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


29 October 2015


I Don’t Understand


Ten years ago my Mum did pass –
Like days not years, they’ve flown so fast.
Begrudge her leaving I could not,
She’d suffered and been through a lot.
But when she died, I was cast adrift,
Awash with turmoil, a paradigm shift.

And though, for me, the world had changed,
I felt I was now quite deranged;
Yet, flooded with unmanly grief,
I quickly stowed my handkerchief
And, ploughing on in stoic style,
I kept in place my phoney smile

While all around me, unabated,
Life kept on, accelerated.
But outrage is just what I felt
As my resolve began to melt.
How could things ever be the same?
Life proved itself a cruel game.

Stephen Tomkins
23 June 2015

It’s All About You.


Just what is a life from among so many?
A drop in the sea? Or a billionaire’s penny?
Would the sea really notice that one drop less?
Or the billionaire suddenly face distress?

Deluding ourselves is a popular sport;
‘Stead of facing the truth, it’s a pleasant resort.
Humanity’s edifice, complex and strong,
Is an image that couldn’t be any more wrong.

Though connected in ways unimagined before,
We live isolated, behind our locked door.
Fearful and lonely and longing for love,
Ignoring our neighbour, beseeching above.

Feigning indifference (perhaps it’s not fake?)
As some of us starve while the rest much on cake,
Demonstrates neatly my heart-breaking point:
Our fates are not separate, they’re clearly conjoint.

Stephen Tomkins
18 June 2015



We fall asleep and then wake up –
There’s nothing new in that.
It’s where we go when somewhere else
That’s worth a little chat.

It seems that slumber sets us free,
Just how we’ll never know.
Our spirits wander far and wide
To stage their nightly show.

We find ourselves as Presidents,
As tyrants and as Kings,
As heroes and as fugitives,
And a thousand other things.

We fall asleep, we fall in love,
We fall off mighty cliffs.
We save the day, we play guitar,
Composing catchy riffs.

And all the while, we stay at home,
But nothing ever changes;
While round the globe and into space
Our spirit freely ranges.

I like to think, when life is done,
And night becomes eternal,
I’ll find myself still free to roam,
Released from chains nocturnal.

Stephen Tomkins
20 October 2014

Singapore Storm


The heavens blackened, down it came!
It never slackened, just the same
The lightning flashed, the thunder roared,
And all the while, the torrents poured.

My ears protested, all in vain
As I ingested airborne rain.
Umbrella useless, shelter nil.
The air took on a nasty chill.

The sun admits defeat and sets;
The moon remains in bed and frets.
Sloshing home, knee-deep in water,
Lightning bolt now poised for slaughter.

Unscathed, I somehow make it back
Without a jump-start heart attack!
In steaming tub, I’m thawing out,
There’s zero chance there’ll be a drought.

Stephen Tomkins
14 March 2015

Guess where?



Eventually the sun will rise
And I will don my slick disguise.
Eventually I’ll have to prise
Myself from bed, my act reprise.
Eventually I’ll see the sun
And realise life’s just begun.
Eventually I’ll find some fun
That pierces my desire to shun.
Eventually my heart will heal
And I’ll allow myself to feel.
Eventually I will unseal
My soul and my true self reveal.
Eventually I’ll understand
That pain will end, not reprimand.
Eventually I will disband
Excuse, pretence and live firsthand.
Eventually I’ll win the fight
If only I can survive this interminable night….

Stephen Tomkins
3 February 2015