Fake News

Fake News

search-1

 

Fake News seems to be the latest threat
A thing truth-lovers much regret
What once purports to be good news
May credibility abuse

And bad news may be hidden in disguise
And simply be a bunch of lies
So how fact from fiction we discern
Is now-a-days of great concern

When what we’re told can’t be believed
And all the time we’re being deceived
What’s the point of news that’s fake
The clear view ahead becomes opaque

So let’s resolve truth to restore
And fake news duly to deplore
And in our press and on our lips
Honest words and faithful scripts

Ken Fisher

Signature

Signature

search

Watching ‘The Donald’ make his mark on documents official
Adding his signature to edicts advisory or judicial
Reminds me of the importance of when I sign on the line
I confirm that what is written is then truly mine

Perhaps within our land the signature most notable
Is that of Elizabeth our sovereign so admirable
Thus Acts of Parliament duly come into force
When Her Majesty assents and does them formally endorse

But the word signature has other applications
And is used in many differing situations
Thus TV and Radio shows are sure to emphasise
Their arrival with a tune that we all recognize

And if to watch the Bake Off was your fondest wish
Observing competitors concoct their signature dish
And of course if we wish to use a cheque to pay a bill
We sign our name confirming payment’s our own will

And the legal world still needs us to sign our name
On contracts and wills or an insurance claim
And if it’s your intention your promises to pledge
In marriage or mortgage, signing you simply cannot hedge!

Now that handwriting seems just about extinct
How do we prove we are unique and distinct?
Perhaps only by signing our personal name
Our identity to the world we still seek to make plain

On reflection it seems some hand-writing is so poor
And especially the signature which looks totally obscure
To me it’s not surprising the smart card’s usurped the pen
And perhaps those cryptic scribbles won’t e’er be seen again

Ken Fisher

 

The Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Army Knife

search

[Verses in praise of this multi-purpose tool]

 

The Swiss Army Knife is quite cutting edge
No limit to the uses to which it can stretch
Such a wide variety of functional tools
It might be described a cask full of jewels

The makers have offered several sizes
Tiny versions to huge ones brim full of surprises
There are blades just for cutting a string or a thread
And others could produce the proverbial sliced bread

There are hooks for extracting stones from a shoe
Sawblades for slicing through wood or bamboo
Pliers for those who aspire to try dentistry
And scissors for some who would prefer surgery

Gadgets for opening bottles so tight
Driving in screws made an effort so light
Indeed no matter the task, or whatever the trade
The Swiss Army Knife has a suitable blade

One point to note, which can be a snag
At airport check-ins hide it inside your bag
As the authorities might feel you have evil intent
To carrying a knife they give no assent

However, despite any such petty restrictions
Don’t spurn this tool and its applications
Because you never know what pops up in this life
And you are better prepared with a Swiss Army Knife!

Ken Fisher

[This poem is published with the prior permission of
Victorinox, manufacturers of the Swiss Army Knife]

Danger – Chilly Water

Danger – Chilly Water

images

I went for a swim in the public baths
I thought it might do me good
But the water felt like an icy blast
And my swearing was quite rude

Nobody warned me of the shock I would get
As I plunged straight into the water
It was an experience that I cannot forget
In future I’ll wait till it’s hotter

So if by an urge you are suddenly seized
To leap into some lido or pool
By this temptation do not be deceived
Or you may seethe while trying to be ‘cool’

Ken Fisher

Hoping for the Best

Hoping for the Best

search

There is little that can be added to what’s been said already
All that we can hope for is that the ship of state keeps steady
‘The Donald’ will be the President number forty-five
Let’s pray that our hopes for world peace still remain alive

After all, he has proved in the past he can run great enterprises
So perhaps all the vicissitudes of government will bring no surprises
Of course at governance he may still be an apprentice
If he told himself “you’re fired” that would be momentous

However, it seems that from today’s grand inauguration
He becomes the most powerful man in that mighty nation
And throughout the world his influence will travel far and wide
May humility and wisdom yet in his heart abide

Ken Fisher

 

Moon

Moon

search

 

Moon
mysterious sphere
whose face remains inscrutable
your phases measuring each month
whose light a pale reflection of the sun
shines on us like a slowly turning beacon
on frosty nights your face is bright and clear
but cloud and rain obscure your steady glow
your gnarled face mottled like an ageing man
craters and dry seas form your rugged features
no wonder, your age near that of ancient parent
child formed by debris of your mother earth
but distance has not dimmed your power
to influence our life here on the earth
the tides from time immemorial
by gravity’s mighty force
mover of oceans
Moon

 

The Earth of Which we Tread

The Earth on Which we Tread

(Written in 2010)

images-1

 

Having spent quite some years on the study of space
    under the guidance of all-knowing D A C E,*
I decided this year to reduce my ambition
    the close study of Earth is my new mission

Planet three, out of nine*, strung out from the Sun
    geologists make sure that it’s their number One,
Tucked neatly away between Venus and Mars,           
    for them Earth’s as great as all the bright stars

Geologists aver in their theories heretical,
    that “built in seven days” is really quite fanciful
Four point six billion years – perhaps even longer,     
    they claim that was needed to bring chaos to order.

The history of time is a remarkable thing,
    stretching right back like in a limitless string
Earth formed its core, its mantle, then crust,
    that’s the top layer in which we must trust

The picture we have of our planet today           
    resulted as forces had their sway
Volcanoes, earthquakes, even plate tectonics
    produced effects which became rather chronic

Rocks seem to move in a kind of a cycle,
    pushed up to the top like the cream on a trifle
Then they crumble and fall, get all twisted and bent,
    and sink down below to form deep sediment


  Igneous rocks are derived from the lava

  Metamorphics, from some squeezing palaver
Sedimentary rocks, on the other hand,
    at least give us chalk, mudstone, and sand

Geological time has titles heroic,
    Precambrian, Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, and Cainozoic
Mastery of these can not be avoided,
    and furthermore, each is then sub-divided

Palaeozoic divides at least into six,
    Each time-scale gets learners into a fix
Permian and Silurian present no clear goal,    
    at least Carboniferous gave us King Coal

Mesozoic and Cainozoic span many millions of years,
    for inquiring students they present little fears
Dinosaurs popped up (and down) within the Jurassic,
perhaps had their debut in ancient Triassic

Geologists claim that the continents drift,
    one of their statements leaves us quite miffed
Our weather will never be better later,
    now that Ayr no longer strides the equator

Fossil records help throw light on our dark,
    some of these beauties are in Victoria Park!
Many solid rocks were once quite organic,     
    they’ve been long dead – so no need to panic!

The earth below has many treasures,
    discovering these holds untold pleasures
Coal, oil, and gas yield mighty power,
    from ages past a generous dower

Minerals are found in every hue,
    Emerald green to Sapphire blue
Diamonds command a heavy spend,    
    but are they still “a girl’s best friend”?

Gemstones’ names are shrouded in mystery,  
    much of it in long past history,
Chemistry too, sheds some light,
    thus yielding quarts, gypsum and calcite

After rocks were formed, then vegetation,
    creatures had some habitation
Through these primeval early traumas,
    evolved the lower palaeozoic faunas

Then given time – in endless ages,
    primitive creatures joined history’s pages
Mammals very late in all this plan,
    not two million years – the story of man

Our late appearance is a fact,
    but humans make a huge impact
In search for food and habitation
    Mother Earth has felt our exploitation

We need to live, we need to strive,
    any less and we would not be alive
Geologists’ concern for conservation
    shows it’s vital to our preservation

So when on heath and earth we bound
    Spare just a thought about the ground
On which we tread and take our leisure
    Beneath our feet, world without measure

Ken Fisher

 

* DACE = Dept of Adult & Continuing Education, Glasgow University

  • Now only 8 Planets since Pluto was demoted!                                    

Welcome, but Feared

Welcome but Feared

search

 

Welcome to the snow – it is not unexpected
Without this blanket white some might feel neglected
Thus a winter wonderland appears for our delight
Although it does seem for others to give them quite a fright

Because, while children in the snow are happy to cavort
Older folks may find their living turns quite fraught
And commuters on our roads and rails suffer travel woes
While youngsters of every age skid on the land that’s froze

So whatever is your point of view you’ll have to stick it out
Fortunately it’s usually only days before a turnabout
If we are lucky we will avoid any trials and tribulations
And warm and cosy by the window pane we may find consolation

Ken Fisher

p1110560

Grosvenor Terrace, Glasgow in the snow January 2017

 

Just a Thought

Just a Thought

[A thought for the Walkers of the WECWC]*

imgresp1140205

 
On our walks we’ve travelled many a mile o’er Scotland’s pleasant land
But sometimes we would do well to look quite near at hand
For on our very doorstep great beauty can be found
So pause a moment to enjoy the local sights and sound

And each season brings new vistas and prospects to admire
Light and shade, and wind and rain, can set our hearts afire
For month by month we watch the cycle of growth to fullest bloom
And as the year progresses life declines to darker gloom

But we take heart that near our own door such solace can be found
And reflection of life’s changes are apparent all around
So let us choose, just now and then, to wander near at hand
And as we do we’re sure to find pleasures quite unplanned

So why not set your sights a little closer some time soon
I’m sure that you will find this a blessing and a boon
You need no car to take you to where this can be found
A few minutes walk is all you need to find such joy unbound

Ken Fisher

p1140185p1050443

All views – Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens

Scotland’s National Museum

Scotland’s National Museum
[Thoughts prompted by a recent visit]

p1110419

Perhaps it is the ancient rivalry between Scotland’s two major cities
Or just some kind of inertia which has kept Glaswegians from visiting
The National Museum of Scotland – situated in the capital
But having discovered it recently, I assure you this is a treasure
Without equal – including the Kelvingrove compendium

In Edinburgh you will find the story of life from pre-historic times
Trace the evolution of creatures through to development of human societies
The origins of culture and art, the inventiveness of homo sapiens
In science, technology, engineering, communication, and space exploration
Man’s fight against disease, and his conquests against his fellow men

The whole realm of natural history is on display from primitive life
To Dolly the sheep and the latest revelations in genetics
And in the human sphere the history of fashion is traced in its glory and triviality
Then on a higher plane the world of ideas, of philosophy, religion and literature
Indeed this museum seeks to encapsulate the story of our world and beyond

But perhaps one of the most interesting things to consider is
The enormous contribution that native Scots (and others educated here)
Have made to the advancement of culture, health, physical science, human endeavour,
And the limitless quest for understanding. Thus we remember the names Stevenson,
Scott, Watt, Smith, Simpson, Livingston, Hume, Burns, Carlyle and so many others
Who sought to shed light and truth in each successive age

Ken Fisher

 

p1110478

p1110434p1110518

Electric Blanket

Electric Blanket

search-1

One of the aspects of these dark winter nights
When we all bemoan loss of warmth and of light
Is the prospect of retiring early to bed
When the thought of cold sheets we assuredly dread

However the appliance of science has come to our aid
And at bedtime we need be no longer dismayed
The electric blanket has brought us relief
So climbing to bed won’t ever cause grief

As we tuck ourself in between blankets and sheets
Heat envelopes us all from shoulders to feet
And if we want to maximize the full size of the bed
We can duck right down, even cover our head

Freud might suggest thoughts of return to the womb
But our cosy bed probably offers more room
For tucked up in bed we feel so safe and so warm
Just as our mother kept us free from harm

Thus cosseted we languish surrounded by heat
And soon we are gently wafted to sleep
All the world’s problems slip quietly away
As we are renewed to face a new day

There is just one problem that you may discover
And from the shock of it may take time to recover
And surely it will leave you quite woebegone
If earlier you forgot to switch blanket on!

Ken Fisher

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

search

New year, new beginnings
It is the time for resolutions
Prevaricate no longer
Act now let’s ‘carpe diem’

Clean slate wiped and ready
Freed from choices of the past
Poised to draft a whole new image
Facing the future with resolve

As this new year slowly wakens
Before many days have dawned
Let each rise to the challenge
Of a new beginning to our life

Ken Fisher