Heavy Cold

Heavy Cold

Perception of the world dimmed
Felt-like ears muffle sound
Nose congested, breathing strangled
A constant trickle irritates the tubes
Paroxysms of coughing deny all rest
Overall sense of discomfiture

How can the body find itself besieged?
Slowly but inexorably the enemy attacks
And soon the equilibrium is disturbed
An armoury of sprays and pastilles
Pain relievers and inhalers
Seem impotent in the face of this onslaught

What to do when one defies the existence of illness?
Pretend this visitation is mere phantom
But clearly it manifests itself head on
The only wise and honourable course
To accept reality of this plague
And bear the trial with fortitude

Ken Fisher

Harvest Thanksgiving

Harvest Thanksgiving

I wonder if anyone, other than farmers, gives thanks
For the in-gathering of the harvest?
Yet it is that time of year again when churchgoers
Are reminded to be grateful for the yield of the earth
Perhaps we are so removed from it that pumpkins or pineapples
Flown in from China and Colombia don’t have the same impact

But we do realise that we all have to eat and it doesn’t
Materialize by magic on to supermarket shelves
Like sanitized meat portions of which we decline
To enquire further of their provenance, so too with the
Fruit and vegetables and everything else we consume
Our only thanksgiving is by paying the price demanded

Of course in the background we are aware that
all this is not achieved without multiple efforts –  physical,
logistical, technical and political – perhaps spiritual
if we credit God with any participation
And this may introduce a moral dimension as we consider
Climate change, migrant workers, and fair trade, even Brexit!

Of course our problem is that for most of us
We are remote from ever getting our fingers dirty
By the soil, or raising a sweat by physical labour
Perhaps our greatest suffering is backache caused by
Squinting at computer screens, and frustration
At slow down-load speeds and threats of hacking

And yet economists will tell us that all our efforts
contribute to the national ‘harvest’. Whether simply the classical
Factors of production – land, labour and capital
Or the new ‘knowledge economy’ which seems
To conjure wealth from mere ideas
And in the future will there be thanksgiving for
the robots who will take our work?

Ken Fisher

300th Poem

300th Poem [Published on my website]

 

 

Poems about people, poems about places
Poems about gadgets and modern living
Poems about planets and the moon’s phases
Poems about a treadmill, quite unforgiving

Poems about philosophy rather high-minded
Poems about gardens and plant cultivation
Poems about history of which we are reminded
Poems about politics affecting our nation

Poems about health and our well-being
Poems reflecting contemporary issues
Poems about concepts we have difficulty seeing
Poems that are so sad we resort to a tissue!

Poems about commerce, banking and trade
Poems about geography and environment
Poems about materials and how things are made
Poems that commemorate some special event

Poems that recall peace and strife
Poems trying  to make some sense of society
Poems about the useful Swiss Army knife
Poems on religion that advocate piety

Poems written about yearly times and seasons
Poems about weather forever changing
Poems written to appeal to our reason
Poems that just ramble and are far too wide ranging

Poems about insects and our friendly birds
Poems about clocks and old radio sets
Poems on obscure topics rather absurd
Poems about the credit crunch and paying our debts

Poems about holidays and time spent away
Poems about the media and all things artistic
Poems about churches and ancient abbeys
Poems for the present day and some futuristic

Poems about rail travel on the continent
Poems on photographers and the paparazzo
Poems about housing and the high cost of rent
Poems that urge you to get up and go!

Poems that reflect on industrial decline
Poems that explain about our Parliament
Poems that declare everything’s just fine
Poems about devices that people invent

Poems that try to show a keen sense of humour
Poems about architecture and building design
Poems that aim to inform the naive consumer
Poems best accompanied by a glass of wine!

Finally there are poems about poetry which I try to write
Explaining blank and free verse and meter and rhyme
I am unsure if these efforts will ever delight
But there is no one to blame as they are all mine

Well I think that’s enough to explain the wide choice
Among these three hundred poems I’ve put on display
I hope that with me, you too might rejoice
‘Cause all this is for free, you have nothing to pay!

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

 

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

 

The Brink

The Brink

The world seems to go on its merry way largely undisturbed
Yet in the background we are aware of standing on the brink
Is this not quite unreal, should not our minds be more perturbed?
Can deep passions not be set aside thus giving time to think

Most of the world’s inhabitants go about their daily round
The rich amassing wealth, the poor struggling to survive
And millions in-between caught up in life’s merry-go-round
But what e’er their lot they rightly expect to remain alive

But as powerful national leaders confront each other eye to eye
Realisation begins to dawn how fragile is the way ahead
The challenging rhetoric will only magnify
Menacing words are flaunted as warheads

But this is no computer war game, this is for real
Let’s put away all illusion and face stark facts
The world stands on the brink, to humanity we appeal
Together we must quickly find the way to step back

This will not be easy, when threats and counter threats abound
National pride and need for compromise play equal part
But each side must learn how to give ground
To wrestle these protagonists apart

We pray that heightened passions might soon subside
That the world could breathe easy once again
And the hostility that great nations so divides
Common sense, if not love, might constrain

Ken Fisher

September Moon

September Moon

September moon shines brightly in the sky
Heralding that Autumn time is nigh
Harbinger of harvest’s bounteous yield
From farmers’ labours in extensive fields

Moonlight illuminates the ripened crops
Nurtured by sun’s rays and soft raindrops
Then daybreak signals time to gather in
The just reward that their sore efforts win
 

Ken Fisher

Traffic Jams

Traffic Jams

The bane of modern living is the daily traffic jam
When the flow of vehicles forms a metallic dam
We sit there a prisoner in our little solo cell
With no easy escape from this very private hell

But somehow we seem prepared to endure this daily grind
As commuters we have been sensitized to problems of this kind
After all we’re not alone as we crawl along the highway
Surrounded by mass travellers as we take a quick glance sideways

As long as we keep moving we seem to be appeased
But when others break lane discipline we surely are not pleased
A string of shiny red lights ahead is a warning we don’t like
And if we stop completely we might be tempted just to hike

But of course we won’t leave this cosy little capsule
Even if lack of progress will destroy the daily schedule
Because we are safer just to hang on in there, however long it takes
Missing all the deadlines and the subsequent heartache

We are tuned into the traffic news which brings us little comfort
And we know a stern warning awaits when our boss we must confront
But we will tell her we were not alone on that crowded motorway
Not the only worker with a bad start to their day

Unfortunately there is a thought in our head which will not go away
No matter otherwise the progress of the day
And that notion is the prospect looming ever closer
The journey home in twilight’s gloom might well be even slower

Ken Fisher

[This poem is published on the day the new Queensferry Crossing
on the Forth opened to traffic (30 Aug 2017)]

 

 

Send for the Cavalry

Send for the Cavalry!

An expression sometimes used when we are in dire straits
Completely overwhelmed, the enemy at the gates
In essence, when we are facing a threatening emergency
Then that’s surely the time to call for the ‘cavalry’

Of course most of us want to remain independent
Coping with any crisis, mishap or accident
But just now and again events overwhelm
And we lose our grip, our control on life’s helm

It is then that we’re glad there is an external force
Who to our futile efforts might bring support
They will come to our rescue, respond to our call
Shoring us up just when we might fall

Who is this elusive cavalry, ready to swoop?
It might be one person or even a group
Friends might be willing to come to our aid
And our loving family will not see us betrayed

So it’s a good idea that you should keep in
With friends, even more so with your kith and kin
For you never quite know when help you may need
To summons the cavalry at breakneck speed!

Ken Fisher

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

[Monday 21 August 2017]

As we look up towards the skies
[And don’t forget to shield your eyes]
The moon will block light from the Sun
As its shadow will our globe o’er run

Not everyone will be in shade
So you need not really be afraid
But parts of the U S A
Will find that night replaces day

I think that those who will be in shadow
Won’t miss the daylight they must forego
Because if they observe with care
They might catch the Sun’s coronal glare

I suppose there is a kind of magic
To experience this shade fantastic
And all fear of the dark will be dispersed
As in the gloom they are immersed

Eclipses make us all aware
Of other objects ‘way out there
And just as shadows cross our path
We should not let them prompt our wrath

For the moon’s shadow will progress
Renewed light will its power repress
And in due time the sun’s bright rays
Will penetrate another day

Ken Fisher