In Paper We Trust

A book has a cover

And pages between,

Though now for a cover,

The pages, a screen.

The words will not change

Nor the screen fade away.

The words rearrange

But the meaning won’t stray.

How does this transpire?

Some magic perhaps.

To me paper’s higher –

For books and for maps.

 

Stephen Tomkins
18 April 2019
Singapore

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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

 

Sleep On

streets2_led

Streetlamp vultures, seeking their prey,

Gaze on impassively right through the day.

When night falls, they shed their unnatural light

As the traffic rolls on in its hesitant flight.

 

But in the small hours, when the traffic has gone,

And the vultures might nap now their strange light has shone,

‘Tween moonset and sunrise, the street signs convene,

Reviewing the traffic lights’ usage of green.

 

As, once more, the Sun’s rays may threaten intrusion,

The street signs retreat in a hasty conclusion

And replant themselves like well cared-for plants,

As the traffic resumes like a column of ants.

 

Stephen Tomkins
21 August 2018
Sydney

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

The Department of Truth

You don’t know we exist
But, I gently insist,
We can change your whole view of the world.
We have been here for years,
With your hopes and your fears,
While our spin on the news is unfurled.

Through social media too,
We have been here for you,
So you’ll be in no doubt what to think.
We don’t want you to stress,
There’s no need for duress,
We can update your views in a blink.

Though our opinions we spread,
Once they’re seen, heard, or read,
They’re accepted by most to be fact.
And if you should disagree,
You’ll get no help from me,
With the Truth, I’ve long made a pact.

Stephen Tomkins
20 January 2017
Singapore

The World (and Other Trivialities)

Earth-CC-Dreaming-in-the-Deep-South

I reach into my ancient bag,
My old umbrella, for to seek.
From disuse, it’s now a rag
And, when it rains, it’s sure to leak.

Of what use is the outside world?
Not air-conditioned like at home,
The elements against me hurled
If I decide outdoors to roam.

Why can’t the world be more serene?
It’s certainly a pleasant blue.
Vindictive, vengeful, it can seem,
Its violence is never through.

Torrential rain some people cop,
While others meet a baking drought.
Snow and ice – it doesn’t stop –
And howling winds our efforts flout.

Our greatest minds can surely do
Much better than they have ‘til now.
With climate change, perhaps it’s true?
We’ve made a start, so take a bow!

Stephen Tomkins
4 December 2015
Sydney

Picture credits:
moonshotpr.com
pics-about-space.com

Web of Deceit

 

The Webmaster spends all day in his web
And lingers there still when he heads off to bed.
He’s constantly adding or fixing up strands –
Incredible what he can do without hands!
Like moths to a flame, we’re all drawn to his skill
But when we get stuck, he moves in for the kill.

Go near to one link and all will be fine,
Go near to another, and then, by design,
After the Webmaster hacks you to shreds,
He’ll leave you to hang there on old webbish threads.
And though you may think that he’s there to assist,
There’s really no point in attempts to resist.

The Server’s another who plays his own games:
Impassive, unreachable, serves us, he claims.
Protocols, scripts and his own endless jargon,
If allowed to logon we must think it’s a bargain!
All pretence of freedom is just a sick joke:
Make the wrong move and your cash turns to smoke!

The Webmaster, though, is the one we must heed
And live by his opaque and meaningless creed.
With eight bulbous eyes and his striped, hairy legs,
He’ll have you for breakfast and savour the dregs.
You never know when he’ll get more hunger pangs,
So I suggest you stay alert for his fangs!

Stephen Tomkins
7 November 2015
Shanghai

spiderinweb

Night Flight

139-crescent-moon-background

A Cheshire Cat moon beams down from on high
And slowly sinks lower and lower in the sky;
His comforting smile rewarding my thoughts
While beset by machines with their ones and their noughts.

The blackest of seas swallows Cat and his smile
Like a red crescent whale diving deep for a while.
Pinpricks of light in an ebony veil
Disinterestedly shimmer, unchanging and pale.

Air hisses past like a rain-swollen stream,
While I seem suspended in a motionless dream.
Time passes by at a glacial pace.
The miles that we fly disappear without trace.

Bodiless voices speak on in my ears,
Silence again as the frequency clears.
A voice now beside me, my reverie breaks,
Suggesting a coffee to keep us awake.

The view from his window, no different to mine,
But does he perceive what I think is so fine?
The weather tonight is so clear and benign;
It’s not always like this when flying the Line!

Stephen Tomkins
11 July 2014

Magnificent Isolation

manycaller

Temple of unearthly white,
Shining beacon in the night,
Moth-like, drawing towards the light,
Seeking icons, black or white.

High Priests robed in royal blue,
Welcome neophytes in too.
Throngs of faithful join the queue,
Latest offerings on debut.

A gentle chant can soon be heard,
Mouthed by fervent convert nerd.
Refrain then joined by zealous herd,
Unrelenting, undeterred:

“iPhone, iPhone, Glorious iPhone!
How I long to make you my phone!
Without you, I’ll be trapped on my own!
Deign, in me, to make your new home!”

The Trinity greets my awe-struck faze,
On entering this most Holy maze,
As iPhone, iPad, iMacs blaze.
A young Priest meets my earnest gaze:

Wearing glasses, oh so Hipster,
And designer jeans by Ripster,
(“Borrowed” from her older sister),
Words pour forth at speeds that blister!

Fleeing from her siren call,
I promptly hit the glassy wall,
And barely manage not to fall,
Running, bleeding, through the mall.

Members of this brazen sect
Are very easy to detect.
“Friends”, by thousands, they confect
With lives that barely intersect.

Educated by Wikipedia,
YouTube and by social media,
Oblivious to the world exterior,
Desperate lest they feel inferior.

Pallid faces float by, serene,
Music fuelling the machine.
Eyes glued to the heavenly screen,
Every message must be seen.

The sun is shining bright today,
Flowers blooming, birds at play.
On their minds, it fails to weigh,
But that, to them, is quite okay!

Stephen Tomkins
27 May 2014

CONFESSION:
The author owns an iPhone, iPhone, Glorious iPhone……

pb-120112-iphone-seida-01.photoblog900

The Puppeteer

2m34wfs

My life, it seems, is not my own.
This freedom-thing is overblown.
You may not realise you’re the same.
You see, it’s all a little game.

I feel just like a marionette:
So pull one string, I pirouette.
Pull another, just for fun,
I break into a steady run.

You may think this is quite amusing
But it’s you that I’m accusing.
Every time my telephone rings,
I have to stop doing other things.

And every time that I get emailed,
Texted, tweeted, I am derailed.
So, dear Reader, never fear.
It’s you! You are my Puppeteer!

Stephen Tomkins
3 June 2014