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

 

Black Friday 2018

Black Friday 2018

Black Friday is about to dawn
Indeed it seems never to have gone
This mad scramble for bargains
Gives birth to rugby scrums 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
We are assured 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 jump for joy at the ring on our door bell!

And this year when traditional retailers seem under threat
Perhaps this annual rugby scrum of hungry consumers
Will 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 renew interest in the whole shopping experience
Heralding a rebirth as we celebrate traditional Nativity

Happy Christmas
Happy shopping!

Ken Fisher

No Sign of it There

No Sign of It There

 

No sign of it there, we have to concede
Our searches so far are of little avail
It looks as if we will not succeed
All our diligence simply will not prevail

No sign of it there, where can it have gone?
We’re sure that it’s somewhere that we can discover
If we keep on seeking, then before very long
The missing treasure we might soon recover

No sign of it there, is it worth so much trouble
Do we really need that illusive possession
Would its retrieval require a life-threatening struggle
Why let our quest be a consuming obsession?

No sign of it there, but why does it matter
We can live without it, or that is the rumour
When they hear what ‘s lost there will be no laughter
For sadly what’s missing is our sense of humour

Ken Fisher

Small Talk and Loose Talk

Small Talk and Loose Talk

In the War we used to say that
‘Loose talk Costs lives’
But today it has been claimed that
Small talk can Save lives’
 

Now loose talk and small talk are
Not quite the same.
Loose talk might lead to people
Being put in danger by giving
Secrets to the ‘enemy’
 

Small talk is simply gentle chatter
That seeks to break the ice
between strangers or casual acquaintances
And small talk may lift people out of danger
When they are on the point of harming themselves

So let’s resolve to eschew modern loose talk
Which might simply amount to gossip
Tittle-tattle that is little less than
Character assignation by the unbridled tongue
The half-truth, the vague innuendo or sweeping generalisation

In its stead let’s espouse small talk
Which rather than being merely superfluous
Helps to establish connections, build bridges
Promote friendship and concord
And might even save the anxious soul from themself

Ken Fisher

Hunker Down

Hunker Down

 

Ever feel tempted to just hunker down
When the world around is wearing a frown?
So much is happening that is not to my taste
To a place of refuge I need to make haste

But where can I hide when there is so much to fear?
No place of safety seems to be near
Unless I intend to get out of town
The only choice left is to hunker down

But what are all those menacing threats
That raise the pulse and bring on the sweats
Where does that bogeyman reside
Show yourself – why must you hide?

Perhaps the spectre is all in my head
Fears from the past, long since dead
So why any need to crouch and to cringe
When on my peace they no longer impinge?

The problem today is we are too wide-awake
Newsfeeds from the media drag us in their wake
In every tragedy we must participate
The press conspires to make this our fate

But what are these fears which strike at the heart
And our reasonable thoughts will thus distort?
Some might be just a mere irritation
Others undermining the whole blessed nation

So forebodings about an impending malady
Aches and pains that we claim are agony
Through to major concerns about Brexit
Which politicians are likely to fix it?

Then there are concerns for the life of the planet
And climate change perhaps leading to havoc
Debates about trade bring on endless haggling
Can so easily end up with loud sabre rattling

At the personal level, heavy debt brings on much tension
Finding a job, a home, and affording a pension
So no wonder we feel quite overwhelmed
To take some evasive action we are thus compelled

But if at the end of the day there is no easy cure
The vagaries of life we must simply endure
Hunkering down for the immediate duration
Our only response to a dire situation

But let’s not allow ourselves to get too depressed
And with our problems become quite obsessed
In due time dark clouds are bound to blow over
We will rise from the hunker and regain composure

Ken Fisher

Rant

Rant

Why do I find that sometimes I rant?
Adopting a style that is most arrogant
I can fly off the handle without reason or rhyme
Lambasting my hearers in double quick time

Sometimes my ranting is on some hobbyhorse
Maybe an obsession or perhaps even worse
I feel that I thus might put the world straight
Save these poor souls from their terrible fate

What a pity they seem disinclined to listen
To my warnings spawned from my infinite wisdom
Notwithstanding my earnest pleas from the heart
From my judgment they obviously prefer to depart

I wonder if they are put off by my hectoring style
My angry expression with never a smile
I shout quite a lot when in such high dudgeon
They turn quickly away from a ranting curmudgeon

Perhaps I should try a more gentle approach
Not always my audience trying to reproach
More measured words and kinder expression
Renouncing a stance that smacks of aggression

I need to learn that to ’win friends and influence people’
I must not attack them with a verbalized needle
But adopt a manner that might favour implant
Eschewing all proneness to rave and to rant

Ken Fisher

Clocks Go Back 2018

Clocks Go Back 2018

The days are getting shorter, the nights are drawing in
In no time at all we will arrive at Halloween
Darkness is descending, as we struggle through the gloom
Look out for the guisers draped in their costume

‘Ere we reach that ‘hallowed’ eve the clocks must be turned back
Between Saturday and Sunday an hour they give us back
For last Spring those same clocks were moved an hour forward
To rectify that change now the movement will be rearward

It seems to me this time of year might make you feel depressed
And sometimes negative feelings can be manifest
Some people think this clock change is the harbinger of doom
And thoughts of hibernation fill their hearts with gloom

But most of us will soon accept the changing of the light
Brighter in the morning, then earlier dark at night
Nothing’s really changed, it’s ourselves who’ve played a trick
Tinkering with the clock hands but letting it still tick

So with the changing of the hour we revert to Greenwich Mean
British Summer Time left behind till Spring’s green shoots are seen
But at least we know now where we are, the timing quite official
No fiddling with the hours of day or night, no changes artificial

But this year there has been even greater pressure
Which amidst Brexit could cause great displeasure
Demands that we align with Europe using single and double BST
Unpopular notion for those who from continental shackles would us free

Ken Fisher

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects

What comes to mind
When someone mentions sharp objects?
Perhaps protruding nails or shards of glass
A broken fence with wayward barbed wire
Exposed lawnmower blades as you cut the grass

But hazards are not always confined
To factory or workshop, garden or atelier
The garage by no means the only source of danger
Nor industrial sites the exclusive minefield
Where accidents might yet prove a life-changer

It depends on how we define a sharp object
Is it always necessary to be razor-edged?
There in no doubt that tools and machines
Do posses a kind of ‘inherent vice’
Often presenting an edge that is keen

But I would wish to suggest
Sharp objects may encompass a wider sui generis
Than simply inanimate gadgets and useful devices
Lots of our fellow human beings can be pretty sharp
With personalities as if enlivened by spices

So when we are warned to beware of sharp objects
It is more than protective clothing we seek
We may have to prepare for the barbs and sneers
From the critical, sarcastic or ironic tongue
Which would destroy our hopes and raise our fears

Indeed the world we have to inhabit
Can often draw us up extremely sharply
A sudden change of fortune might arise
Piercing our comfortable carapace
Heralding the most unwelcome surprise

So my plea is that we may remain vigilant
For pointed dangers lurking all around
Not just the equipment of the artisan
But sharpness from whatever source
Potential risk from everyman

Ken Fisher

Manhood

Manhood

 

You may have noticed the recent comments in the press
Which seem to push the PC agenda to excess
It now appears selling tissues described as man-size
Is offensive in some peoples’ eyes

Of course I’m not sure if you need a mansize nose to match
And that might be deemed to be the catch
Without a hooter of appropriate scale
Equality of use we might curtail

More likely the Mansize description is the issue
Bringing opprobrium to the worthy tissue
Members of the gentler sex may sense
Exclusive use by men would cause offence

But I am sure the makers of these fulsome wipes
Did not intend to stereotype
Ladies finding equal satisfaction
For larger sheets have much attraction

But it seems the Mansize description will have to go
Although such dimensions will still be on show
It’s just the name that has to change
You’ll then have “Extra Large” in exchange

Ken Fisher

With due regard to Press publicity and Kimberly-Clark

Placebo – or Who’s Kidding Who?

Placebo – or Who’s Kidding Who?

[Following on a recent TV programme on the power of the placebo
to bring about health improvement]

 

When seeking relief from all of our ills
Maladies of body or mind
We ask our doctor to prescribe some pills
In whose trust we are quite unfeigned

Research is now showing it is this belief
Rather than the medicine’s ingredients
Which brings the patient much relief
And proves to be the most expedient

A placebo is simply a harmless pill
Whose components have no real effect
And whether or not you think you are ill
Your condition should remain unchecked

But that is not the complete conclusion
If the patient thinks the dose is for real
In their mind it is not just illusion
Thus convinced how much better they feel

Now you may think this is a massive con-trick
But who’s kidding who is the question
Why does the patient claim they are no longer sick
Can all this be auto-suggestion?

Ken Fisher

Don’t Hold Your Breath!

Don’t Hold Your Breath!

 

Don’t hold your breath we’re often told
When expectations run uncontrolled
Breath withheld in anticipation
Of impending joy and jubilation

Don’t hold your breath and avoid disappointment
If things go awry then you won’t show resentment
‘Cause in an uncertain world we can never be sure
Intentions defeated by some ‘force majeure’

Don’t hold your breath when a promise is given
Fulfilment thwarted and you are left feeling stricken
Somehow or other it fails to conform
The magic nostrum might underperform

Don’t hold your breath awaiting utopia
When your half-empty cup is no cornucopia
With honest realism just face every day
Ensuring that deep breath won’t be blown away

Ken Fisher