Radio – the Listener’s Window on the World

Radio – The Listener’s Window on the World


For the genius of Guglielmo Marconi we must truly all give thanks
Among all his contemporary scientists he was in the very front rank
On the shoulders of Heinrich Hertz who found waves electromagnetic
Marconi built a method to send out these signals energetic


Marconi concocted a plan most cunning that avoided telegraph wires
And thus sent out his ‘wireless’ signals far above all those church spires
As the 19th century reached its close his experiments came to fruition
When with magnets, coils and dancing sparks he made his first transmission


From such primitive experiments by these wise men of invention
Flowed a cascade of ideas yielding endless innovation
Hence crystal sets and thermionic valves (which frequently got hot)
Transistors followed next and radio sets did then shrink a lot


As the years took their course and broadcasts grew universal
Transmitter networks worldwide ensured signal dispersal
Initially wave lengths were short or long and sometimes just medium
For local sites we had medium and long, for distance, shortwaves gave a premium


Sometimes people would complain of FM interference
Then along came VHF giving much more coherence
And in latter days, in a world of instant communication
Quality transformed as satellites beam o’er the nations


But the radio scene was much enhanced not just by technology
Its programming stretched wide spanning all ideologies
From off-shore pirate ships to internet radio delights
Broadcast output unceasing by day or by night


So today we have radio which is quite all-pervasive
It’s in our cars, on our phones, perhaps too invasive?
Where e’er we roam in this wide world its waves fill the air
We get it live, by DAB, or pod-cast, no matter when or where


And radio for each listener is a window on the world
Its masts like nations’ flags are everywhere unfurled
And if the aim is that ‘nation should speak peace unto nation’
Then those early pioneers assured its true foundations


So we have come a long way from that first pulse ethereal
Art by invention sent from masts to aerials
A world-wide enterprise to educate, entertain and inform
The broadcast media have all our lives transformed


Therefore acknowledge the debt we owe those pioneers of the past
Without whose achievements we could not amass
Such bounteous gifts as come winging by the air
An inheritance rich that is quite beyond compare



Ken Fisher





Unpredictable [The Scottish Weather!]


[A comment on the Scottish Weather!]


Believe the forecast? Well I wouldn’t go that far
The Scottish weather we’re convinced our pleasure’s bound to mar
If morning brings the sunshine bright, the noon will see it gone
Rain before the eventide denies the promised dawn


We never know quite what to wear midst all that fickle change
And our planned calendar we’ll need to re-arrange
We play it cool but soon we find the weather is so hot
Our temper’s frayed, our nerves thus overwrought


More likely it’s the opposite, we’re hoping for the heat
Or at the very least we’ll still have two dry feet
What will it be? Wet, dry, hot or even cold
Sure predictions by us would simply be too bold


And of course this weather is so volatile it can affect our mood
Sometimes our cheeriness is easily subdued
We simply must adjust and learn just how to cope
No matter what the days may bring we should not lose all hope


For rain showers give us verdant land and open fields so green
Our streets too by this process are easily kept clean
And sunshine, when we get it, brings on the crops and flowers
The mixture of these elements shows nature’s mighty powers


Of course there are those who cannot stand no sun or too much rain
And thus the exodus of ex pats who now call home sunny Spain!
But being true Scots most of us are made of sterner stuff
No cowards we, we hang on in e’en though the climate’s rough


And after all who would want to get up every day
Looking out the window and finding, come what may
The vista never changes when time it is to rise
Far better we, when curtains slide, an every day surprise!


So let’s not let the weather become our pet obsession
There is no need for rain or shine to bring on deep depression
Let’s learn to live with change and smile what e’er betide
Thus all our Scottish weather we’ll cope with in our stride

Ken Fisher





The Bonhomie of the Coffee Club

The Bonhomie of the Coffee Club


One of life’s greatest pleasures, I have to say
Is joining with friends on Coffee Club day
And as we all gather round this steaming libation
The brew is transformed like some precious oblation

As we savour the mixture of espresso or latte
Americano, cappuccino, or fine macchiato
Café Cubano, cortado or simple flat white
These wonderful flavours our palates excite

But perhaps even more than these tastes so exotic
Is the joy of companionship almost hypnotic
‘Cause when you’re together with like-minded friends
Our everyday worries we soon learn to transcend

So perhaps in place of a doctor’s prescription
And even now at the risk of a mild new addiction
Why not succumb to the Coffee Club’s charms
And relax oh so gently in caffein’s warm arms?

Ken Fisher




When the Light Darkens – Again

When the Light Darkens – Again
Following the Paris bombings in November, now in Brussels

Now at this time of Tenebrae in the days leading to Easter when the candles are successively extinguished to bring only darkness, we reflect again on the clouds over Europe.  I present once more my poem written following the Paris Bombings – When the Light Darkens





When life seems good and full of light
How can its days turn into night?
But that it does there is no doubt
And inwardly we have to shout


What has gone wrong, who can we blame?
Why can’t our path remain the same?
A life of praise for all its joy
No longer does our heart employ


We seek for reasons why things change
And far and wide our thoughts do range
But contemplation brings no balm
It does not cheer or bring us calm


We agonise o’er words and deeds
O’er failure to confront the needs
That might this tragedy divert
And so our sorrow thus avert


But in this time of sad reflection
No nostrum found for lost affection
And only sadness is in sight
No early hope of love or light


Thus we must journey on our way
No cure for pain our fears allay
Our only hope that time might ease
And thus restore our inward peace


But just as night will turn to day
We’ll find again the sun’s bright ray
Will slowly mend our broken heart
As warmth and love it does on us impart


Ken Fisher




Glasgow CityScape


For some, contentment can only be found
By living out this life in some rural idyll
But while there is no doubting the virtues
Of the countryside with its bucolic blessings
For me the city’s magnetism has much more attraction
Even if some of its denizens may prove less of a boon


For while a pastoral existence
May offer peace to troubled souls
Life midst the hills and glens
Is not devoid of trials
The least of which might simply be
Boredom and isolation


And yes you can be lonely amidst the teeming city
But near at hand in those crowded streets
Awaits a nostrum for occasional ennui
Surely amidst the panoply of choice
From theatre, to sport, music, faith and learning
We can as easily discover a meaningful existence


Ken Fisher

The Promise of Spring


The Promise of Spring
[for the vernal equinox]
Is it too good to be believed?
Windows still recovering from March gales
When hailstones stung our cheeks
Dark clouds shrouded the lowering sky
New shoots fighting for life
Ground yet sodden by endless rain
At last a brighter dawn emerges
For today is the equinox
A twice-yearly event
When night and day are of equal length
The day when the sun’s centre
Passes through the equator
The promise of more light and warmth
But above all this it is
‘The First Day of Spring’
Creatures stir from hibernation
The rebirth of flora and fauna
Perhaps new hope arises
In our weary souls






Happiness – published for the International Day of Happiness 20th March 2016



In this mortal life we spend much time in seeking satisfaction
Chasing things we hope will bring much happiness and joy
And many a time these efforts bring no positive reaction
No bliss nor gain do we discern for all efforts we employ

In recent times the need for all to experience this felicity
Has come to be the battle cry of those who claim what’s best
And thus this need for untold joy’s been given much publicity
A new nostrum to lift our hearts and ensure that we are blessed

Politicians have on this matter long before pronounced
Jefferson in drawing up the US Constitution
Made clear to one and all when it was first announced
“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” their chosen resolution

The New World pioneers held not the slightest doubt
That it was man’s clear and inalienable right
At the heart of all we do, all that we are about
To Live life, be Free, seek Happiness with all your might

In modern times our rulers revisit that great vision
The government claims it’s time again our happiness to measure
To calibrate our state of joy once more becomes our mission
And in due time we’ll have to gauge our sadness and our pleasure

To count and measure the nation’s joy is said not to be woolly
But to grasp it all may stretch demands on any Excel spreadsheet
If each and every factor be identified quite fully
The recording and analyzing, a highly complex feat

But can the concept of happiness be something quite objective?
My views on what to me brings joy or lasting peace
Are subject to emotions often quite subjective
For you my choice prove no great gain, from any fear, release

The Bible, on happiness quite often does declare
Ecclesiastes says – to be happy, no better aim can be
To build a world where life is truth, and acts are just and fair
Should on the lips of worshippers be their own earnest plea

But the Good Book says of happiness for its dear sake alone
The Christian life demands we seek the good of every other
The nobler path to which we’re called, that we must try to take
Shows peace we gain, when life is lived in service to our brother

But perhaps all this for you and me, a little too high-minded
Too vague an aim, such lofty thoughts, perhaps too altruistic
Our vision of happiness too bright and thus our eyes are blinded
Our keen pursuit needs grounding in plans more realistic

Perchance like me you may find that in order to pursue
The prospect of a worthy life, but not too hedonistic
For a life which cares for self but gives others too their due
We need a plan, not lofty thoughts, but much more realistic

Thus it may seem the media hype broadcast of latter days
Happiness an Agenda and call to Action
For each of us prove gainful and some dividend might pay
As step-by-step each one of us decides our own reaction

By daily acts of kindliness and personal good deeds
By loving thought, supportive words, and little acts of grace
We might promote goodwill as we note others’ needs
Each friendly word, each happy smile, radiating from our face

Now perhaps this does not answer, give adequate reply
To those whose quest for happiness seeks answers universal
But this gentle, kind approach I hope you won’t deny
Might from our gloom, our fear, our woe, initiate reversal

Ken Fisher


See this link from the BBC: Happiness



The International Day of Happiness 2016




The old chorus says:
‘I am H A P P Y, I am H A P P Y
I know I am I’m sure I am,
I’m H A P P Y’

Sounds like an attempt at self-conviction
But are we happy? And if not
What can we do about it?
Indeed should we do anything about it?
Well, the joy-mongers of today are suggesting
That the road to Happiness is paved with
the building blocks of Connectedness

By this they seem to mean that we all need
To make the world a MORE CONNECTED PLACE

So today we should reach out and make new connections
We should do it in person,
We should do it on-line,
We should do it by letter or card,
By Facebook or Twitter,
By getting back in touch with one another
By re-building broken or lapsed contacts
And by simply finding a way to

They tell us the Ten Keys to happier living are:

Giving : do things for others
Relating: connect with people
Exercising: take care of your body
Appreciating: notice the world around
Trying Out: keep learning new things

So there you are then

Ken Fisher



The Night-time Broadcast

The Night-time Broadcast



Nightwatchman of the tireless airwaves
Friend of insomniacs and shift-workers
Vigilante who prolongs our wakefulness
Comforter of the agitated and uneasy mind

Sometimes their offering is just a long succession
Of mood music to help anaesthetize the brain
They ‘spin’ these play-lists not just back-to-back
But in a seamless flow, often end to end

And thus sedated we may eventually succumb
And fall gently into the outstretched arms of Hypnos
Thus for some broadcasters their purpose is achieved
Perhaps our own choice when locked in to the ‘sleep mode’

And yet there are many who are not seeking sleep
For some the duty of unsocial hours, at desk or driving cab
Welcome the company of the ethereal companion
To educate, to stimulate, to banish boredom

Nowadays – and nights – broadcasting is a 24/7 affair
Swept away the curfew of the midnight chimes of Big Ben
With little pause the stations re-gain their breath
Plunging headlong into nocturnal schedules

So we are offered a diet of news, or sport, or music
And if we so desire our mind can be transported
By travelogues, quizzes, drama or political diatribe
And of course the World Service, where it is always daytime

One feature is the phone-in session – who on earth
Is awake to participate? Well there seems to be
No shortage of inquisitors to assail the agony aunts
And those ever contentious ‘shock jocks’

So it seems that night time broadcasting has
Not been banished to the land of nod. It is wide-awake!
And many rejoice that radio, like its carrier waves
Knows no bounds, brooks no opposition

Except perhaps the charms of sleep itself!

Ken Fisher




[DEF: An unfocused feeling of anxiety or dread about the human condition or the state of the world]


We try to maintain a bold face, let’s hide our true feelings
No one likes a misery guts, keep your worries to yourself
‘Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone’
Load the smiley emoticon, the rictus grin for all to see

No doubt that is just exactly what some do, immersed in  a
swamp of others who are on a downer, we few feel the need to
buck the trend.
But it isn’t fair – why must we feel obliged to don the mantle
of spirit raiser? Are we not allowed to be ourself as well?

Is there a kind of collective guilt? Are society’s woes somehow
all our fault? Why must we show resilience while our fellows crumple?
Can we not equally share in this overwhelming angst
Suffer or rejoice under this communal cloud of foreboding

And if we seek the freedom to complain or soldier on stoically
are we then seen as unsympathetic – callously heartless they may say?
But if this mood has somehow become the temper of our time
Perhaps we must simply be swept along by this tsunami of unease

Yet hold on a mo, why not try to free ourselves from the zeitgeist?
Soar above the clouds of melancholy and despair, and even from
our own compulsion to disown all such hopelessness
Thus liberated, we may face life with equanimity

Ken Fisher

The Economic Conundrum

The Economic Conundrum

Adam Smith author of The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith author of
“The Wealth of Nations”

At one time called the Dismal Science yielding little joy
Economists for many years did their sharp minds employ
Their thoughts focused day by day on how to increase wealth
And thus enhance our lives by improving financial health

They spent many hours examining the ‘factors of production’
How each might promote growth thus avoiding all obstruction
There should be no obstacles in the way, no awkward inhibitions
The slogan and the rallying call was complete Free Competition

The use of Land, Labour and Capital comprised the magic potion
And Enterprise, the wizard, applied a stirring motion
And from the steaming vapours of this brew we all would gain
Thus economic growth became the Holy Grail

This all sounded plausible and few it would gainsay
But economic equations can often go astray
The problem seems to be that when humans are involved
The rules of other sciences, the economy just ignored

Some basic principles like demand, supply, and price
As a predictor of choice was quite a sound device
But on a global scale when estimating how people might behave
The errors that resulted were really rather grave

But despite the lack of any real precision
Economists have sought to influence decisions
Monetarists made money their very real fixation
While Fiscal gurus obsessed much on taxation

Then these experts ventured into many other spheres
Which no doubt offered to each and all a lucrative career
So interest rates, and foreign trade they found had much potential
And credit swaps and derivatives  somehow grew essential

Flotations and mergers and the Stock Exchange gyrations
No problem left unsolved what e’r the complications
Economists were waiting with a ready made solution
Right at the cutting edge of the knowledge revolution

So we celebrate the words of Adam Smith of old
How amidst the capitalists’ sweeping actions bold
Existed a force which Smith called an ‘invisible hand’
That self-regulating market force hidden in our land

So perhaps the conundrum of economic thought
From which all its various wondrous fruits were wrought
Is simply that its disciplines help to show the way
Nonetheless we alone decide how to live each day

Ken Fisher











Thank you for waiting – Your call Is Important to us!

Thank you for waiting – Your call is important to us!


These ambivalent words fill us with frustration
Do we believe that anyone cares?
Is ours simply a voice from somewhere in the nation
And of our exasperation they remain unaware

Then on comes that music meant to calm and to soothe
If it hesitates for a moment we are then filled with hope
But it soon resumes its beat and its rhythm so smooth
And we are left to wonder how we might cope

For if our call is important why can’t they reply
Have the staff all gone AWAL – disappeared home?
Where have they run to and please tell us why
They should stick by their station and not from it roam

To our relief the music is suddenly muted
To be followed by silence that seems almost eerie
Perhaps our ‘valuable call’ has just been re-routed
In our suspension, this seems a reasonable theory

But no amount of conjecture seems to bring a result
And when the music resumes we almost explode
To our injured feelings this just adds further insult
And our blood pressure surely is in overload

However, a few seconds later we hear the sweet tones
Of the missing operator who was till now so illusive
But instead of assaulting her ears with all our pent-up moans
Overwhelming relief  stops us from being quite abusive

Perhaps if we could learn in such moments of tension
To just bide our time and learn to forebear
Not filled with such unjustified apprehension
Then our life would be freed from such futile despair

Ken Fisher


See also: Cold Calling