Silence

Silence

Silence – the absence of all sound! Blessed peace

Silence! – a command from an irate librarian.  Shut up

Silence – an eerie sensation when returning home to find no-one in

Silence – my response when reluctant to give a truthful reply

Silence – your response when you feel I have offended you

Silence – when I am stunned by what you have just told me

Silence – when I am ashamed to tell you what I have done

Silence – when the car won’t start on a freezing cold day

Silence – we crave when our neighbours are partying through the wall!

Silence – when the letter box doesn’t click with that job offer

Silence – in the early hours when an anxious parent awaits the sound of their teenage offspring returning home

Silence – when listening in at the nursery to find the baby peacefully asleep

Silence – no response to our earnest prayers. Is God on strike?

Silence – when a loved one has gone off in a huff

Silence – in the face of dire tidings from the police officer at our door

Silence – as we shuffle into the crematorium for the funeral

Silence – as we seek relaxation in mindfulness or meditation

Silence – an awkward pause when we fail to find the right words

A pregnant silence    A gobsmacked silence     A disdainful silence

Silence attends so many of  life’s experiences and situations

It accompanies the good times and the bad, pleasure and pain,

elation and shame, bewilderment and sometimes even surprise

The mixed blessing of silence; sometimes chosen sometimes enforced

Ken Fisher

 

On-Line Angst

On-Line Angst

This week it is reported that most of us
check our smart phones within 10 minutes of waking
and thereafter about every 12 minutes

Indeed, one of the last things we do at night
is tweak our devices before attempting to slip into unconsciousness

It occurs to me that we have perhaps allowed ourselves to
fall into an unhealthy relationship the cyber world

I am calling this On-Line Angst

In days gone by the phone would ring
As tidings it was wont to bring
Messages from friends and colleagues
Inducing cheer or melancholy

Our phone line linked to the exchange
Communications thus arranged
Connected to the world outside
Poles and cables far and wide

But only sound was then conveyed
No images could be portrayed
Nonetheless the network served us well
Exclusive GPO clientele

But in due time came privatization
Welcome thrusting competition
As technical change then coincided
The former framework just exploded

Fibre optics were invented
Old assumptions thus fragmented
Suddenly ‘on-line’ world-wide
No sanctuary, no place to hide

Eventually our phones turned smart
Displaying menus a la carte
Voice and text and pictures too
My selfie winging straight to you

When once the phone lived just at home
Nowadays GPS tracks us as we roam
The office too transformed by change
As smart devices widely range

So now we find phones everywhere
Just like our clothes, our phone we wear
Its beeps, and throbs gives low vibrations
Indicative of our close relation

So throughout the day from morn till eve
The smart phone we refuse to leave
Constant companion, demanding friend
Like a romance we dare not end

Because if of our phone we are deprived
We see no way we could survive
On-line angst now dominates
Our contract we must n’er forsake

Ken Fisher

Attitude

Attitude

 

This may sound like platitude
And can’t be claimed with certitude
If only thoughts might be imbued
With thankfulness and gratitude
Those lurking doubts might be subdued
And confidence once more renewed
Banishing disquietude
By choosing the right attitude

But what attitude should we exude?
What is bad and thus not good
We must speak truth and not delude
What virtues should then be pursued
To others demonstrate solicitude
Eschewing all  turpitude
Forgiving to the multitude
Our love shown in magnitude
Surely the right attitude

Ken Fisher

Bubble Wrap Society

Bubble Wrap Society

[A protective sonnet]

I read somewhere, the other day
We are far too protective
Kids no longer out to play
Of dangerous risk obsessive
Of course there are a lot of threats
Lurking in places unexpected
Harm and loss brings much regret
And should never be neglected
You will have heard of the GDPR*
All-pervasive in its intentions
We may have gone somewhat too far
In cyber crime prevention
A life cocooned thus saved from all mishap
Enveloping each and all in swathes of bubble wrap!

Ken Fisher

 

  • General Data Protection Regulation

Umbrage

Umbrage

 

Whenever someone seeks to criticize
My words or ideas oh so wise
Umbrage is the first thing I take
As I simply find I cannot wait

I know I should stop and listen
And avoid the quite wrong supposition
That your comments are meant to wound
My knee-jerk reaction too finely tuned

Thus I have lost the art of conversation
Each dialogue becomes a confrontation
Unwilling to accept your point of view
I may be right but so might you

It’s funny how often I feel slighted
Temper’s fire quickly ignited
You only made a passing comment
But suddenly my mind’s in torment

I really must change my diet
Choosing things that won’t disquiet
Taking umbrage does no good
Tolerance a much better food

Ken Fisher

Hiding Under the Duvet

Hiding Under the Duvet

Too much to do, too little time
But too timid to resign
Must I pretend to run the nation?
Living, one drawn-out obligation

Is this how to make life fulfilling?
Ever the need to “show willing”
Too weak to lower my eyes
Avoiding pleas that I oblige

So I have created my own prison
Destined to serve time with no remission
Freedom glimpsed through duty’s bars
Liberty tempts but from afar

Where might refuge be discovered?
Tucked warmly beneath the covers
The duvet gives shelter from the storm
Secreted from pressure to conform

Ken Fisher

Heavy Lifting

Heavy Lifting

How often do you feel left to do it all?
The heavy lifting, I mean
Of course they all pretend to be concerned
But there is always a convenient get out

There are domestic heavy lifters
Caring 24/7 for ageing relatives
Single parents bowed down in their isolation
The partner of the unrepentant alcoholic

There are industrial heavy lifters
The factory fodder on the minimum wage
The wage slaves in flooded car-washes
Or seedy nail bars or all-night greasy spoon cafes

There are commercial heavy lifters
Keyboard slaves handling millions of transactions
Of which their share will be infinitesimal
Clerks waiting to be swallowed up by automation

Social heavy lifters propping up suffering humanity
Nurses on night shifts, social workers, paramedics
All these strain their muscles to uphold our burdens
But do we care? After all someone has to do it.

And higher up the tree there are others who know they
do the heavy lifting that we all fail to recognise
The loyal servants of companies and institutions
The office holders in churches, clubs and voluntary organisations

But do we really ever think of the injustice suffered
by the heavy lifters? Or do we just think – hard luck
Why don’t they just get over it?
If they all decided to give up one day – where would we be?

But we know they wont

Ken Fisher

Comforting Capsule

Comforting Capsule

The car door shuts with a reassuring clunk
Suddenly “the busy world is hushed”
All external clamour is stifled
I am at peace

Through the windows the quotidian frenzy
Perseveres unremittingly
But I am immune,
Cocooned in this comforting capsule

Don’t start the engine, don’t check the mirrors
Why go anywhere, enshrined in this calm oasis?
Luxuriate in this fleeting lacuna, life on hold
Baby-like, secure in mother’s womb

Why do they sell cars on their reputation for speed?
Or their brake-neck acceleration
Surely their motionless power to induce serenity
Not only saves fuel, but restores our sanity

No longer 0 – 60 in 5 seconds
But high doh down to low doh
Snuggly encapsulated
Simply chill

Ken Fisher

 

SKIN

SKIN

That delicate membrane between ourself and the world
This outer coating formed in our Mother’s womb
Smooth when a baby, in old age quite gnarled
Its has to serve us well from cradle to tomb

Skin is the subject of much speculation
Its colour from others can rarely be hidden
A primary indicator of our race or nation
So often prompting some pointless division

And yet under our skin we are all kith and kin
Our bones, muscles, organs, those obscure glands
Our blood vessels, tendons, and all else within
The same brain controlling our limbs and hands

Perhaps our most visible skin is the face we display
Here the world notices our outward expression
It’s what others encounter of us each new day
Registering moods ranging from joy to depression

Of course the skin sometimes has the power to excite
Especially when we decide to give greater exposure
On a shimmering beach or by soft candle light
Between consenting adults who lose their composure!

Adults are often concerned about their complexion
And spend collective millions to enhance their appearance
Others resort to surgery or weird cosmetic injections
For major reconstruction or minor ‘slum clearance’

Of course we all must remain sensibly vigilant
On the well-known dangers of the sun’s pervasive rays
Avoiding the temptation of the tanning lamp
Being unashamed of pale skin on our holidays

An aspect of skin treatment is the modern tattoo
Of which many men and even women seem proud
Words of endearment and designs like voodoo
A personal statement shouted out loud

Of course the cosmetic industry relies on our vanity
A business which seeks to enhance the world’s face
Some even claim it promotes health and sanity
Perhaps the skin we might all wish to embrace

Ken Fisher

 

 

 

Sleep Sonnet

Sleep Sonnet

[for World Sleep Day 16 March 2018]

World Sleep Day seems to have the wrong title
‘Cause is not most sleep enjoyed in the night?
But whatever the time surely sleeping is vital
Whether in the dark hours or snoozed in the light
Doctors advise that sleep is essential for health
To renew our bodies, restore our frazzled minds
Some even claim sleep can bring us more wealth
Preparing us for challenges of whatever kind
But the word sleep may not mean we are under the covers
Because it sometimes implies other affairs
As youngsters (of all ages) often engage in sleep-overs!
Happy together in all that they share
So let sleep be to you a boon and a blessing
As in his arms you find the god Morpheus caressing

Ken Fisher

Thinking too much is doing my head in

Thinking too much is doing my head in

 

Thinking too much is doing my head in
A cerebral battle that I cannot win
A head filled with thoughts and endless ideas
And strong emotions that can bring me to tears

My mind is awash with conflicting beliefs
No clear guidance comes to give me relief
I try to make sense of all these strange notions
But hours of reflection yield no solutions

During the day I at times ruminate
Floating on dreams, I almost levitate
While my nights are filled with disturbing nightmares
Of frightening scenarios that lead to despair

At other times my brain wrestles with puzzles
Their complexity can often leave me befuddled
Crosswords, anagrams, Sudoku, or mahjong
No matter what, it seems to go wrong

Then there are the deep thoughts of philosophy
Whose concepts claim to be filled with profundity
But such thinking can often lead to confusion
Or deceive the mind with some sophist’s delusion

In order to free us from such potential tyranny
While avoiding the need for a shrink’s pricey therapy
We might need to give our head a thorough spring clean
And put our brain into temporary quarantine

So what might be the solution that will for us work best?
The fashion these days is surely Mindfulness
By this clever technique you learn to live in the moment
Thus putting a stop to the brain’s constant ferment

If you can achieve this new calm mental state
You will no longer find thoughts agitate
Accepting your feelings and body sensations
And neutralize all those brainwave fluctuations

Of course those who this cure would advocate
Will from your brain all these thoughts extirpate
Can offer no guarantee this internal battle to win
Ensuring your head won’t still feel done in!

Ken Fisher

Tired and Emotional

Tired and Emotional

“Tired and Emotional” is a well-worn euphemism
Used by the press to highlight the effects of alcoholism
Demonstrated in some of our erstwhile politicians
When subjected to their Star Chamber style inquisitions

But it seems to me that to be tired and emotional
Can affect us all, even those most stoical
Fatigue is found endemic in busy modern life
With emotional turmoil as we face daily strife

So many spend their days constantly being driven
Slaves to a work regime, quite often unforgiving
Heightened emotion a feature of our interaction
Prompting passion instead of calm reaction

So is it any wonder that all this is so draining?
A challenge to ensure our composure still remaining
Being tired and emotional becomes our default disposition
And our earnest wish is to change this dire condition

So is there any cure for this grim state of affairs
Any nostrum, magic formula to rid us of our cares?
Perhaps that other aphorism “Keep Calm and Carry On”
Might yet prove useful for us to ruminate upon?

Ken Fisher