The Humble Potato

The Humble Potato

The is nothing wrong with the humble potato
Affectionately known as the spud
So there are fancier foods that we all know
But for the British it’s our lifeblood

There are different kinds of this globular fruit
To the French it’s the pomme de terre
Even here you can choose whatever might suit
Golden Wonders, Estima, others you may prefer

Some like the potatoes boiled in their jackets
Others cannot resist them as chips
Restaurants sometimes are on to a racket
When they fleece us for fancy ‘pommes frit’

Over the years attempts have been made
The potato to synthesize
But packets of POM never quite made the grade
As the public soon realized

So there is nothing quite like bangers and mash
Any type of sausage will do
And you might even desire corned beef hash
Or potatoes floating in stew

Perhaps you prefer your potatoes quite posh
In salads, with gratin, they’re really good nosh
And if you wish to separate ‘them’ from ‘us’
Go the whole hog, have them dauphinoise!

You can see why the potato enjoys such renown
In whatever brand or type they appear
They’ve never been known to let you down
So of its demise there is little fear


Ken Fisher

[The potatoes shown above, drying out, after
having been harvested at our allotment]

Golden Glow

Golden Glow

[On a sunny July day]

Sunlight’s golden glow
Accosts our sleepy eyes as we awake
Dawn’s shadows scattered
By the radiance from the east

The prospect of a sun-filled day
Fills us with anticipation
Active hours in the great outdoors
Or lazy languishing in some shady arbour

Our spirits lifted by the vaulted sky
Azure blue with tiny wispy clouds
Flowers standing proud and tall
Bees teasing their alluring petals

All’s well with the world
As temperature mounts towards noon
No place to be out abroad in such heat
Siesta time surely has been called

From its apex the sun tips gently downwards
But still much joy in parks and gardens
As tiny tots cavort in paddling pools
And barbecue sets called into service

Throughout the afternoon’s long sun-filled moments
Absorbed in a novel’s world of imagination
Or transported by some majestic symphony
Brought to our senses by head-phones

Gradually the sun inclines toward the west
Daytime pleasures stretched into twilight
The glasses shared bring greater conviviality
Until the chill of dusk chimes benediction

Ken Fisher

The Anarchic Grace of Christ

The Anarchic Grace of Christ

[Based on Luke 15 vv 11-32 – the parable of the Prodigal Son]


It isn’t fair, we all must pay our dues,
And each must play their part!
It’s not for us to pick and choose
From our obligations to depart

That’s the only way the world can work
Each one of us prepared to strive
No room for those who’d rather shirk
All together, that’s how we can survive

Of course there are always those who won’t conform
Like the younger son, they break away
Don’t tie him down, just let him roam
From hearth and home that lad would stray

And in many days of feasting he did joyously revel
Kept by his goodly share of the paternal inheritance
Courting with the pleasures of the flesh and of the devil
Offering no apology, no excuse, and no defence

But in due time that decadent life began to pall
His funds diminished, his joy somewhat less intense
And then his former settled life he fondly did recall
Thoughts turned to home, and comfort it seemed to make such sense

And yet he knew he had no right forgiveness to expect
His father and his brother in duty still steadfast
He deserved so very little and him they should reject
Why wipe away the sinfulness of those wayward years now past?

But on arriving near his home to his very great surprise
The dissident young brother saw his father open-armed
To welcome back that younger son as if he’d won a prize
But elder son, resentful, was anything but charmed

We all know this story of the prodigal who once was lost in vice
And making sense of such free pardon is somewhat problematic
How to explain this forgiveness but for the anarchic grace of Christ
An unmerited gift so full, so free, and so dramatic

When in our resentment we ask whither ethics or the law?
Surely love alone too simple to salve our every woe?
Our inward eye might open, and discern not one without a flaw
By God’s good grace, forgiveness He doth on each bestow

Ken Fisher

[This poem was read at the morning service at Hillhead Baptist Church
at the Hilton Grosvenor Glasgow on Sunday 23 July 2017]


Do we deserve what we earn, and earn what we deserve?

Do we deserve what we earn, and earn what we deserve?

[Prompted by recent press reports on salaries paid
to BBC high earners] 

The press has been full of reports of generous pay
Of high profile broadcasters in our modern day
And this has prompted a lively debate
Some giving praise, but others berate

Perhaps it’s just envy that they are paid so much
Astronomical amounts that we’ll never touch
But the discussions seem charged with heavy emotion
As we can’t get a raise or even promotion

I suppose it ‘s because many of those who gain such a lot
Seem to have jobs that demand limited thought
And the public are funding their celebrity status
With little regard as to how all this affects us

We are told that in matters of remuneration
The market demand results in inflation
So with such unique skills and rare attributes
Celebrities expect to taste sumptuous fruit

But what of the millions on the so-called living wage?
It is not surprising if they work up a rage
For surely they deserve a bigger slice of the cake
As a fair reward for the effort they make

Of course whatever our place in the hierarchy of work
We should all do our best, no-one should shirk
We must deserve what we earn for whatever we do
But how much we earn must be equitable too

And perhaps we must question the rewards some folk gain
Funding a lifestyle of caviar and champagne
While others struggle each week to survive
And seriously question how they might ever thrive

Ken Fisher

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

Say What You Mean and Mean What you Say


I wonder how often you use an expression
With words which merely give an impression
Of what you really intended to say
And thus the whole truth it will often betray

In order to soften the harsh words we intended
Of some painful truth that would leave you offended
We find an alternative choice of words
As we are so scared of inflicting such hurt?

Politicians and lawyers are adept at this ruse
Although quite often it will their hearers confuse
So if asked when to a problem they will they find a solution
Their response seems impenetrable circumlocution

If they see themselves drawn into a limited space
By a challenge which might force them to lose face
They will blur the issue by the use of ‘soft focus’
Avoiding the truth, hoping you will not notice

Metaphor and simile are two of their friends
Thus they define things with a ‘distorting lens’
Nothing is described in the true light of day
And your misunderstanding can be washed away

In the modern world I have detected a trend
To use technical jargon most can’t comprehend
And thus all the world’s problems still lack a solution
Secreted behind all this verbose confusion

And of course it is not just our words’ intention
It’s to our actions also we must give full attention
For if what we say has to have any clout
Surely it’s those very deeds that we must carry out

So would it not be better if we simply say what we mean
Hiding nothing behind a loquacious smokescreen
And at the same time we should mean what we say
Thus our intended message we would clearly convey

Ken Fisher




Chutzpah is a word sometimes used today
Which can mean impudence, even audacity
It seems to have a long Jewish pedigree
Yiddish or Hebrew we are led to believe

You may have encountered it in the press
Used for exuberance in excess
I suppose we might simply call it cheek
Which quickly removes any mystique

It depends whether you wish to give offence
Or test your companion’s tolerance
In this light chutzpah is really effrontery
You cannot describe it any other way

But if the user wishes to compliment
And to offer  praise is your real intent
Then chutzpah is thought to be fearlessness
Heroic and daring showing real gutsiness

So it seems that you need to give it some thought
For the use of chutzpah is quite easily fraught
And it rests on the context or what we intend
As to whether we praise or perhaps deeply offend

Ken Fisher

The Glasgow Fair

The Glasgow Fair

I didn’t know this, and with respect, I doubt if you did too
The Glasgow Fair has its origins in the 12th century
When in 1190 Jocelin of Wells, Bishop of Glasgow
Requested permission of King John to hold a yearly fair
For the trading of livestock, and goods. The first fair
Was held within Glasgow Cathedral!

By the 1800’s the Fair had grown into a full fort-night holiday
Although it was only when holidays with pay arrived
That people might truly enjoy a break, either at home
Or increasingly ‘Doon the Watter’ on the Clyde Coast
‘A rer terr at Ayr at the Fer ‘ (A rare time at Ayr at the Fair)
Not forgetting Largs, Saltcoats, Troon and Prestwick

This Fair weekend brings back personal memories
For it was just after Fair Monday that I started work
Some 60 years ago as an ‘enthusiastic’ office boy
As far as I am concerned, happy days, although I doubt
If many would take the same view in our modern world

Anyway, enjoy the weekend, whether on the banks of the Clyde
Or in some far flung exotic corner of the globe
And whether the sun shines or not (probably not in Glasgow)
Don’t let it damp your enthusiasm or zest for life
And why not capture again the spirit of the fair ground
With all its joy and hurly burly

Ken Fisher


The Cicada

The Cicada

[A model in ceramics]

I have often thought that this resounding vibration
Was produced by some birds having an altercation
But when travelling on a recent holiday abroad
We were subjected to the noise that cannot be ignored

I am referring to those all-pervading continental insects
Engulfing the plane trees, making such noise to great effect
As they suck the sap which seems them to intoxicate
The males produce a high-pitched drone, all other sounds to dominate

The noise seems to increase as the temperature rises
And the fact they are seen as a pest does not surprise us
But in nature every creature no doubt has some purpose
And if we don’t bother them. Surely they will not hurt us

Apparently the “singing” of the male cicada is not stridulation
typical of the cricket, but rather a different kind of resonant vibration
By contraction of its muscles it produces those loud clicks
Thus commanding all the world around to be transfixed

One wonders if they would not by and by desist
But for hours on end they continue to persist
And eventually the clicks become as background music
A little less pervasive, if not completely muted

The cicada has been immortalized in local folklore
In French Provence it is difficult to ignore
And models in ceramics are now a major feature
Thus runs the fame of this noisy little creature

Ken Fisher




If ever there was a useful device
That solves one of the problems of daily life
The shoehorn is surely one of the best
To prevent our feet being unduly distressed

We all know that feeling when trying to get shod
Forcing our feet that seem far too broad
Into that slim tight-fitting shoe
A narrow gap they refuse to go through

We tug at the laces to make them go slack
We push the foot forward and then pull it back
We turn it around like a twisting corkscrew
But to no avail whatever we do

You would think modern ‘trainers’ would need no shoehorn
But round the ankle they are with padding adorned
Thus inserting your foot through such a thick cushion
requires much assistance as you begin pushing

It is then that the shoehorn comes into its own
By some kind of magic as yet unknown
Slid behind the ankle the horn guides our foot
By this method our problem we can troubleshoot

Shoehorns are produced from various materials
Plastic and metal, even obscure minerals
They are sometimes quite short but occasionally long
Some seem quite flimsy and others so strong

However they look, and by what means they are made
They act like a miniature form of a glassade
But just like a spade or sometimes a shovel
The shoehorn avoids all that foot-fitting trouble

Ken Fisher

POMS – Peevish Old Man Syndrome

POMS – Peevish Old Man Syndrome

I wonder if you ever find yourself in a peevish mood
No matter what’s happening, to you, nothing is good
Even if your life has provided you plenty
You always consider your glass is half-empty

You have adopted an ill-tempered disposition
All joyous thoughts beaten into submission
And no matter whatever the situation
Your usual response, simply irritation

Young and old alike are a threat to your peace
Their demands on your time makes your anger increase
Happy laughter or even friendly badinage
Produces a reaction as if you were mad

The reason for all of this I really can’t figure
Perhaps it’s their youth or obvious vigour
But I really must learn to share in their ploy
And avoid simply being seen as an old kill-joy

Being peevish will never win many friends
Instead warm heartedness would pay dividends
So I truly must stop nurturing my P O M S
And grant to the world my share of kindness

Ken Fisher

[With respect to Richard Wilson]


Continental Train Journey

Continental Train Journey

The joy and romance of a continental train journey
A feeling of excitement and even mystery
Each and every destination seems exotic
Despite the fact that many are quite quotidian

Perhaps it is the element of the unfamiliar
The anxiety of ensuring you are on the right platform
That you line up at the point for your intended coach
And not forgetting to compostez votre billet in the yellow machine!

The train trundles in to the station and you scramble aboard
If you have reserved your seat, can you find it?
Perhaps it is upstairs! A feature unfamiliar in Britain
Soon the journey starts, are we travelling in the wrong direction?
Who knows? Who cares?

We steadily progress through the suburbs and into the hinterland
Fields of stony ground support the serried ranks of vines
We are in the South of France where vineyards abound
Perhaps you prefer the olives, here in equal abundance

We gaze out at red tiled roofs and farm steadings
They seem to stretch for miles in every direction
No wonder the French are keen to support agriculture
It is claimed most city dwellers are only one generation from the land

Sometimes, at a distance, we catch sight of an ancient hilltop monastery
For centuries home to a venerated religious community
Offering up prayers for this profane world
As they devoted themselves to their Order

As you look out across the landscape little things surprise
The pylons seem like elaborate constructions from coat-hangers
And of course, who can ignore the railside graffiti?
Far exceeding the art of David Hockney or Jackson Pollock!

Inside the train we are not neglected and if you travel TGV
Or similar, you may be served a very civilized lunch with wine
And always the sun seems to shine perpetually
Surely this affects the outlook – warming the soul – who needs the wine?

One disconcerting feature which can concern the traveller
in a foreign land, is the on-board announcement to passengers
Schoolboy French provides about ten percent of the message
Check how the natives are reacting – then follow the crowd!

This journey is but a mere snap shot, a transient moment
In our life and theirs. But as the track bisects land
Little cameos of local life flash before our eyes in rapid succession
And in some small part we catch a glimpse of similarity and difference

In due time we reach our destination and climb down
to the platform – We know what sortie means!
So we emerge on to the station concourse
In expectation of further delights of the unfamiliar

Ken Fisher