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]

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

 

 

God Surprises Earth with Heaven (for Christmas Day 2019)

“God surprises earth with heaven
Coming here on Christmas Day”
[Iona Community Carol]

God comes in a surprising way
As we awake on Christmas Day
He comes the gift we don’t expect
No more commanding our respect
We’ve grown world weary, cynical
Incredulous of any miracle
How can the gift of the Christ Child
Make God and man be reconciled?
Only in humble trust and expectation
For pride and conceit make expiation
Grasp the hand from God above
Here below, show forth his love
Thus heaven surprises here on earth
Confounded by an infant’s birth

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

Winter Solstice 2019

Winter Solstice 2019

The shortest day the longest night
Benighted souls seeking the light
The sun in deepest declination
Darkness shrouds the northern nations

The solstice marks a time of change
From the light we’ve been estranged
For longer days our hearts do yearn
Sunlight surely must return

For in due time by slow progress
Climbing sun will dark suppress
And soon its penetrating rays
Bring lengthening of each day

As the solstice now we mark
Entombed in gloom and shadows dark
Let’s look to brightening days ahead
As returning light becomes widespread

Ken Fisher

Christmas Is Coming 2019

Christmas Is Coming  2019

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
What might Santa bring me? Dominates the chat

And this year, in the aftermath of the election
What about a goody for those feeling disaffection?

Lots of choices to entertain and amuse
Making it impossible for each of us to choose

It seems no time at all, since this month last year
Your previous gift still unwrapped I fear

The problem for me is you are so very generous
Thus I am overwhelmed with great mountains of stuff

I can only wear one pair of slippers at a time
Such excess warms me quicker than jugs of mulled wine

It was good of you to buy me that new casual shirt
Its gaudy colours nearly made my dim eyes hurt

I don’t know if you’ve heard, no-one now wears ties
And my thank-youz for them are really little lies

I realise that your attempts to keep up with new trends
Might have stretched your credit, made you over-spend

But please this year don’t push things to excess
Our neighbours are so rich, it will never them impress

I am wondering if this Christmas something novel might suffice
Unusual, surprising, still at reasonable price

So here’s a few ideas which might have some appeal
At least one of these, most folks should find ideal

What about a ticket to an outdoor swimming pool?
Once you’ve cracked the ice you really will look cool

Or a trip in one of those new driverless cars
With free insurance cover for any consequential scars

I rather fancy a tattoo, of course somewhere quite discreet
Tucked away neatly underneath the soles of my feet

And have you thought of having your head shaved bald
It’s bound to leave your relatives somewhat shocked, even appalled

And how about a faux-fur dressing gown for cosy nights at home?
Or for the horticultural zealot perhaps a garden gnome?

Or this rather sick suggestion about a novel coffin
Called a “wooden onesie” you won’t use it very often!

If you need ideas on what’s now all-the-rage
Shops’ catalogues put temptation on every shiny page

As Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat
I can take PayPal or BitCoin and not just a penny from your hat!

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

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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Political Inquisition

Political Inquisition

 

I am sure you must have noticed the sharp edge of the questions
The bullying approaches in the journalists’ suggestions
As they interview politicians on their published proclamations
Seeking to unmask all cant or prevarication

It seems there is a contest to ascertain the most aggressive
Among the broadcasting gurus who can display the most impressive
Credentials as tormentor of those who would seek the people’s mandate
By destroying reputations and thus their hubris would deflate

Any doubt or hesitation, any spending programme quite excessive
Any adherence to political dogma, plans that seem obsessive
Will be dissected line by line, each cherished hope will then be mocked
The intentions of the promoters are bound to be deadlocked

Candidates are subjected to demands to apologise without reserve
Told they should be ashamed to seek support they don’t deserve
One wonders if in any other sphere of human intercourse
Protagonists would be granted permission to use such unbridled force

The interesting point that strikes me is by what elevated authority
These inquisitors are granted the right to adopt a position of superiority?
The excuse they will advance is the ‘public right to know’
But does that mean all conventional civility they can overthrow?

Perhaps it’s not surprising that some politicians are running scared
Lest the inquisitor’s examination leaves their defence laid bare
Thus penetrating their facade of confidence and bluster
Producing a performance which is decidedly lackluster

Ken Fisher

 

Black Friday 2019

Black Friday 2019

Black Friday is about to dawn
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
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 react in Pavlovian style 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

And with a General Election looming only days away
Perhaps we will embrace the schadenfreude of Black Friday
As a distraction from thoughts of frustration and foreboding
When we contemplate the battle at the polls
Where the chances of one victorious party seem obscure
But hey-ho life goes on, and so must we!

 

 

Happy Christmas
Happy shopping!

Ken Fisher