Traffic Jams

Traffic Jams

The bane of modern living is the daily traffic jam
When the flow of vehicles forms a metallic dam
We sit there a prisoner in our little solo cell
With no easy escape from this very private hell

But somehow we seem prepared to endure this daily grind
As commuters we have been sensitized to problems of this kind
After all we’re not alone as we crawl along the highway
Surrounded by mass travellers as we take a quick glance sideways

As long as we keep moving we seem to be appeased
But when others break lane discipline we surely are not pleased
A string of shiny red lights ahead is a warning we don’t like
And if we stop completely we might be tempted just to hike

But of course we won’t leave this cosy little capsule
Even if lack of progress will destroy the daily schedule
Because we are safer just to hang on in there, however long it takes
Missing all the deadlines and the subsequent heartache

We are tuned into the traffic news which brings us little comfort
And we know a stern warning awaits when our boss we must confront
But we will tell her we were not alone on that crowded motorway
Not the only worker with a bad start to their day

Unfortunately there is a thought in our head which will not go away
No matter otherwise the progress of the day
And that notion is the prospect looming ever closer
The journey home in twilight’s gloom might well be even slower

Ken Fisher

[This poem is published on the day the new Queensferry Crossing
on the Forth opened to traffic (30 Aug 2017)]

 

 

Send for the Cavalry

Send for the Cavalry!

An expression sometimes used when we are in dire straits
Completely overwhelmed, the enemy at the gates
In essence, when we are facing a threatening emergency
Then that’s surely the time to call for the ‘cavalry’

Of course most of us want to remain independent
Coping with any crisis, mishap or accident
But just now and again events overwhelm
And we lose our grip, our control on life’s helm

It is then that we’re glad there is an external force
Who to our futile efforts might bring support
They will come to our rescue, respond to our call
Shoring us up just when we might fall

Who is this elusive cavalry, ready to swoop?
It might be one person or even a group
Friends might be willing to come to our aid
And our loving family will not see us betrayed

So it’s a good idea that you should keep in
With friends, even more so with your kith and kin
For you never quite know when help you may need
To summons the cavalry at breakneck speed!

Ken Fisher

Action and Reflection

Action and Reflection

Luke 10 : 38-42 Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary
 
What matters most when living life, to act or to reflect?
The truth is not just a dichotomy so simple
Life is neither all action filled, while thinking we neglect
Nor solely contemplation which all activity would cripple

Perhaps it is a matter of which mode of being
Best fits the present moment and the circumstance
Partly our thoughts and frequently our feelings
Which of mind or hand we would advance

Some people by their nature more disposed to action
Yet others content with gentle rumination
But either approach will yield its own reaction
A measured thoughtful response or deeds wrought through passion

Of course the different players may find it hard to accept
That the response of the other is truly justified
They choose one stance and the other they reject
Either to act or to reflect will forever them divide

But surely the truth is that throughout all our days
We are constantly embroiled in both thought and deed
The one informs the other as we negotiate life’s maze
While respect for each approach is what we truly need

Ken Fisher

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

[Monday 21 August 2017]

As we look up towards the skies
[And don’t forget to shield your eyes]
The moon will block light from the Sun
As its shadow will our globe o’er run

Not everyone will be in shade
So you need not really be afraid
But parts of the U S A
Will find that night replaces day

I think that those who will be in shadow
Won’t miss the daylight they must forego
Because if they observe with care
They might catch the Sun’s coronal glare

I suppose there is a kind of magic
To experience this shade fantastic
And all fear of the dark will be dispersed
As in the gloom they are immersed

Eclipses make us all aware
Of other objects ‘way out there
And just as shadows cross our path
We should not let them prompt our wrath

For the moon’s shadow will progress
Renewed light will its power repress
And in due time the sun’s bright rays
Will penetrate another day

Ken Fisher

Three Simple Pleasures

Three Simple Pleasures

1

Returning to the reassuring comfort of
your car after a long walk in the countryside
The clunk of the door closing
The magical response of the engine
as you fire the ignition
Your re-entry to your own private capsule
Fully insulated from a threatening world

2

Squeezing the toothpaste tube
Extruding the minty snake on to your brush
Attacking your teeth with that serried rank of bristles
standing in line to do their duty
Vigorous massaging of teeth and gums
And then the rinse to wash away any detritus
The virtue of a mouth so clean and pure

[Let’s hope our words match it]

3

The wicked pleasure of a sticky iced bun
Sometimes called a Chelsea bun or even Belgian
No matter what the label may be
Your villainy is chastened by having to
get your fingers covered in goo
What can match the sensuous pleasure
of biting into its spiral coil shot through with cinnamon?

Simple pleasures – surely life’s real treasures

Indulge them!

Ken Fisher

Auld Claes and Parritch

Auld Claes and Parritch

 

Like all good things, it must come to an end
And there is no chance that it will extend
I mean those joyous six weeks of school holidays
When all thoughts of work just turn to play

Of course not everyone enjoys the interlude
But for most this break can change our attitude
Free from normal routine with its constraints
Most say that they have no complaints

Globe-trotters will have travelled to sunny shores
Others have found elsewhere to explore
For many it will have given a welcome space
Some new experience, new joys to embrace

Scholars may have studied and learned many facts
Others, perhaps more wisely, just took time to relax
Parents seeking with their kids a closer bond
While free spirits might have been tempted to abscond!

Holidays should have provided time to reflect
On aspects of living we tend to neglect
An opportunity to refocus and plan ahead
These weeks may even have been a watershed

So whatever the outcome of the annual vacation
Exotic overseas adventures or humbler staycation
Whether life enhancing or perhaps even menacing
Its approaching conclusion is often unsettling

But for most of us auld claes and parritch is the diet we face
Perhaps we simply yearn for the commonplace
‘Cause notwithstanding all the excitement and thrill
The ordered life, the common task, does yet fulfil

 

Ken Fisher

Would You Credit It?

Would You Credit It?
The Credit Crunch – Ten Years on
August 9th 2007 was acknowledged to
be the start of the notorious Credit Crunch

We’ve lost those days of easy spending
Supported by our banker’s lending
Good-bye to wine, blooms by the bunch
Thanks to the wretched credit crunch

How has this happened, what has gone wrong?
Failed to save for far too long?
Or in our dealings with the bank
Not always been entirely frank

The truth it seems is more elusive
The money men are quite evasive
You might have thought they would be frank
Helping us to trust our bank

Unknown to us behind the scenes
Our cash obscured by complex screens
Was sweetened up like golden honey
But ended up as “funny money”

In former days banks held deposits
And lent from only their own closet
But now-a-days that’s not enough
Competition’s far too tough

So out into the money market
Like Mother Hubbard with her basket
To multiply her store of cash
Nothing ever seemed too rash

To profit from this increased store
The banks got ready to explore
Lending out to whomsovever
Re-inventing the “never-never “

It mattered not how you would pay,
Or from the contract you might stray
The banks were there to do a deal
No matter how that made you feel

If soon you found you’re out of luck
Re-payment made you come unstuck
Instead of payments made on time
You very soon became “sub-prime”

The US bankers took the lead
Meeting every borrower’s need
But very soon the world at large
Ensured they too had joined the charge

A new regime came into place
To grant huge loans and win the race
Thus none of us need ever wait
To meet our needs however great

Every banker now must sell
To prudence they all said farewell
But every spender really happy
Credit granted very snappy

But then it all became unstuck
Spenders seemed to lose their luck
As they began to hit the red
Bankers could not sleep in bed

Suddenly their glorious plan
Amazingly “had hit the fan”
Borrowers gathered at the dole
Bankers seemed to lose control

This enterprise had somehow stumbled
As one by one the moguls crumbled
Thus had begun what seemed quite viral
Disease around the world did spiral

Quite suddenly as if by stealth
The end of our financial health
No longer ever in ascension
Our house, our shares, indeed the pension

Well is there any consolation
Word of comfort for the nation
Perhaps it’s this – why do we trust
In things so quickly turned to dust?

Ken Fisher

The Wonders of Wales – revisited

The Wonders of Wales – revisited

Llandudno

Once again we have headed for the coast of North Wales
Whose attraction for us never seems to pale
Most of our time was spent on the Isle of Angelsey
In a little hamlet, well suited for rest and for play

It is interesting that even in the modern world of today
The Welsh language is spoken here every day
And reading the multi-lingual road signs
Can quite often be a bit of a bind

However this is a minor irritation
And Wales on the whole is a generous nation
Across the Isle of Anglesey and from shore to shore
There is much for the holiday-maker to explore

The eastern gateway to Anglesey is Telford’s mighty Menai Bridge
And not far way the Britannia crossing spans the Strait’s wide ridge
At Holyhead in the west you can escape overseas
And take the Irish ferries with the greatest of ease

Having exhausted the pleasures of Angelesey’s beaches
The short trip to the mainland makes it easy to reach
Llandudno, Penmaenmawr, and royal Caernarfon
And Snowdonia’s mountains there to be climbed on

Llandudno is a seaside town you really need to see
Its pier, long promenade where Punch & Judy still brings the kids much glee
There’s the Great Orme tramway, Happy Valley and even some copper mines
Shops to spend your money and restaurants for food and wine

For the tourist North Wales offers many attractions
Scenic railways, slate mines, Bodnant Gardens bring much satisfaction
And wherever you go or whatever you do
To have chosen Wales you will never rue

Ken Fisher

 

[See my previous poems on this subject:
The Wonders of Wales – Sept 2015
North Wales – A Holiday Treasure – July 2016
See also my Poem – Dublin’s Fair City – Aug 2017]

Dublin’s Fair City

Dublin’s Fair City

From Anglesey if you look to the west
At least if perched high in the crow’s nest
You could perhaps catch sight of that city so fair
Where the denizens seek to live with such flare

I refer of course to Dublin so fair
Which many claim is beyond compare
Not just for its girls ever so pretty
But for all of life in that capital city

So a quick hop on the Stena Line ferry
From Holyhead these ships never tarry
And with hardly time to say goodbye to Wales
You have safely landed within the Pale

Now with Irish politics one never should meddle
Digging into their history might simply court trouble
So on a quick city tour you just watch and listen
Don’t let your temper arise to a frisson

There is much to excite as you straddle the Liffey
And the commentary explains it all in a jiffy
This University town boasts many literary giants
And not just a few who excelled in science

The writers have enjoyed world renown
Shaw, Yeats, Beckett, Swift and Heaney all owned this town
But science was never neglected there
Of Robert Boyle, Ernest Walton, and Kathleen Lonsdale you will be aware

The achievements of the citizens are too numerous to quote
But one city concoction will always tickle your throat
I refer of course to their particular Erin brew
And don’t be confused it is not Irish stew

If you enter a pub in any Dublin Street
The evidence of this libation you surely will meet
I refer to the ‘Black Stuff’ – that’s the name they shout
It’s Guinness the world’s most famous stout

So it’s no use protesting that you are TT
Your eyes will light up as soon as you see
A tall pint of this quite unique Irish brew
Pulled by the barman especially for you

At last it is time to leave behind all these Irish sensations
And head back to the port for our home destination
As we leave Dublin behind with a glow in our heart
For this city where living is somehow an art

Ken Fisher