Life in a Minor Key

We speak of life just like the weather,
Act as if we’ll live forever,
Judge by looks and bold pretence,
Consider wealth our best defence.

We hold our life within our hands,
While it slips through like silken sands,
And focussed through a camera’s portal,
Part of us becomes immortal.

Life’s finest crystal, softly wrought,
Only once it’s gone is sought.
Passing through just like a thought,
Life can be sold but can’t be bought.

And as life turns another page,
We tango with advancing age,
And pay again our yearly wage,
Until it’s time to leave the stage.

Stephen Tomkins
21 September 2020
Sydney

Grey

Rain is falling, sky is grey.

Normally, I love the rain

But today the sky is crying

As it tries to ease my pain.

 

Respectfully, the sun remains

Discretely distant, as a friend.

The clouds descend and kiss the ground –

It’s raining in my soul again.

 

Taking refuge in my room,

There’s not much more I have to say.

The world continues unconcerned –

I think I’ll skip it for today.

 

Stephen Tomkins
12 June 2020
Sydney

Raw

The sun is shining,

Breeze is warm.

The streets are busy,

That’s the norm.

But on the path,

A guy’s asleep.

His few belongings

In a heap.

 

The world continues,

Cars drive past.

And yet, for him,

The die is cast.

Somehow, he’s lost

This endless game.

Does anyone still

Know his name?

 

He had a mother,

Father too.

Where are they now,

His childhood crew?

He lives now

In a silent place –

Invisible,

Yet in disgrace.

 

How did he get here?

Where to go?

Does anyone

Still care or know?

So, what’s the answer?

What to do?

As I walk past,

I wish I knew.

 

Stephen Tomkins
5 March 2020
Los Angeles

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

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

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

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

 

 

A Heart

How easily the head can drown out a heart

And, certainly, life likes to play its own part.

Bills to be paid and things to be done –

No time to play nor walk in the sun.

 

Weeks can dissolve and months fade away

While, down in the trenches, we battle with days.

New Year, then Easter, then Christmas arrive,

While all we can do is fight to survive.

 

The heart is forgotten, but still it beats on

And, sometimes, we wonder just where we went wrong.

But this is all part of the fabric of life –

A heart’s done its job when you know you’re alive.

 

Stephen Tomkins
10 February 2019
Osaka

 

 

Music on the Radio

Highway traffic, moving slow.

No way round it, don’tcha know?

Music on the radio,

Won’t you make the traffic go?

 

Interrupting urgent ads,

Saving me from useless fads,

Music on the radio,

Can’t you make the traffic flow?

 

Fervent preaching sermonising,

Commentators patronising.

Music on the radio –

I know, I know, I know.

 

In the mornings, afternoons,

Endless talk by paid buffoons.

Music on the radio,

Please just make the workday go.

 

Stephen Tomkins
15 March 2019
Singapore