Everyone’s a Critic

Critics gonna criticise

No matter what you do

Until you get that special ‘name’

And then they’ll all love you.

So, do your best and publish

When you think the time is right,

‘Cos critics are proud owners

Of so much more bark than bite.

 

Stephen Tomkins
21 September 2018
Sydney

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Hello?

In the crowd but not of it,

I’m swept along like a leaf.

A floater, fleetingly feeling his way,

Unwittingly seeking relief.

 

I’m part of the crowd but aloof,

Out of hundreds, a singular cell.

Unnoticed, unheard, it’s all somehow absurd,

We each have a story to tell.

 

Vapourisation, some weird conflagration,

Should suddenly cause me to cease,

The crowd, though diminished, flows on to the finish,

Content with its version of peace.

 

Stephen Tomkins
7 October 2018
Osaka

True Love

Jesus himself died to save us, it’s said.

He submitted so humbly, then rose from the dead.

If, in the world, there were no one but me,

Without hesitation, he’d embrace that tree.

 

Try as I might, I just can’t comprehend

For my sake, Our Lord would from Heaven descend

And, further, for me, to such suffering submit,

Considering me worthy of sin to acquit.

 

Beyond comprehension is such love divine

And yet, for the taking, such love can be mine.

He loves without scruples; He is love itself.

How could I have known I’d be blessed with such wealth?

 

Stephen Tomkins
8 October 2018
Osaka

Life Goes On

All through the almighty uproar and din,

He patiently waited for life to begin.

He studied and worked and did all that he should,

Did all that they told him, he yearned to be good.

 

And just when he thought he had earned his reward,

It was then that they cut his umbilical cord.

All that he was hissed right out through the hole

And blew him straight into a night black as coal.

 

But when he’d accepted he’d breathed his last breath,

They stopped up the hole and so saved him from death.

Once more, he began to do all that he should,

Do all that they told him, do more than he could.

 

The treadmill continued until he was old

And, hunched by the fire to ward off the cold,

He stared at the fire, entranced by the flames

Recalling his friends – he’d forgotten their names.

 

At last, he could see just how foolish he’d been,

Waiting each day for his life to begin –

His life had been rolling along the whole time.

In spite of the hardships, his life was just fine.

 

Stephen Tomkins
27 September 2018
Sydney

Hang On

The Pool of Smiles is empty now,

Its fountain has run dry.

The Lake of Tears is full somehow –

It makes me want to cry.

 

Products come with warnings now,

Sharp edges and small parts.

So, sign this full disclaimer vow,

Beware those sudden starts.

 

But life is so damn risky now –

No solace do they give.

The highs, the lows, the undertows,

It’s painful just to live.

 

What’s that? I hear a giggle now,

The sun peeps through the rain.

So, plough on through the vines and boughs,

There’s joy beyond the pain.

 

Stephen Tomkins
18 September 2018
Sydney

Wars

We talk of battles, we talk of wars;

We fight for each other, we fight for a cause.

And though we might wish to fight goblins or elves,

The real wars are those fought inside of ourselves.

 

Sometimes we don’t know that we’re fighting in there,

And sometimes we’re only too keenly aware –

And though all these battles aren’t fought with a gun,

The battles are real, and the war’s never won.

 

Sometimes, we will feel worn right down to the bone –

Just understand that you’re never alone.

Some battles we’ll win, and some may leave us bruised:

To fight on is the only way we’ll never lose.

 

Stephen Tomkins
11 August 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

 

 

 

Choices

School-Choice-HQ

Long ago, I’d come to dread

The choices looming up ahead.

Now the intersection’s clear,

The day of reckoning is here.

Soon there’ll be no turning back,

Once I choose the narrow track.

Steep and winding it will be

But it’s the only one for me.

When I pass around the bend,

I’ll not see you again, my friend.

Let no one your decision make –

For only you the path can take.

 

Stephen Tomkins

17 July 2018

Shanghai

Gone Too Soon

Though we try to understand,

The flowers say it best:

A life in full-bloom plucked away

And hastened to its rest.

 

Straining to articulate,

In vain we seek a voice.

So, we resort to hugs and tears,

As if we had a choice.

 

To void the Reaper’s deathly grin,

We focus on a life –

Thankful for a life well-lived,

It still cuts like a knife.

 

Stephen Tomkins
11 September 2018
Sydney

Take a Chance

I’ve got your back, you’ve got mine –

Lived that way, life would be fine.

But sadly, that’s not how it works

Though that could be one of life’s sweet perks.

 

We view each other with grim suspicion,

Relying on some weird intuition.

Instead of giving each other a chance,

We engage in some kind of deadly dance.

 

You know, we might just be surprised,

Our neighbourly opinion might be revised.

We might find ourselves a brand-new friend –

One on whom we can depend.

 

And isn’t that what we truly seek,

As from behind our wall we peek?

Lower the drawbridge, the portcullis raise.

Watch the sun break through the haze.

 

Stephen Tomkins
26 July 2018
Sydney