A Pearl of Great Price (30 Years of WECWC)


[30 Years of the West End Christian Walking Club]


For many of us the Walking Club is something beyond price

Its value to us o’er 30 years an ‘earthly paradise’

Good company and exercise and time for conversation

As on the paths and o’er the hills we took each month’s gyration



From earliest ventures on old Tinto’s rising slopes

We gradually realized what is every nascent walker’s hope

To learn to value the great outdoors with all that it can offer

The many splendoured gifts our countryside did proffer


So gradually o’er thirty years of meandering in the hills

Through forest lands and open fields beside a shady rill

In summer’s sun and winters chill and every kind of weather

We never let the climate affect our monthly pleasure


All sorts of walkers have formed our happy band

Not just the Scots or English but souls from every land

O’er decades many strange tongues have joined in dialogue

It is a mystery to me how they understood our Scottish brogue!


So here we are after thirty years still happily united

The fellowship, still much alive, by time has not been blighted

If this were a marriage it would now be our Pearl Celebration

So boundless thanks to Glenda is our loud acclamation!



Ken Fisher



Keeping Up Appearances

Keeping Up Appearances



Lots of energy exerted to keep that mask in place

Fearful that the world might glimpse no smile upon our face

Determined at all costs to keep up the appearance

Hold on to that rictus grin with dogged perseverance


Would it not be refreshing if just once in a while

We faced the world without that radiant inane smile?

Surely in our inner souls we often want to scream

So why no honest glower instead of radiant beam?


Whatever happens we must look always on the bright side

The optimistic outlook must ever be our guide

Come what may our behaviour quite heroic

Perhaps just now and then why not be a po-faced stoic!


Keeping up appearances no doubt has its own merit

But if our stance is false it does us little credit

And if the expression that we offer is simply a façade

The world will soon realise our dazzling smile’s a fraud!

Ken Fisher


The Anatomy of Poetry

The Anatomy of Poetry

[Free verse, Blank verse, and Rhyme]


It has been said that my poetry might really be improved
If from the tyranny of rhyme it simply could be moved
Why must I always seek to find an ever ready rhyme
Unable to complete a verse that lacks a matching line?

Dispensing with demands that words be cloaked in rhyme
Would much reduce my efforts and doubtless save me time
Thought could float more freely, words less deliberate
Such freedom surely would my thinking liberate

So what is the choice if rhyme is lost and poetry is set free?
Apparently the principal alternatives amount to simply these
Free Verse is one – which truly lets us go where’er we choose
And Blank Verse is the other – still free but less loose

Free Verse is poetry which as such has no rhyme scheme
Thus it can shift as poetic thoughts drift as in a dream
In Blank Verse the words in every line display a steady beat
Though rhyme has gone the impression is still for us quite neat

Blank verse is commonly recognized by iambic pentameter
Ten syllables per line is best in this regulated meter
Free Verse knows no such rules or very tight constraints
Poetic metaphors are its best choice, its images to paint

So here we go – discard the rhymes and let’s make all things Free
Or even Blank, if that’s your choice, perhaps you will agree
That it takes a little time to get used to these modes of thought
I hope you feel there is some gain, or was it all for naught?

When poetry is free, thoughts can range both far
And wide, according to the whim, of writer
The reader then must be prepared
To cast aside all ideas of regular shape

Or form, and open up the mind
To concepts not previously considered
Thus finding a new stimulus from
An unfamiliar literary landscape

Blank verse presents its stanzas within an ordered frame
They need not rhyme but you might still discern its steady beat
It sounds as if the clock is marking every crafted line
And it all seems quite structured, a life that’s in control
Blank verse can be demanding, requiring tonal change
And freedom gained by loss of rhyme demands new artistry
Thus freed, the poet no longer needs to seek for obscure rhymes
Thus drama, raw emotion, philosophy, give colour to his palette

Ken Fisher




Keep Taking the Tablets!

Keep Taking the Tablets!




The guidelines in the chemist’s pamphlet

Says you should ‘keep taking all the tablets’

The doctor in her diatribe

Said that’s what for you I have prescribed


So we must listen to what they say

And take the dose for each new day

And if we do, we are assured

That very soon we will be cured


Not only when we find we’re ill

We need to swallow a bitter pill

Life’s worldly trials sometimes enforce

A different kind of daily dose


But we must learn to persevere

With duties that may be quite austere

And try to shoulder all our cares

With smiles rather than with tears


And if with joy each day we face

Our problems we will soon replace

With blessings and not bitter pills

Thus coping with all our life’s ills

Ken Fisher



When the Internet Crashed

When the Internet Crashed


Booted up in the usual way

Friendly icons reappear

Just like any other day

Through the menus we can steer


Keeping to the old routine

Nothing there seems out of place

All laid out neatly on the screen

Every task made commonplace


Ready now to check the mail

No doubt the inbox will be stacked

With problems that will our minds assail

And junk mail too, that must distract


So let’s waste no time just hit that symbol

Or whatever key will release the flow

Scan down that list, it is so simple

Then it hits us, that awful blow!


Don’t tell us that we can’t connect!

Surely we have paid the bill

That’s not something we neglect

Our voice rises rather shrill


Further checks we implement

It’s not just email that has crashed

Looks like a real predicament

All connections somehow trashed


Not one web site can we open

All our favourites unresponsive

Surely all this can’t be broken

Somehow they’ve been knocked unconscious


But let us pause for just a while

Could this be a blessing in disguise

Must this hiatus cramp our style?

To simply panic is unwise


This moratorium we can enjoy

In the shut-down let’s relax

Other tasks our minds employ

Ignore ‘Big Data’s’ mega facts


Read a book or take a walk

Why not give the car a clean?

Remember how you used to talk

Freed from those all-commanding screens


Just think back, not long ago

Before computers made us slaves

Perhaps the pace was rather slow

Not leading to an early grave!


So once you’ve taken some time out

And let your nerves calm down a bit

You check once more the screen blackout

And no doubt it will then be fit


A few more clicks and we will bet

Those vital beeps will bring us cheer

Herald the returning internet

Dispelling all our angst and fear


And perhaps with hindsight we will see

A temporary pause can be corrective

With some thought you might agree

Let’s keep computers in perspective


Ken Fisher


Theological Reflection?

Theological Reflection?



What do we hope to find by looking in this clouded glass
Inspiration and light from beyond ourselves?
Or do we secretly own that what we sense and feel
Is really all that we can ever know

Do we think that we can catch the essence of belief
And through the microscope discern its substance
Or is this such a beast defying all taxonomy
No simple categorization, no box to tick

And yet theology has been a jewel in the crown
Of ancient seats of learning o’er the land
As in humble pulpits and cathedrals great
The faithful glimpse the treasures it enfolds

Theology brings our focus on to God and all things Godly
Thus we wrestle with the faith, salvation and the trinity
Stretching from creation to paradise or hell
Aided by the Church, its worship and its sacraments

But each and all of these not without great contention
The people drawn together in oppression
Only to be set at odds by schisms and division
Historic blood shed, nations cast asunder

And theological standpoints have prompted zealots to their mission
Demanded colours be nailed to the mast
From ancient crusade and modern wars claimed ‘just’
Sown seeds of revolt and of reformation

Yet theology has fuelled the rise of many a worthy cause
Of missionary fervour, thus lives reformed under its saving power
So in its glorious vanguard it gave the genesis that makes life rich
Without its prompting, souls lost, lives unregenerate

Under its sway theology embraces, or so it’s claimed
The arts, the sciences, and every sphere
Where humankind has placed its imprint
A cornucopia of all endeavour, of every earnest quest

While we sit cozily debating the finer points of doctrine
The history of commitment and dissent
Can we ever really do justice to this project
How can we on such splendour e’er reflect?

And so we seek to steer a course amidst the overwhelming tide
Of all that is the majesty of theology, the nature of our God,
the systematic study of religion and the impact of its doctrine
How in life’s experience we may find reflections of these truths made clear

Thus in the mirror where we seek His face
God’s transcendence through all time and space
The immanence of God found near at hand
Only revealed as we accept His grace

Ken Fisher





Sticking Plaster Solutions

Sticking Plaster Solutions


When problems confront us in our daily life

Issues, concerns, can sometimes be rife

No matter how firm be our resolution

We sometimes resort to the easy solution


Some problems are simple and readily solved

The direction of travel quite quickly revolved

But many things in life are not easy to change

Unlike books on a shelf that we rearrange


Bad habits can sometimes become our stern master

Which we hide from ourselves by a ‘sticking plaster’

But such self-deception is simply a lie

Not quickly resolved the harder we try


It is better by far to get to the root

Of any issue before the pain gets acute

Not pretending its solved by a sticking plaster

Thus averting what might become a long-term disaster


Yet perhaps there are uses of Elastoplast

When by life’s little grazes we are harassed

But deeper wounds are not so easily healed

By leaving the blood till it has congealed


So this tale concerns more than First Aid

I hope your thoughts by it might be swayed

Being open and honest is the heart of the matter

Not hiding the truth beneath a cheap plaster


  Ken Fisher




 Some might say it is the reward to the righteous

I wonder if sinners are always wakeful?

We sometimes long to find escape in sleep

And yet we may fear in sleep we lose our vigilance


Sleep apparently is a naturally recurring state

It certainly would seem odd if we never slept

Sleep is the opposite of wakefulness

It brings us a blessed relief from reacting to stimuli


 Thinking about sleep can bring great concern

Insomnia is viewed as a serious issue

Although hypersomnia might be even more alarming

Especially shown in excessive day-time sleep


 But all of this is a bit clinical, too narrow a view

The word sleep has other connotations

Not least as when it is used as a euphemism

For random intimate relations – as in sleeping around


 And what about the modern trend of kids

Who regularly bed down at their friends’ homes?

In an endless round of sleep-overs

Probably quite harmless – I believe!


Then there is the advice we are given

To sleep on it often ignored by the impetuous

Perhaps we might be able to resolve issues

By a nocturnal perambulation – a sleepwalk


We also will recall that apart from

The slightly naughty thought raised by

the term, sleeping partner is a perfectly

legal type of business organisation


And to complete this little tour round

Some of the uses of the word sleep

I must now put my computer into

Sleep mode – it deserves some relief!


Big Yawn!



Brighter Prospects

Brighter Prospects


In this dark month of Janus, the herald of new beginnings

and transitions, we discern the prospect of better things

But presently, shrouded in cold and damp, we find little

To bring us cheer or even hope of change


The signs of spring still well concealed beneath,

Tiny shoots not yet daring to raise their spears

Above the sodden earth, under the skeletal trees

The ground a wasteland bereft of life or spirit



But if the earth’s faithful calendar remains true

Its progression round the sun will surely bring

A daily change to our allotted portion of the light

And daylight hours will steadily extend


Then doubtless spring will waken all of life

From deep winter’s restoring hibernation

Flora and fauna each in their respected realm

Stretch stems and limbs, escaping from the night


And in due time we pray the sun’s caressing rays

Will invigorate the whole created world

Thus brighter prospects fill our hearts with joy

Sustaining us amidst this winter gloom


Ken Fisher

The Post Box

The Post Box


This familiar cylinder in Pillar Box Red

Like a sentry standing to attention

Its open mouth awaiting to be fed

By words of our own mind’s invention



I hope we have not missed the post

Our message in that box will languish

Our words of wisdom will be lost

And our hearts be filled with anguish



But we must not doubt the Royal Mail

Whose reputation is at stake

Surely they will never fail

Their promises they will not break!



So when we see the bright red pillars

Part of the furniture of our streets

Like lamp posts to us so familiar

Those boxes, letters love to eat


Of course you may say that is old hat

Replaced by email’s endless ‘pings’

But letters dropping on the mat

Ensure that from our chair we spring



So let’s give a cheer for old snail mail

Paper sleeves with stamps or frank

The contents we must then unveil

For this, the postie we must thank

Ken Fisher


Looking Forward



A brand new year, its days stretching out before us

What might they hold, of good or ill, who knows?

Does it fill our minds with hope or trepidation

Will it bring joy or sadness, pain or pleasure?


In childhood life is lived forward day by day

In youth, excitement and anticipation

Each year a preparation for the next

When confidently we will take flight


The middle years building a career

Vying with others for pride of place

Not only in the world of work

But in relationships yet now so transient


Then life casts upon us its heaviest burdens

As we seek to nurture those around

While responding to the call of duty

And yet still trying to be ourself



Each day seems to pass like a blurred photo

No time to look at each image one by one

Responsibility must be our watchword

Commitment is our master of all things


And then suddenly we ask – another year?

Where have they gone – much less ahead

Than once there was in front

The summation of life in days and years

[Is this it? Surely not!]


Ken Fisher