Rhetoric, Spin and Bluff

Rhetoric, Spin and Bluff

Rhetoric, spin and bluff
The stock-in-trade of politicians
Do they really think we will be convinced
By their spurious arguments, distorted statistics
And biodegradable promises of utopia?

It doesn’t seem to matter whether their
Pronouncements are made during the hustings
At the Party Conference, or in a duel on TV
With arrogant political journalists
Determined to draw blood

Why cannot political animals
Ever depart from the Party line?
Are they standing on the brink of deselection
If they were to concede any good in the opposition
Turn their back on received dogma

As Maggie said U turn if you like
“The lady is not for turning”
Thus setting the standard of orthodoxy
Intransigence the greatest virtue
Open mindedness mere surrender

But sometimes ‘events’ are overwhelming
U turns become the necessary fashion
Even di rigueur in times of crisis
And then rhetoric, spin and bluff
Employed in instant justification

Perhaps this sophistry is not
The sole province of parliamentarians
Preachers too, when cornered by the awkward question
Quickly resort to formulaic responses
To justify God’s unexplained absence!

And maybe we are all just the same
We use rhetoric to pump up modest achievements
Spin to explain why you must buy the latest toy or gizmo
And bluff, disguising a brand of white lies
When we are really strangers to the truth

Ken Fisher

At the Threshold of the Year 2021

At the Threshold of the Year 2021

 

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 move on with trepidation
As 2020 brought challenges unprecedented
In 2021 our hopes rest in an effective vaccination
And that Brexit may not leave us discontented

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 2020)

“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

Turkey Without Legs 2020

Turkey Without Legs [2020]

Warning: this poem is not suitable for Vegetarians or Vegans!

Here’s a thing you did not know
And I assure you that it’s so
Legless turkey is being served
A phenomenon I have observed

As you see from this tasty plate
Who needs legs you might debate?
When stuffing’s there and so’s the meat
With sprouts and roasties, quite complete

It’s just that somehow one does wonder
Has the chef just made a blunder
Or have those legs now gone astray?
Their absence may cause some dismay

However, I really have to claim
Legless turkey tastes the same
And with the trimmings on display
Such a meal will make your day

One final thought about this dish
As we munch together I would wish
Despite not being the real McCoy
This legless bird might still bring joy

And especially in this Covid year
When Christmas seems bereft of cheer
Turkey with legs, or without
Happily smiles next the sprouts!

Ken Fisher

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Christmas is Coming 2020

Christmas Is Coming  2020

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

And this year, still oppressed by the great pandemic
We need something special a gizmo or a gimmick

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, perhaps 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
On-line catalogues put temptation on every flickering  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!

And this Covid year makes it difficult to deliver
But don’t let the DPD man stand in the cold and shiver!

Ken Fisher

Oh Zoom All Ye Faithful!

Oh Zoom All Ye Faithful!

Will God be impressed by this method prosaic
With the worshippers aligned in this little mosaic?
Will He incline His ear as we offer our praises
Watching our lips to catch all the phrases

When communal worship is now so constricted
By Covid rules all our freedom restricted
We still feel the need to sing and to pray
Of God’s gift to the world on that first Christmas Day

We recall how at the inn they could find little room
If they could fast forward the Wise Men would Zoom
The Shepherds too need not leave their land
As long as they use fibre-optic broadband

Back to today, what are the faithful to do?
To voice all the old favourites and some that are new
How might we this year lift up our hearts
In communal praises, each playing our part

The answer is that we must just do our best
Aware that God all our efforts will bless
So let’s Zoom all ye faithful, give thanks to our Lord
Assured that on high our song surely is heard

Ken Fisher

Digital Christmas

Digital Christmas

Traditional plans are all cast asunder
Christmas now enshrined in digital numbers
Our letters to Santa at his home far up north
Replaced by texts and emails henceforth

Invites to parties we must meet with resistance
As they breach strict rules on social distance
Not just for Baby Jesus the inn has no room
The shepherds and wise men must learn how to Zoom

Indeed their gifts and anything else they require
At this present time are hard to acquire
It may be OK if they intend to bring food
But the shops are shut for non-essential goods

Our carol singing must be a solo affair
We cannot allow choir voices to blare
The YouTube version is the best we can do
Recorded last year from the Church pew

It seems that our homes we can still decorate
Here the digital age can our ambitions inflate
Not just the tree topped with an icon angelic
But thousands of lights which flash psychedelic

But our Christmas greetings will have to be muted
No travelling too far or you’ll be prosecuted
Sticking to the rules is an onerous task
And kissing impossible while sporting that mask!

But despite all these issues I am sure you agree
Noel should never be devoid of all glee
The digital world can still keep us connected
Ensuring that others are never neglected

Ken Fisher

The ‘Flu Jab 2020

The ‘Flu Jab [2020 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
Or you are a pregnant lady, or overweight
It’s most unlikely that you can escape

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 will 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

But this year jabs are so much more significant
In a world engulfed by the pandemic malificent
It’s not the ‘flu jab that is our  greatest desire
But the Covid vaccine that we all require

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

Remembrance 2020

Remembrance 2020

[Posted on Remembrance Sunday 2020
in an anxious yet hopeful world
facing huge challenges of political uncertainty,
threats from a global pandemic and climate change]

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Today is a time for remembering
Thinking back to those dark days of war
When life was uncertain for all
And for some, death was an imminent prospect

But few living today have much memory
Of the years of conflict when hostilities raged
And although warfare still encircles the world
Our experience of it is mediated by TV images

And yet we have an uncomfortable feeling
That despite efforts to unite the nations
There is a persistent climate of arm-wrestling
Between the great powers who eyeball each other

The Cold War brought with it the four-minute-warning
Not long to compose our minds for oblivion!
But presently, although we hope our future might stretch for decades,
We cannot quite eliminate the nagging uncertainty for our destiny

However, for today, we give thanks
For all those who bought our freedom
And pledge to strive to maintain
Such fragile peace as we possess

Ken Fisher

Halloween – 2020

Halloween [Saturday 31 Oct 2020]

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Trick or Treat I hear them ask – what should I reply?
As on the threshold of my door the guisers I espy
To ward them off I pay their price as if it were a ransom
With fruits and sweets and even nuts a gift that I thought handsome

But before I let my ‘guests’ depart I ask them in return
What entertainment will they provide, what act will they perform?
It is in times like these I find that suddenly they’re silent
Unable to convince me that Britain has still Got Talent!

However, eventually together they muster up some courage
One even recites a bawdy poem – not really with much flourish
Two more play on the ‘air guitar’ a stimulating riff
While others mouth imagined lyrics, standing there quite stiff

The performance duly over towards the door they shuffle
And in sharing out the Treats try to avoid a scuffle
It was then I notice their costumes quite exotic
Theatrical to say the least – some even psychedelic

These young celebrants in this ancient hallowed festival
Of evil spirits, ghosts and some things quite heretical
Are really just out to have fun with all their many friends
And despite their spooky garb they bring no ill intent

So when our doorbell rings with the challenge ‘Trick or Treat’?
Let’s welcome them with open heart – and with a smile do greet
‘Cause on the eve of All Saints’ Day it’s best that we been seen
To welcome visitors e’re so strange on this night of Halloween

But in this year of the ‘plague’ guising’s quite a task
How do you perform when your face is covered by that pesky mask?
Yet let’s not spurn all visitors amidst  threatening pandemic
Try not to make your welcome seem quite so anaemic!

Ken Fisher

 

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