The Unwelcome Pause

The Unwelcome Pause

You are happily working on your machine
When the swirling beach ball hits the screen
Perhaps it’s simply meant to entertain
Let’s hope not the harbinger of pain

This spinning rainbow wheel should not alarm
It’s not intended to do us harm
It signifies attempts to run an application
And should not cause undue frustration

Apparently if it only spins for a brief moment
It heralds just a short postponement
But if in time it’s still twirling round
The issue may be more profound

It may mean a problem with that application
It will have crashed causing much vexation
So it looks as if ‘force quit’ will be required
Unless by another idea you are inspired

Just as with computers, so in daily living
There are times when trials are unforgiving
And we must just face the unwelcome pause
With a smile and surely not clenched jaws

Above all ‘force quit’ should never be our choice
No matter how strident that silent voice
When some event demands we pause
Let’s persevere what’er the cause

Ken Fisher

Note: On a Windows PC the swirling ball of Mac is shown 
as the ‘Hour Glass’ icon – which means Wait!

Myths We Can’t Do Without

Myths We Can’t Do Without

 

The unicorn is a mythical beast whose existence is problematical
But it does not really affect us if its hooves we ne’er hear patter
Because belief in such a horned horse is still quite enigmatical
Unlike other myths forming part of our life which really do matter

For instance our belief in money, not just those shiny new notes
But bank balances held on computers and displayed on multiple screens
Such numbers represent our current cash and even our future hopes
And of our right to this mythical money we’ll let no one intervene

Another great myth is democracy, which of itself is a fragile substance
It relies on collective agreement to accept the will of the people
And thus laws are created that seek to prevent injustice
And high respect is accorded to the principle that all of us are equal

Then there is incorporeal property, anything which is quite intangible
Unlike houses, furniture, equipment, clothes and the like
Mortgages, shares and bonds, and other paper whose value is changeable
Our collective trust in unreal things seems to be almost childlike

Then there are many other “myths” which we seem unable to do without
Social conventions, long standing traditions, original sin and the life of faith
The passage of years and modern thought have failed these notions to wipe out
Despite our sophistication they provide an anchorage that’s still safe

So while belief in the unicorn may now be outdated
And Santa Claus can safely be given his pension
Trusting in myths is by no means outmoded
Thus our modern society demands their retention

Ken Fisher

 

Who Needs Archives?

Who Needs Archives?

At first sight a rather uninviting prospect
Endless shelves, perhaps victims of neglect
Yet contained in these dusty annals there is life
The tales of love and hate, of peace and strife

Such archive records built up from earliest times
Ensure the past no longer can the facts confine
And enquirers into life in earlier days
Expose past events to the sun’s bright rays

Do archives matter, what value do they bring?
Of what great treasure the wellspring
A moment’s thought might bring realization
Here lies the history of all civilization

In compilation of the Holy Scriptures
The ancient fragments helped form the picture
Which shaped the foundation of the faith
Exposing roots to doctrines in their time and place

Historical records reveal the pattern of existence
From Doomsday Book, Great Survey of subsistence
Through decades of censuses our life enumerated
Population, land holdings, tithes and how wealth was created

Archives provide the basis for future planning
The facts derived from records past years spanning
Indicate trends and thus strategies formed for future days
Sound guidance learned from past errors in our ways

The scope of archiving is now almost universal
The use of such databases sometimes controversial
But no field of knowledge seems to remain untouched
The stories of noble endeavours, even some corrupt

Archiving for some is a prestigious project
Proudly demonstrating claims to which few can object
Enterprises large and small demonstrating from their records
The value added, the promotion of goodwill and accord

From ancient scripts, objets d’art, and artifacts
The archived collections reveal the facts
In modern days, in addition to items original
Much detailed information is now rendered digital

Photographic records, plans, maps and illustrations
Of many records provide the visual foundation
And other archives hold a cache of original paintings
Often so far undisplayed masterpieces lie waiting

Archiving is a many splendoured thing lacking appreciation
Perhaps academics only those who give acclamation
To the boundless value of this treasure trove
Hidden from view in some crypt-like alcove

In recent years access to stored archives
Has been a boon to those who earnestly strive
To trace their ancestry through family history
Thus genealogy showcases their life story

So time has come to declare the archive’s worthy cause
To claim for it the population’s loud applause
Because without awareness of our past we cannot fully comprehend the present
And if we discover the past there may be no need it to re-invent!

Ken Fisher

Who Wants the Library?

Who Wants the Library?
[Libraries week 9 – 14 Oct 2017]

Sometimes we are told our libraries are under threat
And if we don’t use them we could lose this valuable asset
I hope this won’t happen as the library is a treasure
It educates, and informs us, and brings us all great pleasure

The traditional view of a library where silence must prevail
Among the dusty shelves of volumes now quite stale
Is far from the reality of the modern resource centre
You will recognize this fact if you but dare to enter

Of course the book stock still predominates
And is hugely extensive to cater for all tastes
Within its compass you find books of diverse classification
Fiction and fact of every genre to satisfy the nation

But the library has been fully reconfigured
The range of high tech gear may leave you quite bewildered
Computer screens and audio devices are everywhere apparent
All ready to meet the needs of any keen aspirant

One of the greatest changes in the library provision
Has been the encouragement of a child-friendly vision
So every day, in their allotted space, parents and the young
Engage in song, dance and games, all sorts of active fun

If this is all a bit too rumbustious for your own taste
Don’t worry there is also other quieter space
Study rooms, WiFi access, copying and printing
And comfortable chairs in which to do some thinking!

So let’s rejoice that the library is still there to serve
And give it the support that it surely does deserve
The staff are there to help you and offer kindly advice
The open door says Welcome – so simply step inside!

Ken Fisher

Can It Be True?

Can It Be True?

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
That religion is dead, we no longer believe
Just forget it all, there is no need to grieve

Can it be true? I hope that its not
Although people say it quite a lot
That the future is bleak due to global warming
Yet most of us simply ignore every warning

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
That we are eating too much and are all overweight
And obesity will surely increase the death rate

Can it be true? I hope that its not
Although people say it quite a lot
That too many of us are burdened by debt
And bankruptcy is now an odds-on bet

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
So many folks claim they feel depressed
And the pace of life is making them stressed

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
We spend far too much time gazing at screens
We’ve become totally absorbed by these crazy machines

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
They’ve given up on 24-hour news
Tragic events just give them the blues

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
Our ‘friendships’ quite often only on-line
Rarely together with a glass of wine

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
They are fed up enduring the daily commute
Stuck in slow traffic on their regular route

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
Robots are coming to take all our work
Unemployment is looming really quite stark

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
That somehow their life has begun to cloy
And wish they might somehow recover its joy

But enough of all this long list of complaints
To this litany let us put some constraint
‘Cause life’s not all bad, I am sure that is true
And all dark thoughts we should simply eschew

Can it be true? I hope it is so
That your own life is not so blighted by woe
And when these Jeremiahs your spirits assail
Your joie de vivre might yet  prevail

Ken Fisher

 

 

 

 

The Party Conference

The Party Conference

Have you noticed how the political party conferences
Have all the hallmarks of an old fashioned religious rally?

Speakers are primed to maximise the hype
And minimize the problems of every party policy
Prospects of a new utopia are revealed
To an expectant audience, eagerly receptive

Like seasoned preachers playing with the emotions
Slogans substitute for well-loved Bible texts
The committed are encouraged to have implicit faith
In the party apparatchiks, like disciples of old

The conferences are rallying points for the likeminded
But that is not to say there is never dissent
For sometimes festering internal disputes
Can be aired and wounds inflicted in internecine strife

And of course the press and media tribe run riot
Picking fights with politicians and holes in every pledge
Demonstrating virility in unbridled antagonism
All in the name of greater awareness and public accountability

But the dominant theme of the party conference
Is unity of aspiration, solidarity in action,
Determination to defeat the opposition
And ultimate triumph of the common purpose

After all is said and done, the aim is
To ensure that the delegates go forth
Single-minded, convinced of the virtue of their cause
And determined to manifest their version of a better world

Ken Fisher

 

Freedom (for National Poetry Day 2017)

Freedom (for National Poetry Day 2017)

On this the national poetry day, Freedom is the theme
For many this is our reality, for others just a dream
Although no-one lives without limit or constraint
Our bonds and strictures bring no real ground for complaint

Freedom is a high ideal, a noble aspiration
Of democracy it is judged to be the very firm foundation
As with egality and fraternity, three virtues fundamental
In pursuit of good governance these are elemental

But not only in lofty ideals and concepts philosophical
Freedom matters to us in things mundane and practical
The liberty to go where and when we please
To choose to work and how to take our ease

Freedom of speech, to declare the truth, express our own opinion
Whether the highest authority or a simple humble minion
Freedom to worship, to assemble together, to move about the land
All forms of slavery or coercion we always should withstand

But in pursuit of this worthy paradigm we must remain alert
In defending our freedom, the rights of others we ne’er should subvert
Because true liberty demands mutual love and respect
Only thus can we aspire our fragile freedom to protect

Ken Fisher

 

The ‘Flu Jab [2017 Version]

The ‘Flu Jab [2017 Version]

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Don’t you just love it – this time of year?
That NHS reminder that can fill you with fear
It’s time once again to do as directed
And make sure from ‘flu you are fully protected

Not everyone receives this summons from high
But it applies to me – I admit with a sigh
The vaccine comes to us completely free
So take it manfully and don’t try to flee

If you are over the age of sixty-five
They will have checked your name in their archive
Unless you’re a pregnant lady, or overweight
It’s most unlikely that you can escape

It would appear that this year I can get extra protection
From ‘flu and from shingles, a nasty inflammation
So like the supermarket, the surgery is giving BOGOF*
That from these dual hazards I might well get off

If your immune system is somewhat suspect
They will be even keener your arm to inject
And if around the waist there is too much flab
They might puncture it all with the bold ‘flu jab!

Of course we should not complain of this annual ritual
Intended to ensure that we remain fitter
And withstand the dangers of those nasty bugs
That seem to behave like micro-sized thugs

So when the message arrives to make the appointment
Make sure the nurse receives no disappointment
Get along to the surgery and bare your best arm
It will do you much good and surely no harm

Ken Fisher

  • BOGOF = Buy one get one free [except that both of these are free!]

Unfettered Catastrophizing

Unfettered Catastrophizing
[One man’s description of our press and media]

No such thing as Good Tidings of Great Joy
News only news if it conveys catastrophe
That’s the creed that editors live by
News only news if it trumpets calamity

A world serene, characterized by peace
Not news unless interrupted by disaster
A diet of accident, fire, bloodshed and disease
Such graphic scenes described by the newscaster

Of course we know we cannot deny life’s tragedy
The press does have a moral duty to report
To sanitize news bulletins would of course be calumny
But is it not surprising how little good news they exhort?

Must our media ever resort to catastrophizing?
Every incident, every misdemeanor, every commotion
Showcased into something quite tantalizing
Designed to evoke the strongest of emotion

Shock, horror, the watchwords of our press
Perhaps this is the dying cry of a threatened tribe
The slant of their news reveals their own distress
In a world which increasingly ignores the scribe.

Ken Fisher

Plus ca Change, Plus c’est la Meme Chose

Plus ca Change, Plus c’est la Meme Chose

‘the more it changes, the more it remains the same’

Nothing new under the sun, we sometimes declare
Because what appears to be new is already there
And when confronted with what we’re told is new
We suddenly experience a flash of déjà vu’

Doubtless we are surrounded by never ending change
Without it life would indeed be rather strange
But frequently we have inwardly reflected
Newness is just the old, believed to be perfected

And sometimes that perfection is not quite achieved
Leaving us feeling somewhat cheated, even deceived
Eventually it dawns upon us that what is claimed as change
Is simply a revival and much remains the same

Perhaps we should be just a little hesitant
Of novelty hailed as completely without precedent
On closer examination we may find that sometime in the past
This latest idea or gizmo had been claimed unsurpassed

But if something from former times had been so highly prized
Its reappearance in another form should no-one surprise
Thus ‘plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’ should still be acclaimed
Proving the worth of continuity in a world of change

Ken Fisher

 

Hic et Nunc

Hic et Nunc

[Here and Now]


Here and now that’s all there is
Past and future don’t exist
As past is gone so let it be
Future we can not yet see

Let not shadows from the past
Cause our mind to be downcast
Nor foreboding for what’s ahead
Keep us wakeful while abed

Here and now is all that’s real
At its altar let us kneel
For hic et nunc we bring our praise
And seek to live in all our days

Ken Fisher

 

Repeat Prescription

Repeat Prescription

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Those of us of a certain age are by now quite familiar
With receiving from the doctor, nurse, or someone similar
A repeat prescription for all those many pills and potions
We take to aid our health and locomotion

But I wonder if we ever stop to think how much our daily living
Might be described as a repeat prescription, a routine unforgiving
The pattern of each day or week prescribed so regularly
That month-by-month and year-by-year it really does not vary

Of course stated thus it all seems boring and confining
A straightjacket of a life, imprisoned and constraining
But is there any virtue in our regular routines?
Although we are all human, not merely dull machines

So the life prescribed by a regimen of work and play
Such that we find satisfaction in the passing of each day
Carpe Diem – seize the day might be the best watchword
The aim and motivation by which our life is spurred

Thus rather than feeling enslaved by the repeat prescription
We should rejoice that life is truly not conscription
But freedom to choose how each day and hour be filled
In no way determined by our daily dose of pills

Ken Fisher