The Power of the Shower

shower-vworif

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

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A Little Perspective, Please

Seeing myself quite so dead on the bed 

Has certainly changed my perspective. 

“Take care of your health” is what I’d always said, 

But it turns out my heart was defective.

It’s a little too late for such drastic resorts,

Still they zapped me with 10,000 volts.

Though I’m grateful they’re thinking such positive thoughts,

I’m now just a bucket of bolts.

“Death comes to us all” as old sayings contend

Though he shows us such open contempt.

Some struggle and fight making bitter their end

As if fighting will make them exempt.

Now, I must say farewell as I start to ascend –

I’ll soon have such stories to tell.

A cool summer breeze whispers, “Welcome, old friend”,

So I feel now that all will be well.

Stephen Tomkins

25 June 2017

Hong Kong

All For Nought

Pushed back early, joined the queue,
Did all we could really do.
Flew all night, increased the speed,
Gently urged our noble steed.
Right course steered, the sun appeared,
At last the destination neared.
Commenced descent, the clouds were rent,
The bright approach lights heaven sent.
Touchdown nice, reverse applied,
Braked and airspeed slowly died.
A hint of satisfaction now
(Well, we could hardly take a bow!).
And then hit by a hammer blow –
No parking bay, so taxi slow!
After all we’d had to do
To get connecting passengers through!
We found a taxiway unused
And there we sat with more fuel used.
At least we weren’t the only ones
As fuel burned up in metric tonnes!
A selfish aircraft, so delayed,
Blocked the bay for which we’d paid.
At last, to push they finally asked,
In sweet relief, we briefly basked.
A false alarm: they’d closed the door
With some ground staff still on board!
Finally, they pushed and left
And ceased their terminal tenure theft!
At least the airport owner’s pleased,
With every inch of tarmac leased!

Stephen Tomkins
16 March 2017
Sydney

 No prizes for guessing which airport!

The Miracle Factory

Open all hours and open each day,
The Miracle Factory beavers away.
The Miracle Workers all wear special clothes
And speak their own language that no one else knows
With monitors, pumps and needles and tubes
And other cool gizmos that only they use,
Conduct arcane rituals from far distant lands
Attended by quizzing and laying-on of hands.

The Miracle Seekers, reluctant, attend
The Miracle Factory and hope they can mend
All kinds of ailments and injuries too,
In full expectation that they’ll all pull through.
But sadly, though, sometimes this isn’t the case,
And this is a thing that we’ll all have to face.
Still, in denial, we’d much rather stay –
In awe of the Factory that beavers away.

Stephen Tomkins
19 March 2017
Sydney

Okay! You’ve Made Your (Power)Point!

 

The import of this meeting overrated cannot be.
I am a little nervous but that’s just ‘tween you and me!
For suitable attire, my whole wardrobe I have scoured.
My new bowtie analysis has left me quite empowered!

I stride into the meeting room, exuding style and poise,
My large piccolo latte shows I’m not one of the boys!
I open up my MacBook, shine the Apple in their eyes,
Confident they’ll all be fooled by my complete disguise!

I funnel feedback down the line, cascading here and there,
The conversation’s now offline – they haven’t got a prayer!
My (Power)Point is made so well they dare not ask a question –
But if they did, I’d beat them down with my raw condescension!

They show their slides, I smile and nod and grant them my approval –
But all the while, I’m plotting my new Boss’ sad removal!
Today, the Emperor’s brand new clothes are still the height of fashion –
It’s great to see them worn so well, with pride and so much passion!

Stephen Tomkins
23 March 2016
Sydney

Office life

Photo credits;

blog.injetwholesale.com.au
dreamstime.com

The Festering Season

It’s the Festering Season all over again:

A most joyous time for all women and men.

Passed a whole year has for old wounds to mend

And breed the good will that such healing attends.

 

But old wounds are good wounds and this time of year

Is perfect for festering with wine and with beer.

A thought may be thought but it’s best not unleashed

Unless thought right through, lest the tension’s increased.

 

Still, why spoil the fireworks of family and friends –

So skilfully opening those old wounds again?

So, sit back, enjoy this year’s floor-show and dinner.

Just stay on the sidelines and you’ll be a winner.

 

Stephen Tomkins

10 December 2016

Singapore

Mosquito Est Morte! (An Opera in the Making!)

Once my life was so tranquilo
With my hundred sweet bambinos,
Now I’m cryin’ all the time
Because there’s only ninety-nine!
The hand of God (or so it seemed)
Smacked my son and now he’s creamed!

How I tried that hand to veto!
Oh! That heartless huge bandito!
Pay, he will, for murderous deeds:
It’s he I’ll see for my next feed!
But to him I’m incognito
So I’ll leave one huge graffito!

Then he’ll rue his evil crime –
Justice truly is quite blind!
Though my heart will not be healed,
This criminal won’t be concealed!
My banner on his arm unfurled:
“One Less Mosquito in the World!”

Stephen Tomkins
9 August 2016
Manila

Play Nicely with the Other Children

A new preschool recently opened across the road from me. Thinking about enrolling my youngest child, I asked if I could sit in for a morning to see if I would be comfortable leaving my son there. “Sure”, came the ready reply from the professional-looking Principal.

Over the next hour or so, the place filled up quickly with bright-eyed two- to five-year-olds. The first formal activity was Show and Tell. This will be illuminating, thought I.

Maria was the first to stand. “I brought in a set of Daddy’s old knuckles”, she said, proudly displaying a worn set of knuckle-dusters.

“Aren’t they illegal?” I murmured to the teacher.

“No. They’re ok in this State,” she replied. “She’s not going to use them anyway….”

Next was Alphonse. I thought my surprise for the day had passed. I was wrong. Three-year-old Alphonse whipped out a hunting knife, beaming from ear to ear.

“Isn’t that…..” I began.

“No. It’s ok in this State. He’s hardly likely to use it on anyone, though, is he?” she countered.

I gave her a very doubtful look which she happily ignored.

Miriam now took centre stage with her Grandfather’s Luger which, she proudly informed us, he had taken from a dead German officer during the war.

I cautiously rose to my feet.

“Don’t worry”, said the teacher, laying a comforting hand on my arm. “It’s so old I doubt it even works. In any case, guns don’t kill, people do. And Miriam doesn’t look like a killer, does she?”

Miriam gave me a disarming smile.

“I suppose…”

“That’s nothing,” boomed little Joshua, as he staggered to the front, desperately trying to carry an M-16 assault rifle.

“Oh, come on!” I exclaimed.

The teacher could see where I was heading and cut me off. “They are perfectly legal in this State!” she pronounced. “And we do insist on the standard magazines rather than the oversize ones. Anyway, guns don’t…”

“I know, I know,” I replied.

For some reason, I was not feeling particularly comfortable at the thought of my three-year-old immersed in such a culture.

I lay awake that night trying to make sense of it all. Suddenly, it was all crystal clear: fists don’t punch – people do. Knives don’t stab – people do. Guns don’t kill – people do. Nuclear weapons don’t destroy the planet for centuries to come – people do. The solution is simple – ban people!

Not me, of course, I’m perfectly rational. If you disagree with that, then you clearly have a problem. So, I’m afraid, you will be banned.

 

Stephen Tomkins

19 July 2016

Sydney

Two Cats and a Tom

I have now decided to branch into short stories as well as my poetry. This post is my first foray into that style. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

lol-cats-photos-M-OpenBarFinal

Two Cats and a Tom

The waitress led me to a table by the window in the bar on the top floor of my luxury hotel, overlooking Hong Kong’s magnificent harbour. The constellation of coloured lights winked as I sat and ordered a drink. As luck would have it, at the next table sat two Cats and a Tom.

“Puh-leeaase”, said the Tom. “Gravy train, gravy train”.

I wondered what language he was speaking.

“He’s had his snout in the trough for years”, replied Cat 1.

Ahh! Here was a language I understood. The Cats were fashionably dressed with tasteful jewellery and makeup while the Tom was casually dressed with his hair smothered in “product”. I doubt that it could have moved even if the super-typhoon off the coast had appeared in the bar. While the trio sat still, their tails whipped back and forth (as is the way with cats) to indicate their minds were working overtime.

Cat 2 interrupted her grooming to mumble something, at which the others nodded sagely as if something profound had just been said.

In the far corner of the bar, the pianist began playing and the singer began yowling off key. There was no doubt I was tired but I began to wonder if I’d walked into some private bar for felines. My fears were confirmed as the conversation continued.

“He had no idea when he worked on the line,” (this was not a reference to the Internet) continued Cat 1. “So he moved into management as soon as he could.”

My eyes had now adjusted to the half-light and I could make out the painted claws gleaming and clearly ready for action.

Cat 2 now made another contribution, “I was there when a passenger had a heart attack and John (not his real name) went into meltdown. I had to take over while he pretended to direct the action. He got an Excel award and I got nothing! Hello! I was there too!”

“Typical!”, replied the Cat 1.

“Would you care for another champagne?”, asked the Tom.

“Ooonnnee stip closerrrr”, shrieked the singer in the background. Somehow the glass appeared unaffected.

“Oh yes!”, purred the Cats.

A whip of the Tom’s lustrous tail was sufficient to bring the waiter. “Three more champagnes please,” said the Tom. He continued, “We used to do shuttles to New York. They were sooo tiring.”

I must have missed the connection.

Cat 2 replied, “Just about everyone from my initial course has got an Excel award but I haven’t yet. I don’t understand why.”

“But the most tiring of all,” moaned the Tom to no one in particular, “were the Mumbai shuttles. They were shockers.”

Cat 1 now entered her own orbit. “I can’t wait to get back to Tokyo. Being downtown is so much better than being out near the airport.”

“I have leeerrrrved yoooouuuu!” droned the singer. Another patron burst into enraptured applause. I was uncertain as to whether he had enjoyed the song or was simply relieved it had finished.

As I quickly drained my glass, it occurred to me that I was glad that the motivation for those who care for me inflight had so much to do with my wellbeing. Cats might fly! Another day in paradise.

 

Stephen Tomkins
8 July 2016
Hong Kong

Photo credit:
johnlund.com

 

 

This Humble Bean

IMG_0742

This humble little Bean, untouched by human hands,
Growing unmolested in the soil of distant lands.
Valued more than dollars, pounds and even life itself,
It doesn’t linger long upon the tree or café shelf.

Its devotees may contemplate the meaning of the Bean
In sample-selling salons here and there and in between.
A life spent in such contemplation, surely, is well spent.
Ten dollars for a cup of Joe? Yep! It’s worth every cent!

Pulling, pressing, percolating – don’t care how it’s done!
I need a double shot right now – I’ll take it on the run!
Who cares about the price of oil or gold or other things?
What matters is the warming buzz and joy that coffee brings!

Stephen Tomkins
22 March 2016
Sydney