A Whole New Hive

Black_Friday

The bees are buzzing once again,
But not with pollen do they fly –
Bearing coloured bags and then
They struggle airborne through the sky.
A strange new hive they occupy
And, just as busy as the last,
Seek new bargains on the sly.
With success, word travels fast.
Antennae touching once or twice,
Communication never stops.
Phones a-buzzing, very nice,
Though even that can’t top the shops!

The drones are, elsewhere, busy bees
While Queens are massing by the door.
The numbers build by twos and threes
Until it seems there can’t be more.
The doors are opened – hear the cheer!
Thus, the frenzy can begin!
Stand aside or feel the fear!
There’s bloodshed by the Bargain Bin!
A hornet’s nest has been disturbed:
“I saw that from across the store!!”
The staff look on quite unperturbed:
From whence they came there’s plenty more!

Stephen Tomkins
18 December 2015
Sydney

Picture credits:
www.thesun.co.uk
planmysite.com

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Love Makes The World Go Round

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Prologue

It’s said, “Love makes the world go round”,
A lovely notion, to be sure,
But not at all what I have found –
The proof to clear to be ignored.

I

If, indeed, that were the truth,
You early lovers, take a bow!
Perhaps, at one time, in its youth,
The earth was cuboid, unlike now,

Or maybe flat. So after all,
The ancients knew more than they seemed,
When, off the edge, they feared they’d fall.
Their reputations now redeemed.

But that would mean they didn’t love
Enough to make the world a grape.
It hits me like an iron glove!
Start lovin’ lest the world reshape!

II

Love, it’s true, is well and good
But that’s not what propels the earth.
Incompetence misunderstood,
Second-rate, we should rebirth.

Imagine if, when jobs are done,
The work was perfect every time.
Standards checking, we could shun,
The world’s a whole new paradigm!

Yes, we’d save some time and cash,
But would we pay a diff’rent price?
Let’s think this through and not be rash,
It sounds, to me, like paradise!

If jobs were done right every time,
The work would get done twice as fast.
Costs would drop! It sounds just fine!
I think it’s all to good to last!

Need fewer workers – unemployed!
Consumer watchdogs – needed not!
And no more checkers – undeployed!
Lawyers, courts? No! Not a jot!

The unemployed ranks soon would swell,
And, perfectly, they’d do their work.
A consequence none could foretell:
All other work they’d surely shirk!

The health wealth tap would soon be plugged,
With Doctors curing every ill.
No more Doctors, Nurses, drugs,
And that would be a bitter pill.

World economies implode
As more and more are unemployed.
Lifestyles would then soon erode –
The Few delight in schadenfreude!

Incompetents would then rise up,
Restoring balance to the void.
Every time a job’s stuffed up:
More incompetents deployed!

A happy cycle then ensues:
With more work, more mouths we feed.
No more unemployment queues –
Incompetence is what we need!

So you see, my friends, in fact
It’s not love makes the world go round.
Shapeliness it does enact,
But shoddy work we should propound!

Stephen Tomkins
4 December 2015
Sydney

Picture credits:

indulgy.com
en.paperblog.com

Depression is a Word (But not a Sentence)

You look into my haunted eyes

Which represent my failed disguise,

And, though you try to see inside,

I can’t let go my childish pride.

 

You sit and hold me for a while

As, desperately, I feign a smile.

But I’m a man! I don’t need you!

Even though I know that’s so untrue.

 

And so, each day I will resist

The help I need as I persist

To fabricate my mask anew –

The one I know that you see through.

 

At last I can’t hold back the tide,

As down my face the torrents slide.

And now I have to make a choice:

Succumb or give my fears a voice.

 

In seeking help, I gained relief

And learned there’s life beyond my grief.

But though the rain will sometimes fall,

It’s ceased to be a prison wall.

 

Stephen Tomkins

Perth

29 October 2015

 

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

Down Among The Dead Men

flash-and-the-pan-down-among-the-dead-men

“Down among the dead men,” droned the song.
How could they get it so terribly wrong?
So sexist and so morbid too!
It clearly needs a whole redo!

We all know people will pass away,
And sometimes they get led astray,
But female persons all need inclusion –
“PerSONS! Don’t need that confusion!

People of the female kind?
Yes, that’s better, I think you’ll find.
“Down” – that word will never do!
There’s implication there, quite taboo!

“Down” suggests there must be “up”,
So please don’t drink that poisoned cup!
Paternalistic condescension!
No! Level playing field by convention!

“Dead” is clearly too judgemental.
It seems to me more incremental.
So, how would I rewrite that line?
It took some time to redefine:

“People of the non-female kind
Communing in peace and harmony
In a state inconsistent with being fully alive,
While affirming the choice of each
To abandon hierarchical stereotypes.”

(With apologies to Flash and the Pan)

Stephen Tomkins
Perth
29 October 2015

A Day in the Life….

The sun half-heartedly crawls out of bed
And very reluctantly slides overhead.
A veil of ice crystals is covering his face –
One more loathful witness to what will take place.

The Doctor now cheerfully strides down the line
Then gives me a wink to say all will be fine.
Through snow, slush and filth, still the railroad tracks gleam,
The train then appears, as if shrouded in steam.

The chill in the air has invaded my bones
And through the barbed wire, the icy wind moans.
When I ask my Sergeant what all of this means,
“Do your damn duty!” he angrily screams.

The train has arrived and the doors are forced open;
Out fall the people, exhausted and frozen.
With shouting and wailing, selection begins –
The Doctor continues to seek out the twins.

Oh! How did I come to be part of all this,
Since studying music was my source of bliss?
These people did nothing but sadly be born.
The fit and the healthy are stripped and then shorn.

There’s no way, it seems, to escape from this place
Without bringing me and my unit disgrace.
The air here is fetid and really does stink,
And I, when off duty, rely on the drink.

Stephen Tomkins
5 November 2015
Canberra

 Author’s note:
I would like to clarify that this poem is not an attempt to justify the actions of those who inflicted the Holocaust upon the world. They cannot be justified. Rather the poem is an attempt to find humanity where little, if any, existed.

Don’t Take Me For Granted

table

An old wooden table surrounded by chairs,
Fruit of the forest though now no one cares,
Hewn by a craftsman, unknown and unseen,
A tribute to skills now replaced by machine.

Left by the roadside, alone and forlorn,
The table is stained and the chairs are all torn.
A once-prized possession, it took pride of place
Near new, shiny kitchen with refurbished grace.

Convenor of gath’rings and meals to be shared,
Bearer of countless teacups and éclairs,
Witness to laughter and shedding of tears,
Minder of birthday cakes, nibblies and beers.

Silent observer of aging and games,
Patient companion of tapestry frames,
Insatiable voyeur of gossip and jokes,
Of lunch with the ladies and beer with the blokes.

A family member and once well-regarded,
Is no longer needed and so is discarded.
We’re just like that table, I’m sorry to say:
Once no longer useful, we’re left to decay.

But life doesn’t have to end on such a note,
I’m sure you’ll agree this is no time to gloat:
Old age is a lucrative business for some,
So please take the time to go visit your Mum!

Stephen Tomkins
27 September 2015

So You Think You Can Dance?

Ballroom-Dancers-Couple-600x475

Please take a chance and together we’ll dance,
The Bandmaster is playing our song.
Let us float to the beat on our fleet, nimble feet
And pretend, once again, nothing’s wrong.

Round and around the issue we’ll dance,
A Quickstep Denial we’ll choose.
We’ll smile and we’ll swirl and we’ll spin and we’ll whirl;
Other thoughts we will always refuse.

Now and then, we will bump ‘gainst a tail or a trunk
And we’re suddenly singing the blues.
It’s so pleasant to dance when one has half a chance.
In the ‘now’ it’s so good to infuse.

At last, we must rest, our fatigue manifest,
And revive on some ice-cold TV.
But we can’t linger long or we’ll sense what’s been wrong,
So we munch Prozac muffins with glee,

‘Cos we’d rather avoid what’s made life so devoid
Of all pleasure as friendships recede.
So we’ll dance once again and be stoic, strong men,
If that elephant doesn’t stampede.

Stephen Tomkins
2 September 2015

School Days

Where are they now? Those Golden Few
Who, ‘spite their flaws, no wrong could do.

Where are they now? Those blazing sons
Whose daring deeds would leave us stunned.

Where are they now? Those unafraid
Whose innate strength was oft displayed.

Where are they now? Those oh so cool,
O’er whom so many seemed to drool.

Where are they now? The insecure
Who, crushing us, sought their own cure.

Where are they now? They’ve disappeared.
On leaving school, my vision cleared.

Where are they now? Well, I’m still here –
I’m so much better than I’d feared.

Stephen Tomkins
20 October 2014

Update On The Current Situation

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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