Toby Robins

Toby Robins


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Coming Home

Written By: Toby Robins

Coal fire smoke welcoming the dusk
Steamed up evening windows; a feast upon the stove
Friendly yellow dog, bounding up with trust
I have come from far away; I have come from round the globe

I’m weary and I’m tired but I’m warm now and I’m safe
It’s cold out there and dark; a wolf is howling in the hills
The fur I wear is heavy now, at least that’s my belief
The tips are dusted light with snow; the leather has grown chilled

The season has surprised me, turning savage like a beast
I’d turned and fled her wintry tail, blazing forth towards the sun
But her icy teeth have sniffed me out, come biting from the East
My eyes they stream, my ears do scream, my frozen mouth is dumb

I shiver in the wooden chair and it scrapes across the floor
The whiskey trembles in my grip while fire warms my eyes
My elbows rest on table top, my core begins to thaw
The wind sends ghosts around the house, in beckons, moans and cries

But dawn seeps through the valley depths and paints the distant hills
And rinses off night’s ink black strokes and dyes her canvas sky
And slips away in finger breadths with a final parting chill
As daylight swims in after her, tentative and shy

The past is paid, the present tense, the future’s out on loan
For the moment, though, I’ll breathe a bit, for I have made it home
I was cold, and all alone, numbed and frozen to the bone
For the moment, though, I’ll close my eyes, for I have made it home

Half a Second

Written By: Toby Robins

She couldn't see; the bus was in the way
It would never have occurred to him that she would U-turn anyway
She thought that it would be okay - after all it wasn't far
Until he rode his motorbike underneath her car

Half a second is all it takes for everything to change
Half a second is all it takes for your life to rearrange
Half a second for the world you know to crack and crumble down
Half a second for your own soul to slip away without a sound

She was impervious to what he had to say
Nothing he could think of could make her see the light of day
And looking down into his face, with dry, determined eyes,
She tilted her head and said, it's time to say goodbye


(He'd worked inside that factory for forty-seven years
They took three of his fingers and one of his ears
You've given us good service, they said, but the market is starting to slow
The way of things can't be changed, our good man, we are letting you go)

She set the silver on the table, tied back her hair, and smoothed her frock
She lit the centre candle and waited, taking glances at the clock
Just as the glances turned to pleading looks, there came a knocking at the door
Said a kid in blue with a crew cut do, your husband won't be coming home no more

Time to Pay

Written By: Toby Robins

You can cry - you can cry and curse and cuss
And you can try to deny that you were wrong
So she's kicking up a bit of a fuss
Just do now what you were supposed to do all along

You haven't got a single fucking clue
Do you even have any idea
Of what you've put them through
Of what it actually means to care?

You can't just offload it all onto her again
It wasn't fair from the start
And now you're balking because the time has come when
You might actually have to play your part
It's time to pay

You make the excuse you did it for them
And though, in part, that may be true
There's a condition your minds conveniently condemn
You put them number two

There was no reason you had to stay
Besides your selfish pride
And after all, you simply had to send them away
Otherwise your little dream might have died


And now your daughter cries every night
'Cause she just wants it to be okay (yes she does)
And now it's time for her to start living her own life
To make up for the one you stole away

You gave her the job that you should have done
You took a gamble with their lives - you rolled the dice
And while they were growing up alone, you made sure to have your fun
And now, it seems, you're finally paying the price


Written By: Toby Robins

They say all good things must end
And here we are
It has been an honour and a privilege, my friends
That, together, we’ve made it this far

As I stand with you now, with my glass in my hand
And I look to all of you
As tears sting my eyes, before you I stand
And tonight I pledge to you

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

We set out at dawn with our eyes open wide
We headed for the sun
We fought up the river – our knees to the tide
You’ve got to admit it was fun

For the road, it was long, and the mountains were steep
But, together, we pushed on through
And when our mouths became dry and our bones became weak
As one, our spirit grew

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Now every book’s chapters must draw to a close
And we are at that place
And time only quickens; time never slows
And with it, I carry each face

And from all of night’s dreams we must wake
To touch the orange of morning
So what if you made some mistakes
The day upon us is dawning

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Sopwith Alopecia

Written By: Toby Robins

Sopwith Alopecia was the dog who belonged to his own
Didn’t wear no tiny collar, didn’t chew no perfumed bone
Shaggy was his beard and bedraggled was his coat
For he had no one to please, for he had no one to dote

Sopwith Alopecia did belong to no one other
He belonged to no one’s Queen and he belonged to no one’s mother
Upon his little toes, his little toenails were too long
For he had no one to watch them, nor to tell him it was wrong

Sopwith Alopecia searched for love in no one’s face
He stayed not in one place, nor felt tethered to one base
The only call upon him was the direction of his nose
It pulls him from the places been and points the way he goes

Sopwith Alopecia was never told to sit
There was no one not to walk him so the dog was not unfit
There were no girls to pull his ears or little boys to tease him
It is only up to Sopwith, see, to do the things that please him

Sopwith Alopecia was never kicked outside
He had nowhere to exit from – his world was open wide
He had nobody to offend with all his doggy trials
He drove nobody up the wall, nor wound nobody’s dials

Sopwith Alopecia played with all the dogs he pleased
With no one shouting after him or wrenching on a lead
There was no scorn to face, no one to put him in his place
No muddy prints to tidy up with not one hint of trace

Sopwith Alopecia laid his head where it would fit
He slept not when the sun was fierce nor when the stars were lit
He rested when his mind grew dull or when his feet grew sore
He rested ‘til his doggy heart was wearisome no more

Sopwith Alopecia was run over by a car
He’d walked a hundred thousand miles but he walked a step too far
He died upon the gravel stones – it didn’t take him long
There was no one to cry for him or notice he was gone

Sopwith Alopecia did look after his own soul
He ate from no one’s palm and he drank from no one’s bowl
He sniffed about the churchyard for the company of the people
Come the bells of Monday morning it was Sopwith and the steeple


Written By: Toby Robins

I didn't know Starlings could sneeze
But I guess there's a lot of pollen this time of year
It saturates the breeze
And stings the eye that already bears a tear

I used to enjoy a game of soccer
But then she began to sock me back
So I stuck her inside my locker
And now I've nowhere left for me to keep my pack

So I carry it with me
And it presses in the small part of my back
I can't seem to get the straps to be
A length that would go someway towards preventing that

He's black, my pack, you know
And his pockets, they are numerous and deep
And for a friend who takes me everywhere I go
He really was quite profoundly cheap

That's not to say, of course
Should the golden opportunity arise
That tomorrow's morning chorus would not herald a divorce
For another pack of more impressive size

But soon the pack would grow as big as me
And he would then assume a very different role
He would have to carry me
And I would then have ceased to hold control

It would follow then that I would have to follow him
And I doubt he'd take me where I wished to go
For my pack, recall, is black as sin
And his morality is really very low

And as spring grows dry and the evenings late
When the nights are hot and the days are even hotter
My pack, I think, will tire of my weight
And I'll end up with that girl inside my locker

Just Sitting Down

Written By: Toby Robins

Just sitting down on a break for cake
And I wanted to say hello
A fitting frown by a fake green lake
Where I'm watching the grasses grow

Just sitting down on a hunch for lunch
And time is a whistling breeze
With glittering crown the jittering clown
Asks the mime to be kissing his knees

Just sitting down gonna eat my tea
Chewing the fat with my vegetable pie
And waiting bound he will bleat his plea
Wooing the cat with the venerable eye

Just sitting down 'cause I'm tired and wired
Asking again where the day has disappeared
Been jetting round getting hired and fired
'cause I've been living so blissfully unaware


Written By: Toby Robins

She's lost
Lost far away
And I have no idea
Of the place nor the way
She's gone
Gone to a place
Mysterious place
With no name and face
In the evening
When the colours fade
And the horns of the ships
Cut the night like a blade
A fog rolls on in
And the lights of the dock
Creep through the dark
To warm sea and then rock
I know that she's there
Just out of sight
A solitary flare
Lost in the night

Night Shift

Written By: Toby Robins

Night shift is a strange existence
That drags on with dull persistence
She's like the intersection
That anastomoses truth and fiction

She turns you upside down and inside out
And fills your mind with clouds of doubt
That anything is real or understood
That anything you've done has done some good

She's like travelling round the globe without the tan
She's a cheaper way to fly Pacific-pan
But they don't sell her down the road at Thomas Cook
'cause they know no one is dumb enough to book

Night shift is a lonely place to be
Tonight again, it's just her alone with me
And she talks to me in half-formed whispers
And dances in the shadows with her other-worldly sisters

And it is said, by thoughtful men, that, if you want to hear God speak
You should go to somewhere deathly silent
And close your eyes and listen, and, in the valleys between each heartbeat
His voice will float up on the fog

But the silence here is thunder, and all I hear is that
That, and this green-eyed, three-leg cat
He's knocking over dustbin lids and mewing with disdain
'cause it's clear that I don't fit in his campaign

And he's not part of mine; we're just there to co-exist
Still I bend down and offer to assist
But he turns and flies his tail in the air
Like a flag, to mark the end of our affair

And he's gone, I'm still here, and I think I feel some rain
On my skin and in my old arthritis pain
It's too dark, and I'm too old, and this night is full of emptiness
But I know, right on this spot, I shall remain

And the life in me will always wax and wane

You Love Her More

Written By: Toby Robins

I don’t know, but I think I understand
Your symbiosis
But still I see you in the palm of her hand
Don’t think that I don’t notice
Sometimes it gets me at the core
You love her more

I guess it’s naïve to think things fair
But it’s everybody’s dream
And while destiny smiles, Fate’s face contorts into a leer
And our fantasies slowly turn to cream
So, on my illusions, I close the door
Because you love her more

Sometimes I think you could do better
When I see you unsurely-footed on that ridge
But it was in the cards since the day you met her
I remember you two ahead on the bridge
To deny it should have happened would be as if to break a law
And today you love her more

I don’t think I could do it
You’ve got a special gift
You always manage to work through it
At the point I would have toppled off the cliff
I guess you take it on the jaw
Because you love her more

I have seen the tables turned
So I know how altered she can be
But fury hath no hell like a woman spurned
So I understand your placidity
And I think you wouldn’t be afraid to win the war
If you didn’t love her more

It’s not an easy thing to argue with the insane
You gotta fight it without reason
Every battle will see you fall amid the flames
Any self-defence is high treason
She won’t stop until you’re on the floor
And you’ll lie there because you love her more

Even though she changed you
It’s just a surface coat
A smudge of ink so we can’t see to
The story of your soul the poets wrote
And you know I’ve been wrong before
But I think, maybe, you love her more
I think, maybe . . . .


Written By: Toby Robins

It is my very life blood
It is the thing that keeps me sane
When I'm drowning in the emotional flood
When life is trickling down the drain
It is my friend, when there's nowhere left to run
When I'm going round the bend
And cloud has eclipsed the sun


Take my ticket to board this lonely train
And take a journey back through the darkening rain
I know not where it goes nor who you will find
But the music will lead you out again
The music will lead you out again

It is the tonic to my disease
The anaesthetic for my soul
It is the thaw upon the freeze
It is the rebate on the toll
The immersing dream
On which I float away
And like a novel to a theme
Requisite to what there is to say


Without it I grow fitful
Like withdrawal from a drug
Stumble into each pitfall
Get lost inside the fug
I live clasped within its grasp
And I am bound up in its fibres
It is my tunnel to the past
And all the feelings that it harbours



Written By: Toby Robins

I’ve never met a woman who can promise to stand by your side
I’ve never met a woman you can trust to not run and hide
I’ve never met a man who is everything that he seems
I’ve never met a man who has lived to fulfil his dreams

I’ve never met a woman you can get inside of her head
I’ve never met a girl with no strings tied to her bed
I’ve never met a man who is everything in himself
I’ve never met a man who has won with all he’s dealt

Never met a teacher who can teach you how to dress
Never met a preacher who can guarantee his blesses
Never met a lawyer who never bent the law
Never met a leader afraid to start a war

Never met a doctor who does it for the money
Never met a joker who finds himself funny
Never met a seller don’t believe in what they’re tellin’ you
Never met a teller don’t buy what they’re sellin’ you

Never met a girl who didn’t lover her daddy
Never known a golfer to look down upon his caddy
Never known a married man who didn’t love his wife
Never met a man in pain who would rather end his life

Never looked into the eyes of the dyin’
Never brushed a tear from the eyes of the cryin’
Never reached out only to grasp at hollow air
Never wondered why the hell are we here?

Little Girl in a Window

Written By: Toby Robins

Little girl in a window
As small as can be
With big blue eyes
Like polished glass
Reflecting the world she sees

A virgin mind
An open vessel

Acquainting herself
With a brand new universe

Little girl in a window
As small as can be