Happy

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“People make you happy” said the Wise Man once to me.
“Things create more problems, always was and thus shall be.”
Profound, prophetic words spoke he – at least that’s what I thought,
But as my life progressed, I found that wisdom came to nought.

Things are neither good nor bad, it’s what we use them for:
They can be used to kill or to relieve a tiresome chore.
People, on the other hand, are often good and bad
And very often people are the ones who make you sad.

Things will either work or not and sometimes seem capricious
And, though sometimes they’ll drive us mad, they never are malicious.
People kill and people steal and people lie and cheat,
And peoples sometimes treat you like you’re just a slab of meat.

Yet people are the ones who can give life its greatest meaning;
So confused am I that I’m not sure which way I’m leaning.
But if you have been blessed and found good people in your life,
Then look for nothing more, my friend, you’ll only find more strife.

Stephen Tomkins
6 March 2017
Perth

Photo credit: happy face AdobeStock_65597478 2017

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The Gift

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A lottery ticket’s of no use to me
Though a million or two would be nice.
For were I to win, it just wouldn’t be fair
Since luck would have favoured me twice.

What had I done to deserve my first win?
Nothing I know of, it’s true.
Taken for granted for so many years,
My prize I’ll now point out to you.

Born in Australia, to parents sincere,
They clothed, fed and raised me in peace.
How could I perceive my good fortune so young
When granted by chance or caprice?

If born somewhere else, of a different race,
Perhaps I would not have survived.
Instead, though I whine, take for granted my time,
Grateful, I should be, I thrived.

And though I’m still wary of those diff’rent to me,
To prejudge them, I have no right.
For I could so easily be where they are
And day would be unending night.

Stephen Tomkins
8 June 2017
Melbourne

Photo credit: nhlottery.com

 

The Power of the Shower

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When darkness falls
Although the sun shines brightly,
When troubles come
And weigh my spirit down,
Then I recall
You wait there in the silence.
I turn the tap
And watch relief rain down.

Your steaming jets
Will wash away my anger,
Your clouds of steam
Revive my weary dreams.
I linger long
Despite the drought impending
And my wife’s
Shrill icy shower screams.

I once was strong
But now am pleasant-smelling,
My hair was lank
And shines now like the sun.
If we could dwell
Forever in your torrents,
I guess our work
Would never be begun.

Your gentle rain
Lifts away my burdens,
Your soothing splash
Erases all my fears.
I need no more
To drink away my sorrows,
The water flows
Although I’m in arrears.

Stephen Tomkins
19 May 2017
Singapore

 If desired, can also be sung to the tune of “You Raise Me Up”, sung by Josh Groban et al.

Photo credit: baychoicebariatrics.com

Brothers in Harm

In peacetime, I wouldn’t be seen dead with these others;
In wartime, I’d lay down my life for these brothers.
Not that long ago, we were mere babes-in-arms
Of mothers who saw nothing but for our charms.

Wherein lies the fault between enemy and friend?
Who must I kill and who should I defend?
Hatred is something not innate but learned –
A paradox when claiming “For peace we all yearn.”

At Boot Camp, they mould a most disparate group
Into a bonded and brotherly troop.
So, were you here then, you’d now be on my side,
But since you were not, I should kill you with pride.

Is the answer in language or your uniform?
Or maybe appearance or where you were born?
I’d rather not do this but since you’ll kill me,
I’ll kill in a heartbeat to keep us all free.

Stephen Tomkins
22 November 2016
Sydney

At a Loss

The fragile petals now will fall.
The leaves, of course, fell first of all.
And through it all she sits there still,
Living yet, against her will.

Her husband bravely does his best,
Including now a feeble jest.
She cried and cried, her tears now dried,
Since the day her baby died.

If only this, if I’d done that,
The self-destructive mental chat
Continues on inside her head
And fills her husband with such dread.

He prays she simply needs more time
To learn to deal with such a crime.
For now, he mourns not one but two:
The baby’s one, his wife now too.

Stephen Tomkins
14 January 2017
Sydney

Red Balloon

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I float through the world like a big red balloon –

Drifting and dreaming and bumping along,

Borne on the currents of breeze and monsoon,

Collecting experiences, none right nor wrong.

Behind and below me, there trails my long string,

If you want my attention, then give it a tug,

But don’t get excited, I don’t plan a thing

‘Cause I live for the moment, a kiss or a hug.

If I’m floating off, you can drag me your way

And I’ll happily follow along for a while

Till a zephyr distracts me and I’m borne away.

But don’t be upset, I’ll depart with a smile.

The winds are so fickle, I may soon return

From brand new adventures with tall tales to tell.

At some point, perhaps, for a home I may yearn:

Only love will entice me off this carousel.

 

Stephen Tomkins
19 October 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
Pinterest

The Sweetest Thing

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The sun has packed up and gone home for the night,
Leaving behind a soft silvery light.
The sea has now dressed in a purplish blue,
And clouds are all lilac to fit in there too.
A heavenly breeze whispers subtle deceit,
Caressing away the day’s tropical heat.
But while my surroundings idyllic may be,
I remember that nothing in life comes for free –
Except the free-given love of that someone,
Unearned, undeserved, moulding two into one.

Stephen Tomkins
29 September 2016
Honolulu

Photo credit:
wallpaperup.com

Don’t Give Up

No matter the storms that you’re facing,
Nor the westerly gales.
No matter whose hand on the tiller,
Nor the wind in your sails.
Keep your eyes fixed on the North Star,
And remember the tales
Of those who sailed here before you
And, though their memory pales,
The demons they faced then no stranger
Than the ones you face now.
So breathe deep, set your face and
Take your place at the bow.

Stephen Tomkins
1 September 2016
Singapore

It Was I

‘Twas I who nailed you to the tree,
Mired in muck, unable to see.

‘Twas I who flayed your sinless back
With my shattered soul, sin-black.

‘Twas I who shaped your crown of thorns,
I, so lost, alone, forlorn.

‘Twas I who hurled abuse at you,
My own self-loathing, gladly spewed.

‘Twas I who lanced your heart divine,
In doing so, I’d broken mine.

And, through it all, you never ceased
To love and so my shame increased.

But when, at last, I too was crushed,
So gently to my aid you rushed.

How could I have been such a fool?
Ne’er again let my pride rule!

Stephen Tomkins
11 April 2016
Sydney

Deeper

Two eyes, a nose, a mouth and chin
Set in endless shades of skin.
So different and yet still the same,
Each mix a chance genetic game.

And though I look a bit like you,
We may not share a common view
But still we both laugh, smile and cry,
Feel tired and hurt, with teary eye.

Yet so important are our looks,
The subject fills a million books.
The shape of my nose, the shade of my skin –
Really? Must judgement here begin?

Stephen Tomkins
5 July 2016
Sydney