Atoms Who Think About Atoms

Atoms Who Think About Atoms

How do humans differ from all else there is?
A rather tricky question if presented in a quiz
For in so many ways this two-legged animal
Is to all created things really quite compatible

Apparently everything there is is made of tiny particles
Things like rocks and trees and every kind of article
Metals and gases, fluids, cloth and chocolate bars
Packed tight with minute atoms no matter what they are

Everything in the world that we can recognize
Things in the depth of oceans or high up in the skies
Are neatly ordered atoms that we call molecules
That interact together following set rules

So objects inanimate like plastic and also things that live
Are all comprised of atoms extremely dominutive
But despite their throbbing nucleus they do not seem to think
And you won’t find a bright idea in cold custard or in zink

If we are looking for atoms which are capable of thought
It has to be homo sapiens who has risen to the top
Embedded in their cranium pulsates their wondrous brain
Inside this organ we find the realm of thought’s domain

And what do these human creatures think on most of all?
They wrestle with life’s mysteries in issues great and small
An endless quest to understand what other atoms do
Standing on giants’ shoulders to discover something new

Ken Fisher

Do You Ever Wonder?

Do You Ever Wonder?

 

Do you ever wonder if your Mum and Dad had never met
Would non-existence make you feel upset?
But they did meet and they got together
So little point in any wondering whether

Do you ever wonder if you had lived elsewhere
Would your life have been a quite different affair?
But you exist when and where your life was lived
And despite or because, you seem to have survived

Do you ever wonder about your education
Should you have had greater aspirations?
But you did your best with the chances that you had
Nonetheless it proved a steady launching pad

Do you ever wonder about your chosen career
Did it allow any hidden talents to appear?
In due time you had the chance to blossom
So your contribution may not simply be forgotten

Do ever wonder if you were a good husband/wife
Would you be faithful throughout all of life?
But you showed that by your loving concern and care
Loyalty brings its own reward as you travel life’s diverse ways

Do you ever wonder if your life has any meaning
A purpose behind all your doing and dealing?
Surely your investment in the service of your friends
Did yield for all a living dividend

Do you ever wonder if you would be missed
If from life’s stage you were suddenly dismissed?
Each and every one of us will have played our part
The loss of any player brings a void in the collective heart

Ken Fisher

This shouldn’t happen and ought to be stopped!

This shouldn’t happen and ought to be stopped!

 

Do you ever pause to think of things that happen that ought to be stopped?
For instance the winter this year which failed to come to an end
Or the old BHS stores we liked and should never have flopped
The strident on-line sales campaigns that insist we must spend

Or the enormous holes in the roads which the council ignores
And the continuing closure of many local bank branches
The interruption of TV shows by adverts we all deplore
Worse, unexpected bills which can ruin our finances

Special offers which only apply to the size we don’t choose
The exorbitant charges imposed at so many car parks
Failing to forget our troubles by taking much booze
And delays on our streets by never ending road-works

News bulletins demanding that we must take action
Tradesmen who promise but never appear
Media gurus who bully to get a reaction
And health warnings designed clearly to scare

And so it goes on, the long litany of woes
Wherever we turn there are things to be stopped
But who’s going to do it, nobody knows
Perhaps all our complaints will have to be dropped!

Ken Fisher

Hell Still Hovers

Hell Still Hovers

 

It has been stated that someone very high up
Has claimed that Hell’s time is virtually up
I don’t know where he got that idea
I wish it were true, but it’s wrong I fear

We are all quite happy that Heaven exists
And if Hell were gone it might not be missed
But it was handy to have a fiery sin bin
Where lifetime baddies their strife might begin

Thoughts of Hell remind us all we must behave
And never to vices should we become slave
Dante famously journeys through darkest Hell
Midst many trials ere he could bid it farewell

Jean Paul Sartre declared that Hell is really others
A somewhat low opinion of our sisters and brothers
But perhaps we too make hell for all those around
Less paradiso, more battleground

If Hell is abolished what of purgatory?
Where souls might rest while still transitory
No need for our prayers to aid early release
Subjected no more to the Church’s caprice

But does all this mean Hell cannot be real?
And Heaven is surely the only Big Deal
Perhaps both of these places exist in the mind
In the rich imagination of all humankind

So whether in fact or merely in thought
Regardless of what our life journey has wrought
If Hell’s dark spectre still hovers out there
It would be a sensible course if we could aim for elsewhere!

Ken Fisher

Ask Me No More

Ask Me No More

Ask me no more if with life I am content
No word or deed of which I now repent
No hasty action, no negligent omission
Rightly deserving others’ cutting admonition

Ask me no more if I have lived a virtuous life
Free from conflict, devoid of hostility or strife
For virtue is not simply some personal rectitude
But the moral life lived amidst the multitude

Ask me no more how happiness be gained
Does it demand all passion be constrained
But would such existence lose all humanity
Bound down by false notions or morality

Ask me no more if a conclusion I have reached
So many questions, I feel like a man impeached
Contentment, virtue, happiness, all three
Ask of me no more, but simply let me be

Ken Fisher

[First line each verse with due deference to
Thomas Carew – 1595-1640]

Clocks Go Forward 2018

Clocks Go Forward [Sunday 25 March 2018]

 

The days are getting longer, more light to bring us cheer
Threats of dark stormy winter nights, begin to disappear
Spring has come, our clocks must be advanced
At 2AM we lose an hour that our daylight be enhanced

The loss of that hour surely will be compensated
Afternoon pleasures not so readily truncated
Hobbies and pastimes in the great outdoors
Twilight no longer threatens, more leisure time is ours

As we follow the command that we all now Spring Forward
Just as in October we duly did Fall Backward
Let’s welcome the prospect of summer days ahead
And not regret the loss of one cosy hour in bed

The cycle of the year to our life brings order
Each season occupying its own allotted quarter
The changing of the clock part of that settled plan
Pity they don’t seem to tell our friend the Weatherman!

Ken Fisher

Thinking too much is doing my head in

Thinking too much is doing my head in

 

Thinking too much is doing my head in
A cerebral battle that I cannot win
A head filled with thoughts and endless ideas
And strong emotions that can bring me to tears

My mind is awash with conflicting beliefs
No clear guidance comes to give me relief
I try to make sense of all these strange notions
But hours of reflection yield no solutions

During the day I at times ruminate
Floating on dreams, I almost levitate
While my nights are filled with disturbing nightmares
Of frightening scenarios that lead to despair

At other times my brain wrestles with puzzles
Their complexity can often leave me befuddled
Crosswords, anagrams, Sudoku, or mahjong
No matter what, it seems to go wrong

Then there are the deep thoughts of philosophy
Whose concepts claim to be filled with profundity
But such thinking can often lead to confusion
Or deceive the mind with some sophist’s delusion

In order to free us from such potential tyranny
While avoiding the need for a shrink’s pricey therapy
We might need to give our head a thorough spring clean
And put our brain into temporary quarantine

So what might be the solution that will for us work best?
The fashion these days is surely Mindfulness
By this clever technique you learn to live in the moment
Thus putting a stop to the brain’s constant ferment

If you can achieve this new calm mental state
You will no longer find thoughts agitate
Accepting your feelings and body sensations
And neutralize all those brainwave fluctuations

Of course those who this cure would advocate
Will from your brain all these thoughts extirpate
Can offer no guarantee this internal battle to win
Ensuring your head won’t still feel done in!

Ken Fisher

Algorithm

Algorithm

 

An algorithm is a concept of which we should take heed
A kind of diagram which shows us how to proceed
To solve a problem by breaking it down to small steps
Making decisions unambiguous is the main object

Primarily used to solve conundrums mathematical
It can be employed to cope with tasks quite practical
By considering the flow of information in a process
And the choices at each stage throughout its progress

Algorithms are the heart of most computer programs
Compiled as binary choices shown as in a diagram
A question is asked for which the answer is yes or no
And the response determines just how to go

Algorithms can be defined as a set of rules
Within a sequence of operations they form the tools
Whereby a computer can make ‘decisions’
According to a defined set of conditions

Thus by the use of algorithms joined together
Decisions are made on ‘greater or lesser’
Or the scale of a value or magnitude
And the measures such as latitude

The whole approach assumes that there is nothing
That cannot be defined as zero or one thing
Thus the binary system employed in its glory
The very heart of every algorithmic story

All these processes are performed at the speed of light
On huge chunks of data held by the megabyte
And computers do their work with such composure
The inner workings never revealed to external exposure

There is no doubt that the algorithm deserves our praise
As the performance of machines it continues to raise
But prophets of doom fear for our future employment
As robots will doubtless enforce our replacement

Because algorithms bring artificial intelligence
Clever machines designed with great elegance
To take over from humans the work that we do
An advance that in time we may well  rue

We can only hope that the mighty algorithm
Will nonetheless improve the human condition
And perhaps at some glorious future date
From drudgery it might all of us liberate

Ken Fisher

Rewind

Rewind

If only, if only, we could hit the rewind
Swallow those words, rub out the lines
Take back what we’ve said in that moment so rash
Pick it all up, dump it in Trash

And not just our words, quite often our deeds
Ignoring others, only concerned for our needs
Blundering on with so little thought
Creating a climate ever so fraught

If only we might pause at that critical moment
And thus avoid leaving a hurtful endowment
Just stem the flow of unkind invective
Prompting regrets in the retrospective

It would be better if we could freeze-frame
Be mute for a moment before we declaim
Then ask ourselves why be so unkind?
And avert the need to beg for rewind

How might we avoid this need for regret
Praying that others will early forget?
Before every hasty word or precipitate action
Think first of others and their reaction

Let’s not forget that well-known adage
And thereby avoid unnecessary damage
‘It’s nice to be nice’ I am sure you agree
And from contrition you will be set free

Ken Fisher

That was Then, this is Now

That was Then, this is Now

When we reflect on days gone by
We may recall with a deep sigh
Of customs we now disavow
But that was then, this is now

There never was a question whether
Before marriage you might live together
Social pressure would not allow
But that was then, this is now

Partners were business associates
Not sharing a bedroom with your mate
Today we won’t  raise an eyebrow
But that was then, this is now

Times past we blithely described something ‘gay’
Perhaps  bright flowers on a sunny day
Today gay means equal status we on all endow
Not like then, for this is now

On one thing for certain you can rely
Constant change you can’t deny
Thus we must learn to cope somehow
For that was then, and we live now

Ken Fisher

Photoshop Identity

Photoshop Identity

 

It has been claimed ‘the camera never lies’
And you simply must believe your eyes
But in this modern world, oh so high tech
That final image you should surely check

Because it’s now easy to manipulate
Thus unwanted features we obliterate
From those raw images once original
Captured by our lens then made digital

Snappers are happy with their efforts
Slight imperfections bring no discomfort
But experts feel the need to titivate
Thus post-processing simply cannot wait

So as soon as their images are downloaded
And the pixels have all been decoded
Photoshop software is called into service
Ready to work its transforming marvels

With a battery of tools ever so extensive
Its capability is most comprehensive
It can adjust exposure and colour saturation
Even straighten out chromatic aberration

It can zoom in and out and remove every blemish
Wipe out mysterious shadows which seem to menace
Pick out highlights and make minor corrections
And break up the image into multiple sections

By setting up layers it tackles each issue
Overlaying the problem with a distinct tissue
Making eyes sparkle ever so bright
Turning dark patches into clear light

It is even possible to switch someone’s head
And make people appear when you thought they were dead
Thus bodies and faces we can interchange
A practice that many will consider quite strange

This magic software uses a number of tools
Each one has to be used according to rules
You can paint bits of the screen with special brushes
Causing pallor or if needed, even hot flushes!

You can crop the photo or make it expand
A tiny image made really quite grand
There is an adjustment brush and a graduated filter
Help you sort things out if they all go out of kilter

You can apparently even decide to dehaze
And reorder items that get out of phase
Indeed there nothing impossible for this mighty edit
And we really ought to give the inventors credit

But there is one thing that concerns me and perhaps you
How do we know that the final image is true?
And while we may have claimed the camera never lies
Of the final production – can we believe our eyes?

Ken Fisher

Attitude

Attitude

 

Perhaps it’s how I think
Perhaps just how I feel
I wonder if there is a link
My thoughts thus made real?

‘It depends upon our attitude’
Is a phrase often rehearsed
Is this not just a platitude
From those in cliches well versed?

But attitude does truly matter
As we confront a situation
With fear or else with laughter
Signalling hope or trepidation

In the harsh world of competition
A little ‘attitude’ is surely needed
Set aside our inhibition
To ensure our plea is heeded

‘Attitude ‘ in a product or a service
Is now seen as quite a quirky virtue
Don’t hide it neath the surface
Loudly proclaim it to be true

The attitude of others affects our own reaction
An outlook, viewpoint and perspective
Our response to each new interaction
Oftimes personal and subjective

Perhaps you have recently heard the claim
A ‘can-do attitude ‘ is much to be prized
So if that style you can maintain
Without doubt you’ll be admired

Thus attitude, under whatever guise
Doubtless has significance
To reflect on it is wise
Don’t just leave life to chance

So in your  attitude be mindful

And never be forgetful
Of that timeless maxim
“Do unto others as you would have them
do to you”

Ken Fisher