Happy Anniversary!

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
– John Lennon et al.

We had made it! We’d reached twenty-five years of marriage! My wife, co-conspirator, leading lady, best friend, confidante, advisor, instructor, superior officer, lover, patient and long-suffering companion, and bride and I were still together despite everything life had thrown at us! And that we’d thrown at each other!

In this day and age, that’s quite an achievement.

To celebrate this momentous event, I had organised a few days, away without the kids, in Adelaide – a place Monica, my wife, had never visited. We managed to escape from home without any major disasters. The flight to Adelaide was pleasant and uneventful. We were picked up promptly at the airport by the limousine I had arranged and taken to our hotel where we were upgraded to a luxury room for no additional cost.

Things were proceeding better than I had hoped.

The gift I had ordered online arrived intact and was as lovely as advertised – and arrived on time! She was suitably surprised.

We spent a lovely afternoon exploring Glenelg, by the beach.

On our return to the hotel, we were both a little weary so we decided to have a light meal from room service. We had booked a car for the next day to go wandering through the Adelaide hills. What could possibly go wrong after such a wonderful start?

Food poisoning, that’s what. Monica spent the night back and forth to the bathroom and the next day, our twenty-fifth anniversary, clutching a bowl, a towel and hovering near the bathroom. I spent the day tending to my poor bride’s needs. There was little I could do really.

It struck me that this is exactly what marriage is like. Beyond the glitz and dreamy-eyed romance of the early days together and the hype of the wedding day, marriage is just life, but in larger font. You make your plans, dream about what you will do together and then reality steps in.

It’s how you deal with derailments, disappointments, pleasant surprises and other unexpected eventualities that will determine the success or otherwise of a marriage. Or, indeed, a life.

Stephen Tomkins
27 April 2017
Sydney

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Who Needs Feelings Anyway?

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So, how do I feel?
Well, where do I start?
For many long years
I’ve kept chains on my heart.
Those feelings kept captive
Would flow just like blood,
If freed, I’m afraid
I’d just drown in the flood.

The chains and their locks
Are maintained with great care.
It’s really much safer
If feelings stay there.
And though I may yearn
Now to share them with you,
I’ve been burned before
Though they said they’d be true.

Words may be knives –
They’re heard once and are gone,
But feelings remain
And the wounds linger long.
So am I a coward
Or merely pragmatic?
I’m fragile right now –
Could you be diplomatic?

Stephen Tomkins
1 May 2016
Hong Kong

Photo credit:
giphy.com

 

Spoils of War

I’ve spent some time inside myself,
Preparing my defences:
Laying coils of barbed wire down
And shoring up my trenches.
Just when I thought I’m safely done,
O’er No Man’s Land you soar
And, on my helpless heart again,
Your mighty bombs you pour.

My trenches are all worthless now,
My barbed wire all gone.
Into my heart, you’re free to storm,
Your victory is won.
Is your triumph worth its price?
And does it still taste sweet?
How can love ever again entice,
No matter who I meet?

Stephen Tomkins
20 January 2016
Sydney

The Hermit

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Scuttling sideways, it’s progress I guess,
Bright, shiny shell on, it’s my mode of dress.
My pincers, I click then to let them all see
There can be no doubt: all is OK with me.
But once in my burrow, then off comes my shell,
Revealing my true self, though they’d never tell.
You see, I’m a person and not what I seem,
I’m really quite fragile – no it’s not a dream.
I long to find one who I can be myself with
But all I can see are a billion more shellfish.

Stephen Tomkins
6 May 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
http://www.fanpop.com

Heartless

shattered-heart

There’s a road somewhere that’s paved with hearts.
It won’t be found on any charts.
The hearts are all smashed into parts:
That’s why the ride’s so rough.

Some like to drive on very fast,
Not even caring what they’ve passed,
Plagued by what lies in their past,
And that, for them, is tough.

Some like to revel in the pain,
Reversing back and forth again.
They treat the world with pure disdain
And fail to see their need.

Then there are those that drive in tanks,
Detached from all the other cranks.
They neither want nor offer thanks
And focus on their greed.

From time to time, though, someone stops,
While rushing homeward from the shops.
From their faces streaming drops:
Another paver laid!

And very rarely someone cares
Enough to pause and make repairs.
Somehow they carry bags of spares,
Not wanting to be paid.

But most of us just rush on through,
We’ve all so very much to do.
Our shattered hearts just can’t be tracked,
So better fix them while they’re cracked.

Stephen Tomkins
13 June 2014