The World is Way Too Much

Silhouette trees close ranks to shield

The now-departed sun,

The chill advances by degrees

Then breaks into a run.

Incandescent suns on poles

Shed cold mid-winter light,

Holding back, at least for now,

A brash mid-winter night.

Here in the fortress nation,

Largely, we can feel secure –

Just keep those borders welded shut

Until there is a cure.

Yet in the throes of vaccine woes

We choose to close our eyes,

Pretending COVID’s gone away,

Denial justifies.

While in the mall, behind the wall,

The spending knows no peer,

As long as over there remains

Away from over here.

Stephen Tomkins
24 May 2021
Sydney

Life Diminished

Where commuters once would surge,
Driven by a common urge,
Uneasy silence reigns instead,
Bound by an unspoken dread.

Deep within their fortress homes,
Guarded by their garden gnomes,
The people sit in disbelief,
United in a sudden grief.

All the plans and all the goals,
Shipwrecked on unbidden shoals,
And as the next wave hits the shore,
They’re broken up a little more.

In an outer ring of Hell,
The people, mostly, are all well,
And though he wishes no one ill,
It seems Death’s not yet had his fill.

So, they remain in limbo yet,
A vaccine not an even bet.
Authorities are clueless still
With re-election to fulfil.

Stephen Tomkins
28 October 2020
Sydney

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

The Guru

When the virus started,

The whole world was on the brink.

Didn’t like the sound of that,

Decided I should drink.

Started off with water,

Hoped I’d wash those germs away.

Then I made a bleachy mix

‘Cause He said, “That’s the way!”

 

Shone UV light down my throat,

Some other places too.

Ended up with nasty burns,

Oh! How I hate the loo!

This COVID thing continued on,

So lockdown lingered longer.

Despite my disinfectant shots,

I needed something stronger.

 

I shifted to pure alcohol,

It’s kind of like a cleaning.

It gave the saying “being smashed”

A new and nasty meaning.

When I regained my consciousness,

I felt quite close to death:

My pounding head, my nausea,

My slow and laboured breath.

 

Thought, “COVID can’t be worse than this!”

Although I wasn’t sure.

I grabbed my phone and felt relieved

‘Cause He had tweeted more.

“One day, just like a miracle,

It will have gone away.

‘Til then, I’ve done and awesome job –

That’s all there is to say!”

 

The Guru spoke and I paid heed

To all His learned words.

I quit my drinking

And then joined His vast, adoring herds.

 

Stephen Tomkins
7 May 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

Killing Time

Killing Time drawing

Time, you may know, is not a bad guy;

Sometimes he will tarry, sometimes he will fly.

He never forgets you not lets you slip by,

Remembers your birthday, though I’m not sure why.

 

When I spoke of wasting, I now must lament,

I simply assumed that you knew what I meant.

For sometimes, I’m sorry, but time must be killed

But not by machine gun – I don’t want him drilled!

 

For time is the one thing that everyone spends,

At work or at home or maybe with friends.

Like it or not, time will never sit still –

So, spend it or waste it, we’ve all time to kill.

 

Stephen Tomkins

21 January 2020

Melbourne

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

Viral

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Not that long ago,

Going viral was good;

If something was clever

Or funny, you could.

 

Now going viral

Means you have the bug –

A milestone that will not

Be met with a hug.

 

So please keep your distance,

A mile will do fine,

I’d just rather not

Make your malady mine.

 

Stephen Tomkins
20 March 20
Socially distant in Sydney

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