Flexitarian

Flexitarian

 

What on earth is a flexitarian?
What is the meaning of this neologism
Perhaps I should ask my local librarian
Before my weary brain suffers a paroxysm

Apparently it’s related to our dietary choices
Where the zeitgeist dictates we make radical change
Responding to the many strident voices
Who warn of the fact we can’t stay the same

But it occurs to me this need for flexibility
For other aspects of life might be a wise prescription
Perhaps we should be enhancing our capability
To meet its challenges no matter the description

For instance in employment, the one job for life is gone
Serial careers, like serial marriage, is the modern way
No use hankering for the past, downcast and forlorn
We have to be prepared for living, come what may

Multi-skilling is the message, get it loud and clear
Hone your talents, boost your languishing CV
Step into unknown territory, eschewing all fear
Be ready to become the very best you can be

Go with the flow, catch that tidal wave
Ready for each original movement of trend
In music, or art, cinema or theatre
Ensure that novelty becomes your best friend

To the world of ideas extend your embrace
Let these your prejudices quickly displace
Politics, philosophy, perhaps even faith
In your pliable thinking accord them a place

So just as the flexitarian’s choices in food
Are no longer rigid and tightly constrained
Make open living promote what is good
A lifestyle which therefore is quite unrestrained

Ken Fisher

Existential Threat

Existential Threat

It is the season of year when thoughts become reflection
The darkness of the days shrouding our hearts in gloom
Musing over life’s purposes in maudlin introspection
A frame of mind where good cheer finds little room

At this time pundits give their prognostications
Experts on the media offer up predictions
What challenges and threats will face the nations
But what is fact and what mere speculation?

This New Year the future may seem bleak indeed
Ominous forecasts of the effects of climate change
Our confidence and hope now rapidly recedes
A dark and fear-filled abyss offered in exchange

Melting ice, rising tides, infernos fiercely blazing
Islands swamped, tornados wreak destruction
Forest fires whole communities thus razing
Advancing flames defeating all obstructions

And other threats to settled life, even our existence
Skulk on the landscape whose horizon we now scan
Consciousness filled with angst at their staunch persistence
Against the life of every woman and of man

From whence comes these other threats existential?
We thought the Cold War had become past history
But nuclear war by accident or design is once more potential
Led by zealots or by fools, determined to seek victory

Cyber crime has suddenly become a feature of our life
In times past straightforward fraud was for us sufficient
But nowadays not just theft but social media strife
Executed by perpetrators highly efficient

Centuries ago Rev Thomas Malthus warned of expanding population
He claimed that too many people would lead only to starvation
In modern times, family sizes fell in industrial nations
But elsewhere in our world today we see no limit on creation

And rightfully, many people aspire to improve the quality of living
So they seek refuge in other lands to find a better way
In this endeavour they face dangers unforgiving
The desire of their heart may never see the light of day

All this presents an outlook that offers little cheer
Is there no nostrum that might this angst assuage?
Must our hearts be filled with anxiety and fear
What remedy or cure might our minds persuade?

I think the best thought I can offer is that we must not despair
Trust in the human spirit that goodness might prevail
That collectively for each-other we might truly care
As on these global problems together we assail

Ken Fisher

I Wonder, I Wonder

I Wonder, I Wonder

Have you ever stopped to speculate
Why humans often ruminate
Can’t we be like all other creatures
Where wondering is not a feature?

Do insects spend time trying to guess
Does thinking make a beetle stress?
About the future they have no care
Of politics quite unaware

The fish that glide through deep blue seas
Think nothing of the credit squeeze
Even less of the interest rate
Which makes no difference to their fate

Giraffes and monkeys stay quite composed
Neglecting threats to which they’re exposed
Their minds fixed on the present moment
No worrying thought disturbs enjoyment

So why must we spend time on anxious thought?
Our waking moments often fraught
By concerns for actions in the past
And future fears our mind o’ercast

It’s all because we have to wonder
With thinking, our consciousness encumber
Our minds filled with endless speculation
Our rational reasoning overtaken

Wondering is about imagination
Expanding horizons without limitation
Of new possibilities we become aware
Some will thrill, others scare

Yet we would not lose this wondering skill
Renounce the power to excite or thrill
But use this talent to reflect
Thus enhance the intellect

Ken Fisher

On Realising One’s Own Mortality

On Realising One’s Own Mortality
 

Unexpected news of the passing of a friend
Surely not him, he’s younger than me!
Untimely intimation of death notice
Obituary, the contents of which one knows quite well
All this just as we look forward to annual Christmas cards
Bringing comforting news of settled journeys still progressing
The loved one’s lives harshly filled by inconsolable grief

Death obviously does not discriminate
The good and the great
The humble and anonymous
High intellect or simple artisan
Those whose contribution is preserved in words
Those who will be remembered in the work of their hands
The fruits of all their labours – gently fading into history

Makes you think!
We always knew life was just a provisional licence
But somehow we thought it might be granted an extension
And here we are, suddenly faced with the grim reality
Life is not a rehearsal as they say
So let’s act out our part to the full
Before our curtain finally falls

Ken Fisher

 

 

Apocalyptic Headlines

Apocalyptic Headlines

It seems news can only be news
If it is apocalyptic

Around the globe this is what we read:

Inundated by floods
Engulfed in uncontrolled grass fires
Ravaged by a rampant epidemic
Swallowed up by erupting volcanoes
Drowned by tsunamis
Devastated by earthquakes
Unrelieved angst about climate change
Civil unrest and international warfare
Corruption abounding
Life cruelly halted in multiple motorway pile-ups
Overwhelmed by economic disaster
Impoverished by hyper inflation
Scourged by widespread unemployment
Imprisoned in over-crowded housing
Education that pays no ‘dividends’

Depressed and despondent mental states
Poor health and short life expectancy
Inadequate health service provision
Loneliness and isolation
Trapped in elderly care provision
A society which has lost faith in anything

And right now (here at home)

Disgust at the antics of politicians
Longing for a Brexit solution
But unconvinced that the election will bring release

But surely there must be something
To bring a little levity to the headlines?

One Press Cartoonist today has said

“At least a December election  will put
a stop to all that ‘Season of Goodwill’ nonsense”

Ken Fisher

From Now On

From Now On

 From Now On…………………!

How often have we said these words?
With resolve and determination
Promising to cast aside the past
Espousing transformation

Why wait for Near Year to make a pledge?
For any time in life’s daily course
Will serve as any other
Our good intention to endorse

But déjà vu comes into mind
When committing to renewal
How often in days gone past
Has failure struck quite cruel?

‘Cause no matter how sincere
Our stated affirmation
‘Ere long, intention cast aside
Amidst life’s trials and tribulation

But let us as in the spider myth
Our efforts not relinquish
Determined that new life to forge
Past failures we would vanquish

Ken Fisher

Niceness is a Thin Veneer

Niceness is a Thin Veneer to give the Impression of Civilisation

I wonder if you agree that niceness can be  just a thin veneer
Which we apply to our persona so that others think well of us?
But many consider the word nice to be really meaningless
Simply anodyne, not likely to provoke dissent or offence

And yet I suppose most of us would like to be considered nice
That is agreeable, pleasant, good-natured, congenial, friendly
Because few of us make it our avowed intent to be the opposite
Nasty, spiteful, argumentative, arrogant, hateful, repulsive

But if our niceness is only a thin veneer, sprayed on for effect
Then it seems to suggest that we are not always good guys
Yet we feel obliged to display qualities that would meet approval
Pressure is forcing us to be hypocrites, needing public praise

Apparently the social media has shown the propensity
For people to be anything but nice to others
On-line harassment is on the rise, computer rage rampant
The uncontrolled release of these emotions is damaging to health

So perhaps we need to recall that aphorism “It’s nice to be nice”
But we don’t need to sacrifice our honesty, or deny the truth
We simply have to calmly accept the reality of life
Stand our ground but be civil in all our dealings

Ken Fisher

 

The expression Niceness is a thin Veneer ………
Is a quote from journalist India Knight in the Sunday Times
Magazine 19 March 2017

Don’t Reheat the Porridge

Don’t Reheat the Porridge

I don’t know if this is sound culinary advice
Should you heat up your cold porridge twice?
Perhaps this guidance is not about food
But about our lives when we try to do good

Cold porridge is something quite unappetizing
It’s gone off the boil so it is not surprising
That like salt which seems to have lost its savour
This pudding is quite bereft of good flavour

Stale porridge might be just a metaphor
For things we once loved but now seem to abhor
The lost joy from a broken relationship
But no chance to rekindle companionship

Stale porridge my bear some resemblance to
Some passion or cause we no longer pursue
But now all our zeal simply withered away
No light shining forth at the break of each day

Stale porridge is like a thought our hearts once excited
But has lost all its power to make us delighted
No effort the magic can rejuvenate
Or our languid spirits can motivate

So stale porridge is best left quite unattended
No further energy on its substance expended
Sometimes food must simply be cast in the bin
And a new recipe for our life we ought to begin

Ken Fisher

I’m Absolutely Fine

I’m Absolutely Fine

When you’re feeling down
Your brow wears a frown
And you really just need to whine
You put on a brave face
Although you want to grimace
And say I’m absolutely fine

From the pressures of life
All its troubles and strife
When there’s never quite enough time
There is too much to do
And it’s all down to you
But still I’m absolutely fine

When it seems no-one cares
And you’re nearly in tears
You might even need to resign
But you just soldier on
When the others have gone
‘Cos your still absolutely fine

Perhaps you must learn
That the peace that you yearn
Which all your hopes will enshrine
You can only attain
When you learn to complain
Saying I am NOT absolutely fine!

Ken Fisher

Home Again

Home Again

 

Click goes the key in the lock
A gentle push to gain re-entry
Home’s blessed sanctuary

It’s not that we didn’t have a good time
But somehow it’s comforting to return to base
With all its every day familiarity

Travel broadens the mind they say
And without doubt it forces our eyes open
But unless you venture far
Perhaps little dilation of the eyes
Or expansion of the intellect

Home, the arena of domestic life
Of events quotidian and surprising
Moments of joy and despair
Acted out within its walls

But no matter how exiting
Our extra-mural exploits
We still hanker for home
Where we can be ourself

So that key inserted in the lock
That crossing of the threshold once again
Brings relief for a journey now completed
Normality restored once more

Ken Fisher

Have a Nice Life

Have a Nice Life

“Have a nice day” our frequent  word of benediction
When splitting from our friends in every situation
But if this happens to be the final parting of our ways
Perhaps “Have a Nice Life” is what we ought to say

We often use words in a rather glib manner
“take care” we say, but does it really matter?
I suppose we utter phrases with the best intention
But life still happens without our intervention

In any case, we hope a lifetime will be long
To make predictions is indeed headstrong
So who knows if wishing for any kind of life
Could guarantee that it will turn out “nice”

Nice Day, Nice Life – what on earth does that mean?
Will the grass beneath our feet be forever green?
Shall good fortune always shine upon our face
In all our doings might we discover grace

So is there no point in offering felicitations
All our words just vacuous declaration?
No, if offered from the heart in all sincerity
Who knows, we might nudge the course of history

Ken Fisher

Time to Reflect

Time to Reflect

A moment of respite
A reality check
Go into neutral
Take a deep breath
Time to take stock
Hold on just a minute
Let’s simply be
No need to do

Yet as each new day dawns
Challenges to meet
Opportunities to seize
Targets to aim for
Boxes to tick
The urge to compete
No time to be wasted
Success is our creed

Surely there’s more to life?
What’s it all for?
What really matters?
Who pulls the strings?
Find:
Time to pause
Time to chill
Time to ponder
Time to reflect

Ken Fisher

See also: Action & Reflection