Unknown Unknowns

Unknown Unknowns


With the latest threat from Covid – Omicron variant
I am not sure if we are in the territory
Of the Unknown Knowns
Or the Unknown Unknowns

We have all grown a little weary
Of the dark menace of the plague
And we were beginning to get to know it
But now are we once again, in the land of the unknown?

We know this latest beastie seems to come with
Unknown features, which may also be unkind
It’s unknown if it is susceptible to a vaccine
And it’s unknown if it is more transmissible

On top of these unknowns which are presently known
I wonder if there are any other unknowns still unknown
Wouldn’t it be great if just a little more can be known?
Changing the unknowns into knowns

One other thing perhaps is still unknown
And that is what will be the reaction of the public at large
Who know what lock-down is like, but what we don’t know
Is will they resist such strictures this time?

It is not of course known how much comfort
All of us can take from all that is now known
From our knowledge of how to respond to a pandemic
But we do already know the effect on the economy
As reflected in plunging stock market prices

The sooner the unknown unknowns
Can be turned into known knowns
The better for us all
But we don’t know how long this might take
Does anyone know?

Ken Fisher

See other Poetry for the Pandemic

Larks and Owls

Larks and Owls

Some claim that humans come in two separate versions
And larks and owls are quite different persons
Up like a lark are those bright early risers
Dark shadows of night spur the owl colonisers

The larks above all are keen to get started
Whatever the task they won’t be diverted
Out of the traps at the very get-go
No plea ever made that they should go slow

But perhaps these larks might be somewhat too keen
On some occasions such speed is obscene
Their speech far too fast, their actions too hasty
They need to slow down for everyone’s safety

Then what of those owls perhaps stirring at dusk?
If wakened too early inclined to be brusque
It’s when shadows lengthen they come into their own
Alert to a world of adventures unknown

Owls work best near the end of the day
In the wee small hours they can still be at play
Unlike larks who by this time long tucked up in bed
Cosy slumber is what they long for instead

Perhaps some jobs suit owls rather than larks
The wrong choice of person would fall short of the mark
An early shift won’t make our larks scowl
The night club disco for our feisty young owl

But please spare a thought for those bright at midday
Neither larks nor owls, perhaps rather halfway
In what we now call core time is when they perform best
And for them early and late hours are rightly for rest

Ken Fisher


Black Friday 2021

Black Friday 2021

Black Friday has already dawned
Indeed it seems never to have gone
This mad scramble for bargains
Provokes wrestling matches in shopping malls
And melt-down on computer networks
As search engines and eager bargain-hunters
Hit the town centres and the web browsers

I wonder if this whole exercise has some cathartic purpose?
Pent-up emotions being released in some orgasmic frenzy
But who stirred up the desire in the first place?
Did we harbour some deep repressed longing to buy, buy, buy
Or was it the wiles and blandishments of the advertisers
On behalf of the retailers in their constant quest for profit
Who ensured that we would not remain lethargic?

Well whoever is to blame, ourselves or the market place
The hope is that Friday will produce record-breaking turnover
Shops may be crammed with customers
And the on-line trade will ensure the white-van army
Of delivery agents will shift the goods from anonymous
Warehouses up and down the land, to your door and mine
And we will react in Pavlovian style at the ring on our door bell!

But again this year we are all still under the shadow
Of the dreaded Covid – not just at home but from lands afar
Thus our traditional retailers seem under further threat
Yet this annual rugby scrum of hungry consumers
May still bring comfort to those who our high streets would save
Remind the great shopping public that the internet offers no
Tactile experience as they wrest coveted goods from fellow buyers
Let’s hope it might maintain interest in the whole shopping experience
Heralding a rebirth as we celebrate traditional Nativity

Ken Fisher

Seriousness Can Be Overrated

Seriousness Can Be Overrated

Don’t take me too seriously
But I wonder if it’s worth
Pausing for a moment
To think seriously about

Sometimes people are accused
Of not taking things seriously
Of never engaging with enough
Gravity or solemnity
On subjects that merit sober thought

We should guard against flippancy
And frivolity when the context or occasion
Demands due respect
Thus no telling of trivial jokes
In the midst of a funeral ovation

That said, is it not sometimes true
That pomposity masquerades as seriousness?
This tendency is sometimes illustrated
By lofty preachers menacing us with impending hell
Even politicians with empty promises of utopia

Of course life is serious
No use pretending otherwise
We need to earn a living
Find a home, fund a pension
Even extract some meaning out of it all!

But can seriousness be overrated?
Is there never any room for levity?
Can we somehow progress through life’s journey
Straddling earnestness and joviality
Sharing pain and gain in equal measure

As once John McEnroe so emphatically declared
“You can’t be serious!”
Perhaps, sometimes, neither should we

Ken Fisher



[The Bard of Kelvindale’s 700th Poem on this site]

Words and verses, most with rhymes
Usually with just four lines
The fruit of my poetic venture
Throughout the Bard’s six year tenure

No political point was e’er intended
No ideology have I defended
The project, the reader’s mind to stimulate
Perhaps even amuse and educate

If I have prompted cogitation
On themes worthy of consideration
On solid facts or some abstraction
That to me yields satisfaction

I hope there has not been too much repetition
On topics that might seem like obsession
Perhaps some issues became endemic
Thus the dominating pandemic

But overall I tried casting the net wide
And for this I take some pride
Within the ‘pages’ a range extensive
And of the ‘categories’ nothing offensive

So what is my plea to you that browse?
Let me still that curiosity arouse
Don’t just check the recent posts
Dig much deeper among the hosts

Anyway it is you dear reader who will decide
Perhaps daily life keeps you preoccupied
But if one a day you find you’re unencumbered
Delve in deep into my own Seven Hundred

Ken Fisher

See also each of these: Poetry & Poetics

Poetic Opacity (National Poetry Day 2019)

The Anatomy of Poetry

In Praise of Poetry

Obscurity Masquerading as Profundity

Subject to Availability

Subject to Availability

Some things are no longer readily available
And no matter how coveted or desirable
The pandemic introduced restriction
And we must curb unrestrained addiction

‘Subject to availability’ flashes on the screen
As we browse the on-line market scene
No longer be granted instant satisfaction
Disappointment and frustration our reaction

We are obsessed by anticipation
Like Pavlovian dogs yielding salivation
Lured by market sirens so seductive
Any inhibition appears obstructive

For far too long we have come to expect
Our requests no purveyor would reject
So unavailability seems a tame excuse
Our loyal patronage to refuse

But we must learn we have no divine right
To demand that what e’er looms into sight
Might immediately become our manifest possession
No excuse for futile reactive depression

Thus if the object of desire is pro tem unavailable
Or perhaps our aims be totally unachievable
Help us to accept the fact with equanimity
Restore our agitated mind to calm tranquillity

Ken Fisher


See also this Poem

T & C’s apply


Hope Remains

Hope Remains

[Following COP26 Glasgow 2021]

The pow wow’s over, they’ll stack the chairs away
The delegates in no time fly away
A triumph some optimists proclaim
Detractors say, just hang your face in shame

No doubt the future’s not secure
No final resolution for either rich or poor
But hope remains that progress will be made
Saving earth from flood and burning rays

Surely good will emanate from this convocation
No doubt limits to resolve of many nations
Yet our awareness raised as ne’er before
Greater determination than heretofore

No cries of triumph yet neither of despair
Let not pessimism good intent impair
Nor over optimism cause all to forget
The battle for the planet won not yet

Ken Fisher

See also my Poem:



Dum Spiro Spero

Dum Spiro Spero

[While I breathe I hope]

A somewhat sombre motto
But while we breathe we can indeed hope
Of course the concern for breath
Has never been far from our mind
Throughout the world-wide pandemic
And the need for hope has coloured
Our thinking and attitudes
But while maintaining breath is one thing
Maintaining hope is quite another
Mind you, without breath we have little hope
But without hope is breath worthwhile?
Yet while we breathe I am reminded
Of the positive attitude embodied
In the sentiment which has sustained us
Namely let’s keep Hoping, Helping and Hinging

Ken Fisher

See that poem here:

Hoping, Helping, and Hingin Thegither






Sorry is not always an easy thing to say
Suggesting we might have gone astray
Done something wrong, or missed the mark
Kicked the proverbial ball outside the park

Saying sorry means we apologise
We wonder if this is always wise
Politicians rarely make such confessions
No hint of guilt in their expressions

Perhaps ‘sorry’ is somewhat overused
Leaving others quite bemused
Need we apologise for stepping first
With  others queueing  for the bus?

Some timid people’s whole appearance
Implies a lack of self-assurance
Sorry for their very existence
Pleading they should have kept their distance

On the other hand some will never apologise
Their arrogance more than life-size
They’re always right in their opinion
All life’s affairs are their dominion

Perhaps the middle way is best
Say sorry for things that you have messed
But don’t make life one long apology
Rationing ‘sorrys’ the better policy

Ken Fisher


Time is of the Essence 2021

Time is of the Essence 2021

[This poem, originally published in 2019, has been updated
to recognize the importance of time in relation to the COP26
Conference of the nations’ leaders in Glasgow November 2021]

Time is of the essence in our contract law
You can’t ignore its steady beat
Or the buyer might withdraw

Time matters when we make a point
Words can inflame or calm
Ill-timed words bound to disappoint

Time is the fourth dimension
Length, breadth and height the others
Time alone stretches our comprehension

Time of our life, sum of all our years
Because time is our life for sure
Present joys tinged with future fears?

Time for amendment of life as the Prayer Book says
The essence of our life measured in each moment
The story of that life the sum of all our days

And now in Glasgow city, in time for the leaders’ convocation
Our plea is that not mere words, but determined action
Might save this dear globe, our home and habitation

As the good and the great meet in this powerful congregation
We implore them to unite to redeem the planet’s future
Time truly of the essence, no time for prevarication

Ken Fisher

See also my Poem on COP26:  COP26