thebardofkelvindale 2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,700 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 45 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

At The Threshold of the Year



Time is sometimes called the Fourth Dimension
Length, breadth and height the other three
But time can fill our hearts with apprehension
No wonder that it’s often said to flee

‘Tempus fugit ‘ we plead as ready-made excuse
When everyday concerns and never-ending cares
A sense of guilt and failure doth induce
Our quest for peace and freedom thus impaired

But time cannot be stalled; its steady progress will not falter
It’s march like Roman legions moving ever onward
Along straight roads, their fixed direction does not alter
The army moves in steps that take them ever forward

And so it is that in these dark fading days of late December
As we approach the threshold of yet another year
Thoughts filled with joy and sorrow as we remember
Hopefulness for days ahead but not without our hidden fear

What lies ahead beyond the gate of this New Year?
We’ve been warned: ‘the past no guide to future performance’
Would life be simpler if the way ahead was clear?
Why do we ever have to seek for reassurance

And so as we peer into the void beyond this New Year’s Day
We simply must accept that unlike length or breadth or height
The realm of time brings with it ‘come what may’
Our prayer remains that faith and hope will bring us light

And so my friend step onward with a steady pace
Give thanks for many blessings in the past
Let love for life and all mankind your heart embrace
And to God’s providence our trust remain steadfast

Ken Fisher


Will You Still Say to Him – No Room?



The words of the familiar Christmas song say:

“No room for the baby at Bethlehem’s Inn

Only a cattle shed,… nowhere to lay his head etc.”


Will you still say to Him – no room? 

I wondered if in this modern sophisticated age
There is even less room now than in those ancient days?
A glance at the nativity scene no longer can our souls engage
The conjunction of God in man fails to set our hearts ablaze

We’ve grown beyond such simple tales of the incarnation
Who needs God when mankind becomes of all things the true measure?
The manger scene no longer commands awestruck prostration
Our hearts now drawn to the shrine of our own worldly treasure

We have ensured that in our life so self-sufficient
The only saviour that we need, immortalised in our possessions
Achievement and success regarded as omnipotent
No more obliged to appease a God with praises or confessions

So why I wonder do we still cast a wistful eye
Towards that stable bare where power was turned upon its head?
The star still twinkles in the dome of that celestial sky
Pointing to the Holy Infant in the manger bed

But perhaps in all our self-assured and confident living
We may just falter for a moment, our souls yearning for a home
And for all life’s blessings make our own thanksgiving
Discover, for that Baby, in our heart there still is room

Ken Fisher

A happy Christmas to all who read this, and other poems, from thebardofkelvindale


Winter Solstice


Winter Solstice


The shortest day the longest night
Benighted souls seeking the light
The sun in deepest declination
Darkness shrouds the northern nations

The solstice marks a time of change
From the light we’ve been estranged
For longer days our hearts do yearn
Sunlight surely must return

For in due time by steady progress
The sun’s climb will this dark suppress
And soon its penetrating rays
Bring the lengthening of each day

As the solstice now we mark
Entombed in gloom and shadows dark
Let’s look to brightening days ahead
As light again becomes widespread

Ken Fisher

Turkey Dinner [Not recommended for vegetarians!]



It’s that time of year again when diets are discarded

When reasonable restraint seems no longer such a virtue

After all ‘tis the season to bring benevolence and charity

To all God’s creatures – except perhaps the fated fatted turkey!


It’s amazing how most of us neglect this flightless bird

Throughout all the other months of our culinary calendar

Then suddenly, as advent signals the season of “goodwill”

This benign breed now the object of desire


Who can ignore the flavour of that firm carved flesh?

And that savoury stuffing to complement the meat

No-one can resist those chipolatas and the veg

Ambivalent views of sprouts resolved among the piping gravy


And as our picture shows the Yorkshire puddings

Join together with the carrots red and peas so green

To present the diner with a mélange incomparable

A harmony to delight the palate and the senses


So we should indeed give a thought for the unselfish turkey

The crown and centre-piece of this delectable display

And give thanks that unlike us – the beneficiary of their goodness

They bring to us such pleasure and seek nothing in return


Ken Fisher



Christmas Carol – for Party People

[This is a re-posting of a poem from Christmas last year]

[Sing this to the tune of ‘Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown’]


We left God alone with his throne and his crown
For we had little time to spare
We were too busy spending our hard earned cash
Buying gifts and grooming our hair
For it’s party time and we must look good
As we’re all heading off to town

But then someone reminds us of that stable bare
With the Holy Child in the manger
And the ox and ass and wise men three
Then we thought of those living in danger
The sick and the poor and the refugee
And all those deserving our care

So that Baby of old and the twinkling star
Tells of God’s great love which came
Into the world to save souls in their need
By kindling that loving flame
So come dear Lord wipe out all our greed
With the light from that stable afar

God never says no when we celebrate
He is happy to rejoice with us all
So give thanks to God who loves each of us
He too will come to the ball
So come dear Lord, we won’t make a fuss
As again you with us incarnate

Ken Fisher

Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts [A reposting of last year’s Poem. Issued between Black Friday and
Christmas Eve]

Selfridges London


The Three Wise Men – is it them we should blame?
For starting this craze which can drive us insane
Each Christmas demands that we spend so much cash
As in our giving we are ever more rash

We know that it’s time that we all took a stance
And tried to control this needless expense
But somehow it seems we cannot reduce
As the desire to give still seems to seduce

We feel that it’s good to be kind to our friends
So to one and all our largesse extends
But we know that deep down their love can’t be bought
And much reckless spending is really for nought

So why don’t we reflect as did those Wise Men
Who sought out the Infant in far Bethlehem?
That gifts are mere symbols of their adoration
As to that Baby they bent in prostration

Now, as long ago, we need only one gift
As we too our faces to Jesus uplift
Just hearts filled with love for God and for man
Reflecting that glory whenever we can

Ken Fisher


The End of Christian Britain?

The End of Christian Britain?

[Following the Report of the Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life]


The Commission on Religion and Belief

May cause our Church leaders so much grief

As it’s now claimed half our adult population

Are non-religious in this once pious nation


This Commission of illustrious grandees

Are unlikely the church’s clerics to much please

As ecclesiastical power they endeavour to diminish

And ancient privilege they certainly would finish


The influence of Bishops in the Lords

Is one thing they really do abhor

Being centre stage in national events

Another honour they’re determined to prevent


These reformers would cast their nets far and wide

And old traditions from them will not hide

Faith schools and religious education

Also seem to cause them great vexation


But it is claimed they do have positive views

Knowing faith issues feature highly in the news

Recognising what our people are today

Owes much to the Church’s loving sway



Ken Fisher







When in the midst of these dark winter days

When we find very little that we might praise

When spirits are low and we feel ‘S-A-D’

When the political landscape seems really bad

When rumours of warfare seem to abound

When news of disasters do us astound

When days have grown short and our temper to match

When some nasty ‘flu virus is easy to catch

When Christmas is due but not quite here yet

When finding good gifts is making us fret

When meeting our bills is sure to be tight

When threats of burst pipes may give us a fright

When we’re struggling in shops and even on-line

When sorting it out takes so much time

When what we need is to simply pull back

When we should let all our tension go slack

When is not some vague time ahead

When we can stop ourselves seeing red

When must be NOW, and we know that is true

Let’s NOW take a break – yes that’s me and that’s you!

 Ken Fisher

The Proclaimers

The Proclaimers [Inspired by hearing Craig and Charlie Reid perform (with others) at the Royal Concert Hall Glasgow on 2 Dec 2015]

The Proclaimers - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

The Proclaimers – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Just as this feisty duo belted out their perennial favourites

To an eagerly attentive audience at a recent rock concert

These now evergreen ‘lads’ certainly still know how to ‘proclaim’

The boys from Auchtermuchty still spread sunshine, not only on Leith


It set me wondering if our life performance shows that we have

Something to proclaim, something that we too would like to belt out?

Doubtless our message would not reach the deafening decibels

pulsing forth from their mega speakers – rather more hushed or muted


Yet perhaps we too might have the thought of what ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’

Or we have some still unfulfilled ambition or a yet incomplete journey

we wish to take. Maybe we had an aborted start and it’s ‘Over and Done With’ and it’s ‘Bye Bye Love’.

And ‘Let’s Get Married, is not going to happen . I wonder “What Makes You Cry?’


Or we want to go somewhere but we have ‘No Particular Place to Go’

We are not yet ‘King of the Road’ and we’re still ‘Spinning Around in Air’

But perhaps in the end we really believe ‘Love Can Move Mountains’

And we wait for our ‘Letter from America’ to all who listen in Methil, or Bathgate or wherever.


Anyway as the music comes to its ineluctable crescendo and finally

a palpable silence follows and our ears still ring as they seek relief

We are left in no doubt that the Proclaimers do proclaim, loud and clear

Our heightened senses wrestle with what our message would proclaim

Ken Fisher




Saving the Planet

SAVING THE PLANET [comment on current international discussions – Dec 2015]


It seems to me among the threats from which there’s no relief

is warming of the global kind which parches earth and leaf

A menace strong as solid granite

which promises a deadly blow to life throughout the planet


At first we simply turned away, pretending all was well,

but gradually increased the noise from nature’s warning bell

Awareness of this mounting vice

shown clearly in the rising tides and gently melting ice


Why worry at impending doom

this threat, if real, unlikely to be soon

Technology must have some appliance

Let’s get on and check the science


 All warnings dire of petrol fumes or dangerous emissions

are set aside by one and all as ignorant suspicions

We claim clean engines now, which never have been better

all problems solved forevermore by catalytic converter


Health experts seem overwrought on dangers of pollution

but others think it can’t be hard to find a good solution

Technocrats are sure to help and even us to save

by harnessing the power of wind, if need be, the waves


 We, in the West, too fond of having plenty

Club members of the great G20,

The good and great within its ranks

the chiefs of mighty Central Banks


 With power like that we can ensure

the pleadings of the needy poor

do not upset our life of ease

demanding we be kind to trees!


Or temper use of fossil fuels

Or other kinds of nature’s jewels

Resources of those poorer lands

grabbed by our great colonial hands


 After all, this is our life

achieved through years of work and strife

At all costs we must keep our gain

To do other, means much pain


 But all the nations rich or poor

must work together, seek a cure

And rich may need to learn to suffer

their ease may prove it all the tougher


And when it comes to issues global

problems become highly mobile

No nation stands completely safe

from tempest’s winds or ocean’s waves


 The rising tide and searing sun

challenge life for everyone

Disease and famine knock each door

No-one immune – the rich or poor


 Perhaps there is a glint of hope,

the need to find a way to cope

Each year is dawning somewhat clearer

as melt-down time seems ever nearer


 The leaders seem at last to grasp

before our breath becomes a gasp

That time is short if we’re to save

our children from an early grave


 On carbon footprints let’s step light

Gas guzzlers out – get on your bike!

On grow your own, why not be keen?

Your favourite colour should be green


 Recycle anything you can

Cut out all waste must be our plan

Turn off the power when not in use

Recycle glass if you must booze!


 And so in many little ways

Collective effort stems future blaze

Which global warming has in store

A fate we simply can’t ignore


 If citizens will do their bit

Our leaders then might well see fit

To echo modest aspirations

Giving a lead to all our nations


 This cannot be the final word

To say that would be quite absurd

The God who made this world at first

remains the One in whom we trust.


 Ken Fisher