The Chateau and the Gateau

The Chateau and the Gateau

Poor Harry and Meghan have been told it’s not on
Their fairy tale has reached its denouement
They really cannot be that conceited
To keep all the cake and then simply eat it

The chateau an ideal place to abide in
The cake just the thing to get your teeth in
But why should the subjects be expected to pay
From taxation extracted from their daily wage?

We don’t wish to be unkind and seen to be mean
But to afford part-time royals we’re not very keen
Most of the people work hard every day
And the Sussex proposal they viewed with dismay

So Meghan and Harry and even Baby Archie
Have no doubt had quite a loud argy-bargy
But they now know how most of us feel
And we’re not coming up with any new deal

So I hope all goes well on the far distant shore
And with America they will not get bored
Star quality like Harry and glitzy young Meg
Are unlikely to find that they need to beg

So in the meantime as we bid them farewell
Who needs an HRH their career to propel?
They’re bound to succeed with their oodles of charm
And a little hardship might do them no harm

Ken Fisher

Note: the headline Chateau and Gateau is the invention of the UK
Sunday Press

Flexitarian

Flexitarian

 

What on earth is a flexitarian?
What is the meaning of this neologism
Perhaps I should ask my local librarian
Before my weary brain suffers a paroxysm

Apparently it’s related to our dietary choices
Where the zeitgeist dictates we make radical change
Responding to the many strident voices
Who warn of the fact we can’t stay the same

But it occurs to me this need for flexibility
For other aspects of life might be a wise prescription
Perhaps we should be enhancing our capability
To meet its challenges no matter the description

For instance in employment, the one job for life is gone
Serial careers, like serial marriage, is the modern way
No use hankering for the past, downcast and forlorn
We have to be prepared for living, come what may

Multi-skilling is the message, get it loud and clear
Hone your talents, boost your languishing CV
Step into unknown territory, eschewing all fear
Be ready to become the very best you can be

Go with the flow, catch that tidal wave
Ready for each original movement of trend
In music, or art, cinema or theatre
Ensure that novelty becomes your best friend

To the world of ideas extend your embrace
Let these your prejudices quickly displace
Politics, philosophy, perhaps even faith
In your pliable thinking accord them a place

So just as the flexitarian’s choices in food
Are no longer rigid and tightly constrained
Make open living promote what is good
A lifestyle which therefore is quite unrestrained

Ken Fisher

Social Kissing – a nightmare at New Year

SOCIAL KISSING – A nightmare at New Year

How to handle New Year’s greetings?

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It may just be that there is something I’m missing
But I’m perplexed by the rules about ‘social kissing’
For this without doubt is a real pressing question
And I would be pleased to hear your suggestions

For most of my life we controlled our emotion
Kissing reserved to show real deep devotion
For parents to children or husband to wife
But rarely to others in everyday life

But now that’s all changed and we kiss everyone
And I’m inclined to think it is much overdone
Not just our family or fairly close mates
Or young lovers embracing on their very first dates

No, today it would seem it is quite de rigueur
The habit ‘s almost become like a force majeure
No matter how casual may be the connection
We feel obligated to show our affection

But what is expected, a peck on the cheek?
Perhaps for many that may seem too weak
Go the whole hog, I say with a shrug
And grasp my victim in a mighty bear hug!

Then there’s the problem of which side comes first
Get it wrong and your sore head will need to be nursed
As your nose swipes across your acquaintance’s face
You will try to disguise the emerging grimace

The kiss straight on the lips might indeed satisfy
No doubt a technique that most bounders might try
But for those less red-blooded let’s keep it cool
Anyway, inappropriate kissing might prove you a fool

And now greeting each other in this a New Year
The procedure has assuredly filled me with fear
Back in the day we simply shook hands
Today full-hearted embrace is what custom demands

So where does this leave us, is there no protocol
For modern behaviour – no guidance at all?
Perhaps we should return to the well-tried handshake
And give all this kissing and hugging a break
Ken Fisher

 

[Original idea for this poem from the Daily Telegraph]

Existential Threat

Existential Threat

It is the season of year when thoughts become reflection
The darkness of the days shrouding our hearts in gloom
Musing over life’s purposes in maudlin introspection
A frame of mind where good cheer finds little room

At this time pundits give their prognostications
Experts on the media offer up predictions
What challenges and threats will face the nations
But what is fact and what mere speculation?

This New Year the future may seem bleak indeed
Ominous forecasts of the effects of climate change
Our confidence and hope now rapidly recedes
A dark and fear-filled abyss offered in exchange

Melting ice, rising tides, infernos fiercely blazing
Islands swamped, tornados wreak destruction
Forest fires whole communities thus razing
Advancing flames defeating all obstructions

And other threats to settled life, even our existence
Skulk on the landscape whose horizon we now scan
Consciousness filled with angst at their staunch persistence
Against the life of every woman and of man

From whence comes these other threats existential?
We thought the Cold War had become past history
But nuclear war by accident or design is once more potential
Led by zealots or by fools, determined to seek victory

Cyber crime has suddenly become a feature of our life
In times past straightforward fraud was for us sufficient
But nowadays not just theft but social media strife
Executed by perpetrators highly efficient

Centuries ago Rev Thomas Malthus warned of expanding population
He claimed that too many people would lead only to starvation
In modern times, family sizes fell in industrial nations
But elsewhere in our world today we see no limit on creation

And rightfully, many people aspire to improve the quality of living
So they seek refuge in other lands to find a better way
In this endeavour they face dangers unforgiving
The desire of their heart may never see the light of day

All this presents an outlook that offers little cheer
Is there no nostrum that might this angst assuage?
Must our hearts be filled with anxiety and fear
What remedy or cure might our minds persuade?

I think the best thought I can offer is that we must not despair
Trust in the human spirit that goodness might prevail
That collectively for each-other we might truly care
As on these global problems together we assail

Ken Fisher

At the Threshold of the Year 2020

At the Threshold of the Year 2020

 

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 this year we have reached the end of the decade
2020 vision implies our sight is sharp and clear
But would such clarity make us afraid
Expectation of the future raising only fear

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

 

 

Is Christmas really a time for Wanting?

Is Christmas really a time for Wanting?

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

Santa’s Not Coming 2019

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

But now Boris has won we can steer a new course
The Tories returned in much greater force
But whether this means that we’ve lost many friends
Or does the whole fiasco not make any sense?

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

 

The Fever Has Abated

The Fever Has Abated

[Sequel to my earlier Poem – Election Fever]

Election fever has abated
Many pleased, some frustrated
The people made their choice
Some weep, some rejoice

Goodbye to Europe is the cry
Rule Britannia, do or die
But Scotland demands to break the Union
With the English cease communion

Is the future much more clear?
Is there nothing more to fear?
Seems no end to politicking
By ‘events’ we’ll still be stricken

Ken Fisher

Election Fever

Election Fever

On the eve of the election, events at fever pitch
Candidates praying erring doubters will not switch
The party faithful are not the real concern
It’s the floating voters whose support for which they yearn

Some former MP’s hope for a safe return
New aspirants desire their pleas we will not spurn
But this time everything seems in such disarray
Who knows who’ll emerge victor from this turgid fray?

It is suggested that many voters will act tactically
Hoping to secure their aim by means impractically
Thus by devious methods achieving what they want
And spike the guns of the candidates that they don’t

Brexit or no Brexit seems to have split the nation
And in Scotland we have the threat of separation
We have heard all the arguments, we’ve had it up to here
So much exposure, were almost reduced to tears

The broadcasters too have weighed into the fight
Much of their questioning seems simply spite
They rejoiced in making all their victims squirm
Any weakness shown they loved to reaffirm

Then the Open Forum TV extravaganzas
Were presented like an information bonanza
But as each participant talked across the others
Any clarification of views was thus quickly smothered

Truth and Trust seemed to be under examination
Politicians being asked to give their explanation
Each candidate quizzed if they could say why
Truth and Trust were now in such short supply!

Anyway, now it’s almost over – thank goodness we say
Tomorrow’s long hours will bring judgement day
So by Friday we should know the fate of the nation
In the meantime we must wait in quiet consternation

Ken Fisher

I Wonder, I Wonder

I Wonder, I Wonder

Have you ever stopped to speculate
Why humans often ruminate
Can’t we be like all other creatures
Where wondering is not a feature?

Do insects spend time trying to guess
Does thinking make a beetle stress?
About the future they have no care
Of politics quite unaware

The fish that glide through deep blue seas
Think nothing of the credit squeeze
Even less of the interest rate
Which makes no difference to their fate

Giraffes and monkeys stay quite composed
Neglecting threats to which they’re exposed
Their minds fixed on the present moment
No worrying thought disturbs enjoyment

So why must we spend time on anxious thought?
Our waking moments often fraught
By concerns for actions in the past
And future fears our mind o’ercast

It’s all because we have to wonder
With thinking, our consciousness encumber
Our minds filled with endless speculation
Our rational reasoning overtaken

Wondering is about imagination
Expanding horizons without limitation
Of new possibilities we become aware
Some will thrill, others scare

Yet we would not lose this wondering skill
Renounce the power to excite or thrill
But use this talent to reflect
Thus enhance the intellect

Ken Fisher

Obscurity Masquerading as Profundity

Obscurity Masquerading as Profundity

At the risk of appearing to be a philistine,
A man ignorant of the difference between
High culture and tasteless vulgarity
I venture to suggest that sometimes
The advocates of refinement in the arts
Might seek to present their case
Enshrined in obscurity masquerading as profundity

Have you ever sat through a classical concert?
Where the cacophony of sound
Became an assault to your ears?
But you nodded enthusiastic agreement
When asked to acknowledge your appreciation
Or, in attending a new exhibition of sculpture
Muffle your laughter at the ludicrous display

Similarly the ballet, although demonstrating
Physical virtuosity, and artistic finesse
Might tax our imagination as to what
We are meant to decipher from the
Intricacies of movement
And nuances of shape and form
Presented for our delectation?

And so I could go on
Paintings selling at million dollar
Price tags. Wrestled over by the mega rich?
Such works would be a credit to any playgroup!
And finally, what about some arcane poetry?
Utterly impenetrable, fundamentally meaningless
But here you are bound to say – what does he know?

Don’t  his verses also come from the nursery?

Ken Fisher

Advent-ure 2019

Adventure [To mark the 3rd Anniversary of moving, on the first Sunday in Advent 2016 ,  of Hillhead Baptist Church, Glasgow to temporary accommodation in a West End Hotel]

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This is the tale of our church that is now on the move
From the building which for years was the home that we loved
But time has come to embark on a venture
Which perhaps for many will prove an adventure

For long we have waited the signal to go
And with anticipation our hearts were aglow
At last it would seem the conditions are right
The congregation together will join in the flight

But we are not flying far, thank goodness for that
Just a few hundred yards to the Welcome mat
Of a local hotel with doors open wide
Happy to let us gather inside

On this first Sunday in the Advent Season
I think we will find there is every good reason
To look forward in joyful anticipation
Like the Shepherds of old, full of expectation

So let’s join the Adventure with no hesitation
No doubts in our hearts or prevarication
No matter the changes we’re sure we will cope
For trusting in God we truly have hope

As we depart from the Tryst and take to the road
To the place we have chosen as our temporary abode
This adventure is sure to bring us success
As by faith’s road we onward progress

And now three years on the congregation still waits
Although early building development we anticipate
In the meantime we all remain in good heart
Each seeking, with God’s help, to still play our part

Ken Fisher

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