At The Threshold of the Year

At the Threshold of the Year – 2017

[First posted at the end of 2015]

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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 does 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 just 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

 

An Extra Second

An Extra Second

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I wonder if you realise that this year will be extended
By adding an extra second it will be protracted
So ensure you make good use of this bonus time
To enjoy an extra moment doubtless is no crime

To guarantee our clocks remain forever accurate
Scientists tell us it is now vital to create
A ‘leap second‘ and add it to the year
Which on Hogmanay will surely bring much cheer

Thus by this adjustment our clocks will keep in line
With what the experts describe as solar time
Coinciding with the earth’s slowing rotation
The planet and the clocks echoing gyration

Ken Fisher

The Robot

The Robot

(Now republished)

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Is this the future of the human race?
Biscuit tin head with smiley face
Metal frame with cogs and levers
Up-shot of design endeavours

But let’s not jump to quick conclusions
This is not just some mad delusion
The pundits who predict ahead
Claim robot life will be widespread

They say that it makes common sense
With routine tasks we should dispense
And make the robots do our share
Even if that is unfair

But if we let them do too much
And they grasp all in metal clutch
Our own jobs might disappear
And for our living we will fear

The best way for our own survival
Creative thought will bring revival
Humans should do what they do best
And leave the robots to the rest

But are we sure what best we do?
Despite all the knowledge we accrue
We fail to show that human touch
Which yet might change this world so much

Ken Fisher

[The Boston Publishing Group predicts that by 2025
up to a quarter of current jobs won’t be performed
by humans any more. Also on 29 Dec 2016 a major Policy
Analysis group predicted that in the UK, within a few decades,
we may lose up to 15 million jobs due to developments
in artificial intelligence and robotics]

In Between

In Between

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Right now we are in that no man’s land
Between Christmas and New Year
For some the party may still span
To fill the week with cheer

Extended families may need each day
For all their tribe to gather
To forget their work, take time to play
Their familial get together

Others find that these days between
Noel and what we call Hogmanay
A prompt to raid the cash machine
As on sales they splurge their money

Then there are those who realise
Due to excessive Christmas feasting
To call a halt it would be wise
And stop that endless bingeing

The obvious antidote to ever more excess
Is exercise of any kind, it’s bound to do you good
So if your slim figure you would like to repossess
Now is the time to avert your gaze from all tempting food

So there we are, a few timely reflections
On how to spend these days while we’re in suspension
Whatever is your choice, few can raise objections
If you just relax, lie back and say good-bye to tension

Ken Fisher

Christmas Morning

Christmas Morning

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The excitement of anticipation,
Children tip-toeing downstairs
In search of Santa’s bounty
The tearing open of those wrappings
The shrieks of pleasure as the long-awaited
Gifts are exposed

Mum and Dad come to find out if burglars
Have arrived to upset the household
The children squeal with joy as they
Show what Santa has delivered
Parents gasp conspiratorially
Admiring his awareness of all
That had been hoped for

Then the stockings are pillaged
Revealing their cache of treats and sweets
No longer just the time honoured fruit
The current Apple is probably a Mac!

After the intial excitement
Then parents too check to see
What Santa has done for them
In the hope that it might be more than
Socks or hankies – perhaps a spa break
Or a hamper full of goodies!

Then breakfast – don’t eat much
Leave space for the Christmas feast
The full works accompanied by the crackers
With their crafty little jokes – who thinks them up?
Indeed who needs philosophers?
The whole thing kept afloat by your favourite tipple
Remember to drink sensibly – especially the drivers

Traditional TV programmes will compete for those
Whose eyes will be glued to their new iPads
The Queen’s inspirational message muffled
By those ears stopped with headphones
Lambasted by the latest gaming wizardry
The traditional phone call to relatives
Superseded by a thousand tweets, Skypes, Face Time
Or whatever instant messages assail your privacy

Anyway that’s the modern Christmas
And of course not all will celebrate in happy families
Some choosing to be alone, others filled with memories
And yearning for the companions now gone from their life

And somewhere in the distant background is that stable
At Bethlehem, with the baby in the manger,
Still radiating the message of love
To every human soul in this angst-torn world

Ken Fisher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danger, Thin Ice!

Danger, Thin Ice!

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In the deep midwinter, this sign you may observe
Intended to ensure you’re safe, surely life preserve
Thin ice is a hazard, a threat without a doubt
Don’t risk a step upon it or else you may find out

But the danger of thin ice goes beyong just glassy lakes
It can refer to other risks that in our life we take
For at times we find ourselves quite unwisely heading
In ways just as dangerous as if on thin ice we’re treading

For example I wonder how often we have breached a moral rule
Or spoken thoughtless words or acted like a fool
Or pushed our luck too far when dealing with authority
Abandoning our usual inclination to conformity

At other times we have been known to make exaggerated claims
Of our abilities or talents, or skills at sport or games
But without doubt such lies, like the ice’s thin veneer
On close examination such boasts soon disappear

So whatever path your life may take here is my advice
Don’t tread anywhere where you might find you’re standing on thin ice
Tell the truth, follow the rules, act always with integrity
And you will find the ground beneath maintains its solidarity

Ken Fisher

WINTER SOLSTICE

Winter Solstice

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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

CHRISTMAS CAROL – FOR PARTY PEOPLE

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’]

CHRISTMAS CAROL - FOR PARTY PEOPLE

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

Darkness

Darkness

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Doesn’t this time of year make you feel depressed?
We wake up in the dark and darkness descends again
when we are only half-way through the afternoon
Then we have to face the long hours through twilight
And the elongated hours of night

Perhaps we should be doing what other sensible creatures do –
Hibernate! But no, we humans must be always awake,
To switch off somehow demonstrates weakness
So we flounder about in the gloaming and the pitch black
Determined not to let the lack of light make any difference

I suppose there are some advantages of these dismal days
The imperative of cultivating the garden or allotment is
Lifted as the plants obey their preordained cycle of life
Similarly the trees cannot any add any further shade
Where shadows have little means of existence

Of course we humans do all we can to defy the dark
As we approach Christmas we create more artificial light
From huge town-centre displays where civic pride is demonstrated
In multi-coloured, electronically choreographed star bursts
To a humble domestic tree, with a few twinkling bulbs

Perhaps we should learn just to accept the darkness
As part of the natural rhythm of the year
And take the opportunity to disengage our minds
From constant stimulation, endless arousal
And simply BE, instead of always DO

Ken Fisher

Christmas Gifts

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

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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

 

Turkey Without Legs!

Turkey Without Legs!

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Here’s a thing you did not know
And I assure you that it’s so
Legless turkey is being served
A phenomenon I have observed

As you see from this tasty plate
Who needs legs you might debate?
When stuffing’s there and so’s the meat
With sprouts and roasties, quite complete

It’s just that somehow one does wonder
Has the chef just made a blunder
Or have those legs now gone astray?
Their absence may cause some dismay

However, I really have to claim
Legless turkey tastes the same
And with the trimmings on display
Such a meal will make your day

Ken Fisher

Kelvin’s Banks

Kelvin’s Banks

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The River Kelvin plays second fiddle to the Clyde
[And if you think the Cart is bigger, then it’s third]
By drawing water from the city’s northern fringes
Channeling it through valleys, beneath so many bridges

The Kelvin with the Canal may be seen to flirt
As they each progress, as rivals in concert
At Maryhill the Forth & Clyde leaps straight across
Using the aqueduct to show who’s boss!

At Kelvindale the river once powered the paper mill
At North Woodside, flint grinding oft quite shrill
Thus the River ensured both work and play
Labour and green spaces to this very day

Esteemed thinkers reflected by this river’s banks
In the University or other famed think-tanks
Lord Kelvin, physicist whose renown is universal
And other learned academics with ideas rational

Bordering this river we find an acclaimed garden botanic
Leafy walkways nurturing tyrsts e’er so romantic
A haven for cyclists and walkers with their dogs
Jostle with health fanatics determined to enjoy their jog

So thanks for the Kelvin with its banks and verdant parks
Its bridges, its churches and other famed land-marks
As the water flows downstream to join up with the Clyde
Lovers of this watercourse can assuredly take pride

Ken Fisher