frantic minutes as wheels meet the ground.

Stephen Tomkins
21 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

Modern Bird

Oh A380, mighty bird,

That you get airborne – quite absurd!

A thing of your enormous size

Should never from the ground arise.

 

Yet, from the ground, arise you do –

No problem for a bird like you.

Transporting us from here to there,

A block of units in the air.

 

Far greater than an albatross,

You stretch your mighty wings across

A football field or two or three,

As far as one can likely see.

 

Awash with fuel your wings may be

So you can soar across the sea,

But those inside would never know

Just what it is that makes you go.

 

No feathers, beak nor awkward feet,

You’ve wheels for when your flight’s complete.

Ungainly while you’re on the ground,

Once in the air, you’re quite profound.

 

Stephen Tomkins
21 June 2019
Sydney

Just a Moment

A moment of grace

Descend on you now

And, lifting your burden,

I pray you unbow.

 

A moment of joy

Brings mist to the eyes.

May it bring you solace,

No need for disguise.

 

A moment of peace,

True peace may you feel.

May it never cease

And may your heart heal.

 

A moment of sorrow

For things that have passed.

Now let them all go

For little does last.

 

A moment of grief

For those we have lost.

Accept their departure

In spite of the cost.

 

 

This is the moment,

Now is the time.

A day for atonement

A moment sublime.

 

Stephen Tomkins
22 April 2019
Perth

 

 

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?)