At the Threshold of the Year 2019

At the Threshold of the Year 2019

 

Time is sometimes called the Fourth Dimension
Length, breadth and height the other three
But time can fill our hearts with apprehension
No wonder that it’s often said to flee

‘Tempus fugit ‘ we plead as ready-made excuse
When everyday concerns and never-ending cares
A sense of guilt and failure does induce
Our quest for peace and freedom thus impaired

But time cannot be stalled; its steady progress will not falter
It’s march like Roman legions moving ever onward
Along straight roads, their fixed direction does not alter
The army moves in steps that take them ever forward

And so it is that in these dark fading days of late December
As we approach the threshold of yet another year
Thoughts filled with joy and sorrow as we remember
Hopefulness for days ahead but not without our hidden fear

What lies just beyond the gate of this New Year?
We’ve been warned: ‘the past no guide to future performance’
Would life be simpler if the way ahead was clear?
Why do we ever have to seek for reassurance

And so as we peer into the void beyond this New Year’s Day
We simply must accept that unlike length or breadth or height
The realm of time brings with it ‘come what may’
Our prayer remains that faith and hope will bring us light

And so my friend step onward with a steady pace
Give thanks for many blessings in the past
Let love for life and all mankind your heart embrace
And to God’s providence our trust remain steadfast

Ken Fisher

 

 

 

 

 

God Surprises Earth with Heaven

“God surprises earth with heaven
Coming here on Christmas Day”
[Iona Community Carol]

God comes in a surprising way
As we awake on Christmas Day
He comes the gift we don’t expect
No more commanding our respect
We’ve grown world weary, cynical
Incredulous of any miracle
How can the gift of the Christ Child
Make God and man be reconciled?
Only in humble trust and expectation
For pride and conceit make expiation
Grasp the hand from God above
Here below, show forth his love
Thus heaven surprises here on earth
Confounded by an infant’s birth

Ken Fisher

What do you Want for Christmas?

What do you Want for Christmas?

Christmas is the time for Wanting
So at first light on Christmas morning
We will find goodies piled ever higher
Treasures to match our heart’s desire

Wanting, the driving force of our demand
The ‘must have’ toy, the glitzy brand
Advertisers lay on constant pressure
Without their wares you’ll have no pleasure

‘Everyone is buying this stuff’
Parents challenged by such bluff
Kids hold your feet to the blazing fire
Your prompt submission they require

Such Wants are given centre stage
Nothing can those demands assuage
Households forced into mounting debt
Approaching advent makes you sweat

But must Christmas only feature Wants?
Gifts, sumptuous meals in restaurants
Must all our Wants be quickly sated
When often we remain frustrated

And well we know from past experience
Wants acquired make little difference
We thought of the object that we covet
No joy in life if we can’t have it

But that is so far from the truth
Dissatisfaction is the proof
We Want and Want and still Want more
Teach us this yearning to ignore

Our error is only Wanting for ourselves
Such motives thus our thoughts compel
What if we Wanted things for others?
By kindness we could work great wonders

We might then aspire to seek their good
Ensure their needs be understood
And then in actions great or small
Their suffering we might forestall

Wants are part of Christmas living
But of equal merit is the Giving
As we receive with thankful hearts
In generous Giving play our part

So as well as getting this Christmastide
In generous giving let us take pride
That Wants and Needs might coalesce
And mutual joy be thus expressed

Ken Fisher

WINTER SOLSTICE 2018

Winter Solstice 2018

The shortest day the longest night
Benighted souls seeking the light
The sun in deepest declination
Darkness shrouds the northern nations

The solstice marks a time of change
From the light we’ve been estranged
For longer days our hearts do yearn
Sunlight surely must return

For in due time by slow progress
Climbing sun will dark suppress
And soon its penetrating rays
Bring lengthening of each day

As the solstice now we mark
Entombed in gloom and shadows dark
Let’s look to brightening days ahead
As returning light becomes widespread

Ken Fisher

Santa’s NOT Coming

Santa’s NOT Coming

 

Santa’s not coming, I told you so
Reindeer and sledge will no longer go
He’s giving this year a body swerve
No present for us as we don’t really deserve

Like naughty children we have misbehaved
For this we can’t escape quite unscathed
During the year so much has gone wrong
And Santa’s not willing to just play along

The whole Brexit business is quite a disgrace
And from this debacle we’ll never save face
Politics has got us into such a tangle
As with fellow Europeans we endlessly wrangle

Then there is climate change which we tend to neglect
As with drought, flood and tempest we are now beset
But sooner or later we will need to take action
As melting snow and burning sun brings a reaction

Of course many think that we are doing just fine
And ask why the world’s problems are deemed to be mine?
If jobs are lost and people are on their beam ends
Surely they can call up a favour from friends

It’s a pity about the beggar on our local street
As he crouches despondent just at our feet
As we avoid eye contact and pretend he’s not there
We simply shrug and say “the world is unfair”

So I don’t see why Santa should go off in a huff
And punish us for all this nasty stuff
Why spoil Christmas, the time of good cheer
When we’ve all been so good throughout the past year!

Why is Santa not coming, it’s surely unfair
Do we have for others a ‘duty of care’?
Perhaps he will return if we stop to reflect
And then in love with others fondly connect

Ken Fisher

 

Snowflake Generation

Snowflake Generation

 

The arrival of snowflakes on the window pane
Prompts me to ask who can explain
This latest category or classification
Evolution’s most recent human mutation

A little research gives quite a surprise
When one finds in each decade there did arise
A new label by which we can signify
The main characteristics thus identify

The Forgotten Generation ended in 1910
The War years yielded the Greatest Generation of men
From 1926 till after the World War in ‘45
The Generation seemed Silent although still alive

From 1946 the Baby Boomers took us by storm
The post war youngsters were no longer forlorn
The had it all, jobs, houses and increasing wealth
Prosperity had sneaked up on us as if by stealth

1966 – 1980 was defined as Generation X
Society much changed, liberating the fair sex
Latchkey children became commonplace
As blended families joined the rat race

1981 to 2000 the age of the Millennial
Much celebration as we hit the centennial
Almost every youngster became a student
Although for their future this may not have been prudent

From 2001 the label was Generation Z
Although Snowflake now has been adopted instead
It appears our young adults have become hypersensitive
And on their virtuous opinions they are quite argumentative

I wonder if all our bright glistening snowflakes
As they go through life will have what it takes
Or will they simply melt for lack of protection
From the challenge of life as they strive for perfection?

Ken Fisher

The Family – Together!

The Family – Together!

On a cushion cover in a home furnishing store
Why would you wish for anything more?
‘Family together we have it all’  it declares
If you are not now in a family you might well despair

Like the cushion itself, these words seem inflated
Puffed up to make claims quite exaggerated
Togetherness in families is not always a feature
For familial camaraderie not everyone’s eager

And what does it mean that ‘we have it all’?
We might be the curators of things that appall
Our flashy possessions and glitzy life style
From your point of view are hardly worthwhile

And as for the habits some families display
Such common behaviour you would surely dismay
So when jointly families aspire to have it all
Would that they hid behind their Chinese wall

But perhaps these sentiments are too condemnatory
And certainly of families at large, not the whole story
Many kinship groups unite to act with verve
And together each other they willingly serve

So perhaps the family is at its creative best
When its collective energy they would invest
Outward looking to others where they see any need
Inwardly supporting by kind words and deeds

Ken Fisher

The Volunteer

The Volunteer 2018

[for International Volunteer Day 2018]

images-1

 

Where would we be without the volunteer?
Those selfless souls who freely offer to take part
Whether it be to join some ‘Great Cause’
And end up making the ‘Supreme Sacrifice’
Or whether it be for a much humbler task
Some regular kindness to our neighbour
That does not demand self-immolation
But nonetheless has the hallmark of self-giving

Is it just me who is becoming more aware
That volunteers seem to be a threatened species?
Despite political hectoring that we should all
Be part of the ‘Big Society’ showing social solidarity
Based on voluntarism and communitarianism
Each one prepared to play our part for the common good
Thus ordinary citizens should be enabled to
Provide the impetus for much greater ‘people power’

These are grand sentiments no doubt advocated
With the best intentions. Unfortunately
There is not too much evidence that the Big Society
Has managed to ‘big itself up’ to any significant scale
And I wonder why so few seem to have caught the vision
And responded to the challenge of active volunteering
Regretfully, I think the zeitgeist of our age has evolved into
That of ‘the snowflake’ frightened of pressure or responsibility

Why should this be, I ask myself?
Perhaps it is the pace of life, we are all too busy
Work life balance is out of kilter, we are living
In the ‘always connected’ mode – there is no escape
Earning a living, extensive commuting, and exhaustion
All surely play their part. Don’t ask me to do anything
OK – point taken. But will this sound the death knell
Of all that hitherto volunteers have done for us?

‘I hope not’ – I hear you say.
Thank God for the volunteers –but please, please,  just don’t ask me
[yet again]!

Ken Fisher