True Love

Jesus himself died to save us, it’s said.

He submitted so humbly, then rose from the dead.

If, in the world, there were no one but me,

Without hesitation, he’d embrace that tree.

 

Try as I might, I just can’t comprehend

For my sake, Our Lord would from Heaven descend

And, further, for me, to such suffering submit,

Considering me worthy of sin to acquit.

 

Beyond comprehension is such love divine

And yet, for the taking, such love can be mine.

He loves without scruples; He is love itself.

How could I have known I’d be blessed with such wealth?

 

Stephen Tomkins
8 October 2018
Osaka

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Life Goes On

All through the almighty uproar and din,

He patiently waited for life to begin.

He studied and worked and did all that he should,

Did all that they told him, he yearned to be good.

 

And just when he thought he had earned his reward,

It was then that they cut his umbilical cord.

All that he was hissed right out through the hole

And blew him straight into a night black as coal.

 

But when he’d accepted he’d breathed his last breath,

They stopped up the hole and so saved him from death.

Once more, he began to do all that he should,

Do all that they told him, do more than he could.

 

The treadmill continued until he was old

And, hunched by the fire to ward off the cold,

He stared at the fire, entranced by the flames

Recalling his friends – he’d forgotten their names.

 

At last, he could see just how foolish he’d been,

Waiting each day for his life to begin –

His life had been rolling along the whole time.

In spite of the hardships, his life was just fine.

 

Stephen Tomkins
27 September 2018
Sydney

Hang On

The Pool of Smiles is empty now,

Its fountain has run dry.

The Lake of Tears is full somehow –

It makes me want to cry.

 

Products come with warnings now,

Sharp edges and small parts.

So, sign this full disclaimer vow,

Beware those sudden starts.

 

But life is so damn risky now –

No solace do they give.

The highs, the lows, the undertows,

It’s painful just to live.

 

What’s that? I hear a giggle now,

The sun peeps through the rain.

So, plough on through the vines and boughs,

There’s joy beyond the pain.

 

Stephen Tomkins
18 September 2018
Sydney

Wars

We talk of battles, we talk of wars;

We fight for each other, we fight for a cause.

And though we might wish to fight goblins or elves,

The real wars are those fought inside of ourselves.

 

Sometimes we don’t know that we’re fighting in there,

And sometimes we’re only too keenly aware –

And though all these battles aren’t fought with a gun,

The battles are real, and the war’s never won.

 

Sometimes, we will feel worn right down to the bone –

Just understand that you’re never alone.

Some battles we’ll win, and some may leave us bruised:

To fight on is the only way we’ll never lose.

 

Stephen Tomkins
11 August 2018
Sydney

Choices

School-Choice-HQ

Long ago, I’d come to dread

The choices looming up ahead.

Now the intersection’s clear,

The day of reckoning is here.

Soon there’ll be no turning back,

Once I choose the narrow track.

Steep and winding it will be

But it’s the only one for me.

When I pass around the bend,

I’ll not see you again, my friend.

Let no one your decision make –

For only you the path can take.

 

Stephen Tomkins

17 July 2018

Shanghai

Gone Too Soon

Though we try to understand,

The flowers say it best:

A life in full-bloom plucked away

And hastened to its rest.

 

Straining to articulate,

In vain we seek a voice.

So, we resort to hugs and tears,

As if we had a choice.

 

To void the Reaper’s deathly grin,

We focus on a life –

Thankful for a life well-lived,

It still cuts like a knife.

 

Stephen Tomkins
11 September 2018
Sydney

Take a Chance

I’ve got your back, you’ve got mine –

Lived that way, life would be fine.

But sadly, that’s not how it works

Though that could be one of life’s sweet perks.

 

We view each other with grim suspicion,

Relying on some weird intuition.

Instead of giving each other a chance,

We engage in some kind of deadly dance.

 

You know, we might just be surprised,

Our neighbourly opinion might be revised.

We might find ourselves a brand-new friend –

One on whom we can depend.

 

And isn’t that what we truly seek,

As from behind our wall we peek?

Lower the drawbridge, the portcullis raise.

Watch the sun break through the haze.

 

Stephen Tomkins
26 July 2018
Sydney

 

 

New Year

On New Year’s Eve

We celebrate,

Our vocal cords

We lubricate.

On New Year’s Day

We hibernate

And, when we rise,

We medicate.

 

And so begins

A brand-new year,

Awash with wine

And kegs of beer.

It’s like we want

To purge the stain

Of every previous

New Year’s pain.

 

Fireworks

There may well be,

Though if we

Could truly see,

We’d understand

A year’s not new

Unless there’s change

In me and you.

Stephen Tomkins
12 February 2018
Shanghai

 

 

Unexpected

I walked past Fortress Hill station
In a dull, grey Hong Kong today
And found the ghost of my father
Had been following all the way.
And when I turned to face him
He vanished in the crowd,
While I just stood there gasping,
Fighting my way free of his shroud.

But he’d opened a door to the past
That wasn’t so easy to close,
And I was left with a yearning
His presence had once more imposed.
He’d never been easy to talk to,
Though I’d dearly love to have tried,
So I was faced with no option
But to find somewhere private and cry.

Stephen Tomkins
6 March 2018
Hong Kong

Words

English is my talky choice.

For that I use my talky voice.

For those whose English not so good,

I hope I can be understood.

My English good I think it is.

You see, I am a language whiz.

 

Laugh you can at my mistakes!

You should maybe give me breaks.

I speak the language six or seven.

I try to learn some more, eleven.

How many speak you? Two or three?

Just the one? That was once me.

 

Stephen Tomkins
2 November 2017
Perth