Threats from On High

Threats From On High

Apparently space has become a junk-yard
There is so much up aloft it has become a hazard
Detritus is now measured by some thousands of tons
Far greater than picked up by Steptoe and Son

Apart from threats from comets and asteroids
Space is no longer just an empty void
Old satellites, spent rockets, and defunct devices
Are floating out there in a variety of sizes

The planets of our ancient solar system
Over eons of time have been a victim
Of impacts small and others much greater
Resulting in some quite enormous craters

It is claimed that the dinosaur population
An asteroid impact led to annihilation
So you can see that objects falling from space
Might well do the same for our human race

And the reality is that the risk is increasing
With all the debris that we are releasing
And although these devices are put to good use
We must find a way to stop all this abuse

So technologists are conducting endless research
A method of disposal is part of their search
That after useful life junk might self-destruct
Or enter safe orbits thus humans won’t hurt!

However perhaps we should now all take heart
It’s been reported that a used rocket’s come back to earth
And in future we hope to recycle this kind of device
Which to the environmentalists must bring delight

Ken Fisher

Old Fashioned Radio

Old Fashioned Radio

I find the world of radio a great fascination
How transmissions are made by wave propagation
And the history or this amazing technology
Spreading the world’s treasures audibly

Elsewhere I wrote of radio’s evolution
And how it brought about a virtual revolution
From Crystal sets with their in-built cat’s whiskers
To VHF and  DAB via thermionic Valves and  Transistors

But an aspect of old radios that makes me smile
Is the detail printed on the wireless dial
The wavelengths are usually Medium or Long
Rarely they show Shortwave – not very strong

To select the wavelength there’s a switch to flick
So that leads to the programmes you may want to pick
The major provision seems to be the Home Service
Which serves those whose listening intentions are serious

The Home Service also has some local opt-outs
Scotland, Midland, Northern, and Wales to try out
The Third programme is for the intellectual mind
The Light programme for the rest of us  – unrefined!

The radio dials show that signals came from far and wide
Budapest, Munich, Paris, all on the Channel’s other side
Moscow, Brussels, Oslo, and somewhere called Hilversum
Apparently a town in the Netherlands not far from Amsterdam

Other stations that spread transmissions in the ‘ether’
Dublin, Hamburg, Strasbourg, and Lille feature
Back in middle England the Droitwich name
A major Long Wave transmitter of great fame

And let’s not forget that early rebel commercial pioneer
Radio Luxembourg on 208 filled the legals with such fear
It spawned the growth of pirate offshore DJ shows
And taught modern presenters all they know!

Religion was not neglected with broadcasts from the Vatican
And no doubt the other churches featured in the plan
To use the radio to ‘inform, entertain, and educate’
Which broadcasters even today claim they emulate

So there we have it, a nostalgic backward glance
Even in those early years quite an expanse
Of those with a message to spread by the radio emitter
Today surpassed by Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp and Twitter!

Ken Fisher

 

see also: Radio, the Listener’s Window on the World

Photo Opportunity

Photo Opportunity

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Do you ever get more than a little annoyed
At those snappers whose aggression seems unalloyed
As they compete with each other to get the best shot
The paparazzi – I’m sure you’ve heard of that lot

But it’s not just the professionals who can get in your face
The use of cameras is now so commonplace
That the whole imaging thing is almost unhealthy
Especially as we all seem obsessed with the selfie

This latter day trend arrived as photos went digital
And we could easily capture anything visible
So just as we found this new use for our phone
Our urge to take pictures has suddenly grown

So perhaps it is time to be more discreet
Let the camera lens take a back-seat
And simply greet people with a word and a smile
And let our eyes meet each other just for a while

Ken Fisher

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Squaring the Books

Squaring the Books

 

It’s that time of year when the books have to be ‘squared’
The results of the business are thereby laid bare
The initial  task is to prepare the Trial Balance
An exercise which by itself is no mean challenge

All bookkeepers already  know that for every Debit
There has to be another corresponding Credit
If by chance any are found to be missing
We have an unacceptable condition

Throughout the year we have monitored Cash Flow
If we haven’t done that our success we’ll torpedo
And regard for our Budget is quite fundamental
To ensure no problems have become incremental

Of course the Trial Balance is just the first stage
Not providing all the facts for success to be gauged
We need to proceed to the P & L or I & E account
To reach that, there are problems we must first surmount

Yet many adjustments have to be considered
Prepayments and Charges still to be rendered
The obscure complexities of annual Depreciation
Capital and Revenue expenditure and Asset Valuation

The Statement of Financial Activities will show how we’ve done
And hopefully nothing serious has gone wrong
Enough money to pay our Creditors as due
No Bad Debts to get us in a stew!

All the facts need to be drawn from the daily Ledgers
And aggregated together for us then to consider
And next we can channel the results of this trawl
Into the Balance Sheet which will then reveal all

Of course every Transaction needs to be classified
If we get that wrong others we assuredly misguide
The decision to retain Profit can Stakeholders upset
Keep the Shareholders happy, a much safer bet

Fortunately in this modern age we’ve got rid of the pen
Fancy software now employed by all our businesses
And computer systems process all the raw facts
Leaving us to do little except VAT returns and Tax

So when you receive the Audited Report and Accounts
Please consider them well and don’t simply denounce
Think of all that hard work that is contained in those pages
And you must then appreciate the Accountants’ enormous charges!

Ken Fisher

P&L = Profit and Loss   I&E =  Income and Expenditure

Mums the Word [for Mother’s Day]

Mums the Word  [for Mother’s Day]

 

‘Seal up your lips and give no words but mum’
Shakespeare Henry IV Part 2 (1590)

 

Mum’s the word for us today
She’s the one to hear our praise
She’s the one who gave us birth
She’s the one of endless worth

So today let all offspring
Of their Mum just shout and sing
For without Mum where would we be?
Of our success she is the key

‘Keeping mum’ suggests a secret
Surely that is not the treatment
Shout aloud for your dear Mum
Let none of us simply sit dumb

Ken Fisher

 

Clocks Go Forward

Clocks Go Forward [Sunday 26 March 2017]

 

The days are getting longer, more light to bring us cheer
Threats of dark stormy winter nights, begin to disappear
Spring has come, our clocks must be advanced
At 2AM we lose an hour that our daylight be enhanced

The loss of that hour surely will be compensated
Afternoon pleasures not so readily truncated
Hobbies and pastimes in the great outdoors
Twilight no longer threatens, more leisure time is ours

As we follow the command that we all now Spring Forward
Just as in October we duly did Fall Backward
Let’s welcome the prospect of summer days ahead
And not regret the loss of one sweet hour in bed

The cycle of the year to our life brings order
Each season occupying its own allotted quarter
The changing of the clock part of that settled plan
Pity that no-one has told our friend the Weatherman!

Ken Fisher

When the Light Darkens – Once More

When the Light Darkens – Once More

Following the Paris bombings in November 2015, then Brussels in March 2016, and then again with the runaway vehicle on the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, on Bastille Day, July 2016, we are now confronted with a similar event causing carnage much nearer home, on Westminster Bridge, London.

[These verses are the same as I posted on these previous occasions.  My sentiments haven’t changed]

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 these tragedies 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

Tick Tock

Tick Tock

 

Clock hands like scalpels dissecting the hours of the day
Separating one moment from another – no two quite the same
The inexorable motion ever forwards, ever onwards
Creating the past in neat segments as they begin to age

The ratio of speed between these hands remaining constant
The one more like a heartbeat’s steady throb
The other trudges with measured plodding steps
Together the record kept of each passing minute, hour and day

Tick tock, alliterative sound to punctuate the silence
Calmly marking off the day’s progression
Placid, undisturbed amidst the peace
Or maelstrom of our lived experience

Life not dependent on the movement of the clock
But both bound up in some mystical synchronization
And as the spring within our clock slowly unwinds
The body’s cogs and levers echo that inevitable slow decline

Ken Fisher

Happiness [International Day of Happiness 20 March 2017]

Happiness [International Day of Happiness 2017]

(This poem is similar one I posted last year for the same event)

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 wellbeing 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 victims of 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

For Buddha the path to happiness is found in understanding
Of suffering whose root causes may be longstanding
And through daily practice of mindful thought and action
Our living may bring much greater satisfaction

Now perhaps none of this will 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

Vernal Equinox

Vernal Equinox

[Monday 20 March 2017]

 

Equinoxes occur twice a year
When the plane of the Earth’s equator
Passes through the centre of the Sun
On this day the Sun shines directly on the equator
And day and night are approximately equal

Today is the Spring Equinox
And our minds look forward to warmer days
And backwards, with gratitude for the receding of winter
We are filled with hope for the months ahead

An Equinox is perhaps an appropriate time to reflect
On all that has been good in life
To give thanks for its many blessings
For health and shelter and for companionship

As the buds form on the trees and plants sprout
Carpeting the land which has lain barren for long
We look forward in anticipation to burgeoning life
In field and tree, in gardens and on hillside

And these days of longer daylight hours
Afford us the chance to escape from our winter burrows
And breathe the more expansive air of the world outside
As our horizons are lifted to a wider vision

Ken Fisher

 

 

What’s on Your Mind?

What’s on Your Mind?

                        Images of the Human Brain

Have you ever been asked what’s on your mind?
What thoughts, ideas or dreams therein confined
Who would believe this odd wrinkled brain tissue
For science and philosophy a controversial issue

There is debate on the notion of mind and soul
Are they separate things or just one complete whole?
The mind is our faculty for thinking and knowledge
The soul where the spirit perhaps may be lodged

The mind gives us power to act and remember
The soul helps our wild emotions to temper
Some would dispute that the soul does exist
But belief in the mind we cannot resist

So when we are asked what’s on our mind?
We expect a response of a certain kind
At this present moment what thoughts do we hold
Of what brilliant ideas as yet untold

Throughout our life thoughts throb in our head
Begun before birth, to end when we are dead
Much asked of the mind with alchemy obscure
And we are blessed it has such power to endure

So be thankful for your mind and for its health
Source of such pleasure and of great wealth
And if you cannot ensure it stays always pure
At least with the years may it grow more mature

As for the soul, altogether less clear
Custodian of eternal hopes and fear
Yet surely we are more than merely thoughts
The enduring value of all e’r we wrought

Ken Fisher

Accidents Will Happen in the Best Regulated Families

Accidents Will Happen in the Best Regulated Families

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The expression ‘Accidents will happen in the best regulated families’
Is an interesting one and something that brings comfort to many
Because it shows that even in a perfectly ordered world the unfortunate
Incident or state of affairs can arise. Not only to the embarrassment
of the principal players but also providing a demonstration of their
vulnerability. Even of those whose reputation seems invincible

Of course, if we are being completely honest, we would admit
To some schadenfreude at the misfortune of other people
It brings us a sense of relief that we have not suffered their
misfortune. Or perhaps our own weaknesses have not been detected
And then other peoples’ problems provide much material for gossip
And analysis of how this might happen in what we thought was utopia

Perhaps a more positive outcome of these catastrophes is that
We will realise that no-one’s world is completely perfect
The prospect of falling from grace is ever present due to
Human failure or misjudgment – to say nothing of natural disaster
And we can rejoice that we are all made of the same stuff of humanity
And that we should cultivate tolerance, understanding and forgiveness

But can you really resist just a sneaky little gloat sometimes?

Ken Fisher

See also:

https://thebardofkelvindale.com/2015/10/21/schadenfreude/