The Unwelcome Pause

The Unwelcome Pause

You are happily working on your machine
When the swirling beach ball hits the screen
Perhaps it’s simply meant to entertain
Let’s hope not the harbinger of pain

This spinning rainbow wheel should not alarm
It’s not intended to do us harm
It signifies attempts to run an application
And should not cause undue frustration

Apparently if it only spins for a brief moment
It heralds just a short postponement
But if in time it’s still twirling round
The issue may be more profound

It may mean a problem with that application
It will have crashed causing much vexation
So it looks as if ‘force quit’ will be required
Unless by another idea you are inspired

Just as with computers, so in daily living
There are times when trials are unforgiving
And we must just face the unwelcome pause
With a smile and surely not clenched jaws

Above all ‘force quit’ should never be our choice
No matter how strident that silent voice
When some event demands we pause
Let’s persevere what’er the cause

Ken Fisher

Note: On a Windows PC the swirling ball of Mac is shown 
as the ‘Hour Glass’ icon – which means Wait!

Myths We Can’t Do Without

Myths We Can’t Do Without

 

The unicorn is a mythical beast whose existence is problematical
But it does not really affect us if its hooves we ne’er hear patter
Because belief in such a horned horse is still quite enigmatical
Unlike other myths forming part of our life which really do matter

For instance our belief in money, not just those shiny new notes
But bank balances held on computers and displayed on multiple screens
Such numbers represent our current cash and even our future hopes
And of our right to this mythical money we’ll let no one intervene

Another great myth is democracy, which of itself is a fragile substance
It relies on collective agreement to accept the will of the people
And thus laws are created that seek to prevent injustice
And high respect is accorded to the principle that all of us are equal

Then there is incorporeal property, anything which is quite intangible
Unlike houses, furniture, equipment, clothes and the like
Mortgages, shares and bonds, and other paper whose value is changeable
Our collective trust in unreal things seems to be almost childlike

Then there are many other “myths” which we seem unable to do without
Social conventions, long standing traditions, original sin and the life of faith
The passage of years and modern thought have failed these notions to wipe out
Despite our sophistication they provide an anchorage that’s still safe

So while belief in the unicorn may now be outdated
And Santa Claus can safely be given his pension
Trusting in myths is by no means outmoded
Thus our modern society demands their retention

Ken Fisher

 

Who Needs Archives?

Who Needs Archives?

At first sight a rather uninviting prospect
Endless shelves, perhaps victims of neglect
Yet contained in these dusty annals there is life
The tales of love and hate, of peace and strife

Such archive records built up from earliest times
Ensure the past no longer can the facts confine
And enquirers into life in earlier days
Expose past events to the sun’s bright rays

Do archives matter, what value do they bring?
Of what great treasure the wellspring
A moment’s thought might bring realization
Here lies the history of all civilization

In compilation of the Holy Scriptures
The ancient fragments helped form the picture
Which shaped the foundation of the faith
Exposing roots to doctrines in their time and place

Historical records reveal the pattern of existence
From Doomsday Book, Great Survey of subsistence
Through decades of censuses our life enumerated
Population, land holdings, tithes and how wealth was created

Archives provide the basis for future planning
The facts derived from records past years spanning
Indicate trends and thus strategies formed for future days
Sound guidance learned from past errors in our ways

The scope of archiving is now almost universal
The use of such databases sometimes controversial
But no field of knowledge seems to remain untouched
The stories of noble endeavours, even some corrupt

Archiving for some is a prestigious project
Proudly demonstrating claims to which few can object
Enterprises large and small demonstrating from their records
The value added, the promotion of goodwill and accord

From ancient scripts, objets d’art, and artifacts
The archived collections reveal the facts
In modern days, in addition to items original
Much detailed information is now rendered digital

Photographic records, plans, maps and illustrations
Of many records provide the visual foundation
And other archives hold a cache of original paintings
Often so far undisplayed masterpieces lie waiting

Archiving is a many splendoured thing lacking appreciation
Perhaps academics only those who give acclamation
To the boundless value of this treasure trove
Hidden from view in some crypt-like alcove

In recent years access to stored archives
Has been a boon to those who earnestly strive
To trace their ancestry through family history
Thus genealogy showcases their life story

So time has come to declare the archive’s worthy cause
To claim for it the population’s loud applause
Because without awareness of our past we cannot fully comprehend the present
And if we discover the past there may be no need it to re-invent!

Ken Fisher

Who Wants the Library?

Who Wants the Library?
[Libraries week 9 – 14 Oct 2017]

Sometimes we are told our libraries are under threat
And if we don’t use them we could lose this valuable asset
I hope this won’t happen as the library is a treasure
It educates, and informs us, and brings us all great pleasure

The traditional view of a library where silence must prevail
Among the dusty shelves of volumes now quite stale
Is far from the reality of the modern resource centre
You will recognize this fact if you but dare to enter

Of course the book stock still predominates
And is hugely extensive to cater for all tastes
Within its compass you find books of diverse classification
Fiction and fact of every genre to satisfy the nation

But the library has been fully reconfigured
The range of high tech gear may leave you quite bewildered
Computer screens and audio devices are everywhere apparent
All ready to meet the needs of any keen aspirant

One of the greatest changes in the library provision
Has been the encouragement of a child-friendly vision
So every day, in their allotted space, parents and the young
Engage in song, dance and games, all sorts of active fun

If this is all a bit too rumbustious for your own taste
Don’t worry there is also other quieter space
Study rooms, WiFi access, copying and printing
And comfortable chairs in which to do some thinking!

So let’s rejoice that the library is still there to serve
And give it the support that it surely does deserve
The staff are there to help you and offer kindly advice
The open door says Welcome – so simply step inside!

Ken Fisher

Heavy Cold

Heavy Cold

Perception of the world dimmed
Felt-like ears muffle sound
Nose congested, breathing strangled
A constant trickle irritates the tubes
Paroxysms of coughing deny all rest
Overall sense of discomfiture

How can the body find itself besieged?
Slowly but inexorably the enemy attacks
And soon the equilibrium is disturbed
An armoury of sprays and pastilles
Pain relievers and inhalers
Seem impotent in the face of this onslaught

What to do when one defies the existence of illness?
Pretend this visitation is mere phantom
But clearly it manifests itself head on
The only wise and honourable course
To accept reality of this plague
And bear the trial with fortitude

Ken Fisher

Harvest Thanksgiving

Harvest Thanksgiving

I wonder if anyone, other than farmers, gives thanks
For the in-gathering of the harvest?
Yet it is that time of year again when churchgoers
Are reminded to be grateful for the yield of the earth
Perhaps we are so removed from it that pumpkins or pineapples
Flown in from China and Colombia don’t have the same impact

But we do realise that we all have to eat and it doesn’t
Materialize by magic on to supermarket shelves
Like sanitized meat portions of which we decline
To enquire further of their provenance, so too with the
Fruit and vegetables and everything else we consume
Our only thanksgiving is by paying the price demanded

Of course in the background we are aware that
all this is not achieved without multiple efforts –  physical,
logistical, technical and political – perhaps spiritual
if we credit God with any participation
And this may introduce a moral dimension as we consider
Climate change, migrant workers, and fair trade, even Brexit!

Of course our problem is that for most of us
We are remote from ever getting our fingers dirty
By the soil, or raising a sweat by physical labour
Perhaps our greatest suffering is backache caused by
Squinting at computer screens, and frustration
At slow down-load speeds and threats of hacking

And yet economists will tell us that all our efforts
contribute to the national ‘harvest’. Whether simply the classical
Factors of production – land, labour and capital
Or the new ‘knowledge economy’ which seems
To conjure wealth from mere ideas
And in the future will there be thanksgiving for
the robots who will take our work?

Ken Fisher

300th Poem

300th Poem [Published on my website]

 

 

Poems about people, poems about places
Poems about gadgets and modern living
Poems about planets and the moon’s phases
Poems about a treadmill, quite unforgiving

Poems about philosophy rather high-minded
Poems about gardens and plant cultivation
Poems about history of which we are reminded
Poems about politics affecting our nation

Poems about health and our well-being
Poems reflecting contemporary issues
Poems about concepts we have difficulty seeing
Poems that are so sad we resort to a tissue!

Poems about commerce, banking and trade
Poems about geography and environment
Poems about materials and how things are made
Poems that commemorate some special event

Poems that recall peace and strife
Poems trying  to make some sense of society
Poems about the useful Swiss Army knife
Poems on religion that advocate piety

Poems written about yearly times and seasons
Poems about weather forever changing
Poems written to appeal to our reason
Poems that just ramble and are far too wide ranging

Poems about insects and our friendly birds
Poems about clocks and old radio sets
Poems on obscure topics rather absurd
Poems about the credit crunch and paying our debts

Poems about holidays and time spent away
Poems about the media and all things artistic
Poems about churches and ancient abbeys
Poems for the present day and some futuristic

Poems about rail travel on the continent
Poems on photographers and the paparazzo
Poems about housing and the high cost of rent
Poems that urge you to get up and go!

Poems that reflect on industrial decline
Poems that explain about our Parliament
Poems that declare everything’s just fine
Poems about devices that people invent

Poems that try to show a keen sense of humour
Poems about architecture and building design
Poems that aim to inform the naive consumer
Poems best accompanied by a glass of wine!

Finally there are poems about poetry which I try to write
Explaining blank and free verse and meter and rhyme
I am unsure if these efforts will ever delight
But there is no one to blame as they are all mine

Well I think that’s enough to explain the wide choice
Among these three hundred poems I’ve put on display
I hope that with me, you too might rejoice
‘Cause all this is for free, you have nothing to pay!

Ken Fisher

Fallen Leaves

Fallen Leaves

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Autumn’s going, the fallen leaves a trampled carpet on the ground
Emblems of life’s cycle nearing completion, shrivelled, withered, neglected
The naked branches of the trees look down on their abandoned offspring
In dormancy they hibernate awaiting Spring’s promise of new buds

As the years pass, so too with our lives, the fruit of our days
Eventually fades, a forlorn legacy of all our endeavours
The outcome of our activity becomes a clouded memory
The effluxion of time makes history of all our deeds

But we cannot deny this natural process, the eternal round
Of birth and life and ageing and death, eventually oblivion
All we can hope for is that, just as the leaves festooned the trees
So too our labours may have yielded fruit in our own time

Enough therefore that we accept the inevitability of decline
Not losing compassion amidst the passing of the years
And in due time face ageing with a gracious heart
And like fallen leaves accept that in our ‘ending is our beginning’

Ken Fisher

Can It Be True?

Can It Be True?

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
That religion is dead, we no longer believe
Just forget it all, there is no need to grieve

Can it be true? I hope that its not
Although people say it quite a lot
That the future is bleak due to global warming
Yet most of us simply ignore every warning

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
That we are eating too much and are all overweight
And obesity will surely increase the death rate

Can it be true? I hope that its not
Although people say it quite a lot
That too many of us are burdened by debt
And bankruptcy is now an odds-on bet

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
So many folks claim they feel depressed
And the pace of life is making them stressed

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
We spend far too much time gazing at screens
We’ve become totally absorbed by these crazy machines

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
They’ve given up on 24-hour news
Tragic events just give them the blues

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
Our ‘friendships’ quite often only on-line
Rarely together with a glass of wine

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
They are fed up enduring the daily commute
Stuck in slow traffic on their regular route

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
Robots are coming to take all our work
Unemployment is looming really quite stark

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
That somehow their life has begun to cloy
And wish they might somehow recover its joy

But enough of all this long list of complaints
To this litany let us put some constraint
‘Cause life’s not all bad, I am sure that is true
And all dark thoughts we should simply eschew

Can it be true? I hope it is so
That your own life is not so blighted by woe
And when these Jeremiahs your spirits assail
Your joie de vivre might yet  prevail

Ken Fisher