Clocks Go Back 2020

Clocks Go Back 2020

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
But perhaps this year no 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

Of late 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

And this year, if politicians don’t soon somehow fix it
We are all confronted with close impending Brexit!
And if that’s not sufficient to put you in a panic
What about the menace of this engulfing pandemic?

But perhaps it isn’t right to conclude on such a sour note
The human spirit is still surely full of hope
Let optimism prevail whatever lies ahead
Starting on Sunday with an extra hour in bed!

Ken Fisher

In Praise of Poetry – Poetry for the Pandemic

In Praise of Poetry – or Poetry for the Pandemic?

[Prompted by the celebration of National Poetry Day 1 October 2020]

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From bard of old to modern scribe
Folks from their clan or ancient tribe
Set down their thoughts on love and life
Of peaceful days or times of strife

Primitive symbols on cave walls
Or ancient tomes kept in great halls
Retold their tales of days of yore
Of battles, feuds, and much spilled gore

Throughout the history of their land
In metropolis or island strand
In each succeeding generation
Poets speak out for every nation

As they recount in verse and rhyme
Acts heroic in their time
Myths and sagas thus survive
And old traditions kept alive

Poetry upholds a nation’s pride
Expresses feelings deep and wide
That tell of our own situation
Our joys, our hopes, and life’s frustrations

And in their lines of rhyme and prose
The poet seeks to thus compose
A tale that touches deep the heart
Reflecting life like every art

But in that special written form
A poetic voice can thus transform
Emoted by some word or phrase
We shed a tear or shout in praise

And in this year subjected to the world pandemic
The search for solace more frenetic
Let poetry spread its special balm
Troubled minds restored to calm

Ken Fisher

Equinox – Autumn 2020

Equinox  –  Autumn 2020

This astronomical event occurs twice a year
When the plane of the Earth’s equator
Passes through the centre of the Sun
On this day the Sun shines directly on the equator
And day and night are approximately equal

Today is the Autumnal Equinox
And our minds look back to warm summer days
And forward, with some foreboding, to approaching winter
And we are happy to say, for now, not yet!

An Equinox is perhaps a good time to reflect
On all that has been good in life
To give thanks for many blessings
For holidays, and travel, and time for relaxation

As the tint of the leaves turns and they begin
To flutter down to form an ochre carpet
Like the lowering of a flag at the end of a parade
We realise that gradual change must come

But shortening days and lengthening nights
Need not bring somber thoughts
Or fears of nocturnal terrors
‘Cause winter brings its own special charms

Family gatherings round the ‘hearth’
Bonfires and fireworks displays
Trudging home through deepening snow
To celebrate Christmas with those we love

And so we acknowledge the endless
Progression of the calendar
Through equinox to solstice
And solstice to equinox,
And again
An unending gyration

But this year things seem quite different
Covid -19 has cast its shadow over all that seemed ‘normal’
When these previous verses were written
And yet we would remain hopeful
Just as the Earth progresses in its orbit around the Sun
As each season brings its own mood and tenor
Let hope remain, the best is yet to come

Ken Fisher

 

 

Is Christmas Cancelled?

Is Christmas Cancelled?

As Autumn days come closer I’m trying to be brave
Ignore ominous warnings of a looming second wave
But this virus is persistent, this fact you must believe
It hangs on tenaciously determined not to leave

Recently we had hoped it might be getting bored
Of menacing all humankind, its options all explored
But regretfully this little beastie refuses to depart
So far all our strategies it can easily outsmart

As week follows week and still the battle rages
Statistics keep confirming just how readily contagious
Covid 19 is a threat to all of life’s enjoyment
To say nothing of the risk to income and employment

Now we are beginning to give thought to Christmastide
Normally a season of goodwill shown nationwide
But are all our festivities to be dampened down this year
As we hide in our bubbles paralysed by fear?

So let’s declare to all the world Christmas won’t be cancelled
The tinsel and decorations are not that easily dismantled
Even if hugs are out we can still show our resistance
By partying, and roistering while maintaining social distance!

Ken Fisher

Algorithm

Algorithm

An algorithm as our route map to life?
As if every situation we meet
Is as simple as a T junction
Left or right – no in between

You might use
A robust algorithm for furniture selection
For buying a replacement light bulb
To choose a new insurance provider
For checking if it’s your turn to put out the bins!

As long as you can reduce every decision
To a straightforward binary choice
Yes or No, greater than or less than
If only one option of two leads on to another
You are directed down that route

Thus quite complicated situations
Are reduced to a series of logical steps
Ideal when performing calculations
Automated reasoning, data processing
Problems tackled in short coherent stages

But algorithms are now in the political arena
Blamed for the recent exam results debacle
What happens when the algorithm
For all its logic, doesn’t give the desired out-come?
Of course we scrap it

And resort to human sophistry
To bring us the result
That is expedient
That’s the realpolitik
Of modern life

Perhaps unsurprising in the midst of a pandemic

Ken Fisher

Out of Hibernation and Into School

Out of Hibernation and Into School

 

As we approach the opening of the new school year
Let us cast aside all doubts and fear
Which in our anxious minds may have arisen
As by Covid into hiding kids were driven

For several months pupils of our nation
Were subjected to forced hibernation
And despite their natural resistance
Had to maintain some social distance

A major aspect of this lockdown
Which to parents’ faces brought a frown
The closing of all schools and other institutions
To which educators had to find solutions

Thus home schooling became the norm
Mums and Dads were sometimes forlorn
They quickly had to learn new tricks
To the teaching problem find a fix

Not only that, parents also tried to work at home
As from the household few could roam
So new uses found for domestic premises
Overloading became the family nemesis

But thank goodness time will bring release
And hopefully a return to peace
When children once again head off for school
And order o’er our homes will rule

Let’s hope kids will be happy to return
When from this hiatus they adjourn
Ending these months of stifling frustration
Embraced by the blandishments of ‘real’ education

Ken Fisher

Joyless July

Joyless July

Joyless July?
Is that how you are feeling
The month normally dominated
By holiday escapades
Deprived of all adventure

Pristine summer clothes
Primed for action
Swimming trunks
Suntan lotion
Sunglasses
Passport
Don’t forget the Euros

But what’s the point?
Covid-19
Scuppered all prospect
Of sun, sea,
And Sangria!
Instead – Fish and Chips
Iron Bru
At Largs

The mind recalls
Lazy days
By Lake Como
Café culture in Nice
The Ramblas, Barcelona
Parisian boulevards

Never mind
It need not be
Completely joyless
Take comfort
In the weekly shop
The daily exercise
The Facetime chat
The Zoom assembly!

Don’t despair
Lifting lockdown
Will surely reveal
Wider horizons

Ken Fisher

Father’s Day

Father’s Day

 Let’s not forget Fathers
They still have their uses
The nuclear family
Why make excuses?

Mums on their own, merit our praises
And such arrangements we don’t criticise
But to eliminate Dads from the family scene
We genuinely feel is not wise

Of household duties the Dads must remember
When rearing the kids to do their fair share
They can’t be secreted behind lame excuses
Such tactics they know are unfair

It is sometimes claimed that Dads tend to hide
Mums get landed with too much of the work
So come out of cover all Dads thus concealed
Join the front line – you’ve no right to shirk!

But surely it’s not all bad news
There is much that Dads can contribute
When Dad brings his manly talents and skills
For these gifts we would now pay tribute

So let’s on this day say thanks to all Dads
In households throughout our nation
We love you and praise you for just being you
Today is your celebration!

 

Ken Fisher

Summer Solstice 2020

Summer Solstice 2020

A glimpse of sunshine warms our heart
Flowers and leaves reflect the light
The gentle rays caress our brow
Our lips widen with a smile

For now the daytime stretches out
Filling each hour with gentle light
Dark days of winter long forgot
Rejoice again in life outdoors

From this ‘crows nest’ of the year
We scan the horizon fore and aft
Behind, long hours of winter gloom
Then spring pregnant with promise

Ahead the prospect of summer warmth
And autumn’s gold and russet tints
But winter’s spectre lurks beyond
Vaguely threatening summer’s calm

Yet in this year of virus blight
We pray that prospects may be bright
Gradually those persistent fears subdued
Our hearts once more with hope renewed

Ken Fisher

‘Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!”

‘Don’t just do something, sit there!’

Yes, read it again, I have got it right
Not perhaps what you thought when glanced at first sight
I am suggesting the advice that we all should heed
Is less doing, more sitting, that’s what we need

Most of our time we rush hither and thither
And our energy levels are inclined to wither
Endless demands on our time is the cause
We really should learn to take time to pause

I know the pandemic has for some slackened the pace
But for many their lives have turned into a race
Working from home and being an amateur tutor
Can burn out more than just the computer

And new worries for many have surely arisen
Competing  concerns have their crowded minds driven
Keeping everyone safe and the show on the road
Service the mortgage over their dear abode

Perhaps things will improve when they lift the restrictions
Though speedy return to normal seems like a fiction
In the meantime we simply must continue to cope
And keep alive for the future our earnest hope

So it’s NOT what’s to be DONE that should dominate
We need to find time to SIT, perhaps contemplate
Of doing we have all had far more than our share
For a change let’s just sit, it seems only fair!

Ken Fisher

Tattoo That on the Inside of My Eyelids!

Tattoo That on the Inside of My Eyelids!

Have you noticed the tone of the Government’s advice?
As we are kept locked down, as gripped by a vice
Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives we are told
Now Stay Alert, which seems a little less bold

The message declared so many times
To transgress is clearly seen as a crime
No other demand can this call out-bid
Words almost tattooed inside my eyelids!

Each day on TV the officials parade
As if to perform some kind of charade
A Government minister appears on the scene
But peculiarly Boris can rarely be seen

In Scotland Nicola puts on a good show
Presented to us with her usual gusto
In her words some caution can be detected
Perhaps it is better that we Scots be protected

Testing is believed to bring us some hope
With tracking and tracing we will soon need to cope
Such procedures no doubt our lives will surround
Until that illusive vaccine is found

However at Westminster and Holyrood too
A determination to see this thing through
And no matter how we feel of this regime severe
The only choice but to persevere

So check out each day what we are being told
However you feel about this stranglehold
Don your mask, restrict your time out of doors
Stay home don’t be tempted the world to explore

Ken Fisher

Curmudgeons Under Threat

Curmudgeons Under Threat

In the current emergency state
Apparently it’s the fate
Of all the women and the men
Having reached three score years and ten
To limit their mobility
Whatever their morbidity
Because the pundits have decreed
We are too risky to be freed

I don’t think that’s really fair
To be tied to our armchair
Because many are still quite spry
Unprepared to say goodbye
Why force us into jail?
Our activities to down-scale
And while we can still breathe
Don’t present us with a wreath

There is life in the old dog yet
Curmudgeons are under threat
So leave us free to roam
We can find our own way home
All we want is a little space
To wander from home base
A journey without any tension
To the Post Office for our pension!

Ken Fisher