Small Talk and Loose Talk

Small Talk and Loose Talk

In the War we used to say that
‘Loose talk Costs lives’
But today it has been claimed that
Small talk can Save lives’
 

Now loose talk and small talk are
Not quite the same.
Loose talk might lead to people
Being put in danger by giving
Secrets to the ‘enemy’
 

Small talk is simply gentle chatter
That seeks to break the ice
between strangers or casual acquaintances
And small talk may lift people out of danger
When they are on the point of harming themselves

So let’s resolve to eschew modern loose talk
Which might simply amount to gossip
Tittle-tattle that is little less than
Character assignation by the unbridled tongue
The half-truth, the vague innuendo or sweeping generalisation

In its stead let’s espouse small talk
Which rather than being merely superfluous
Helps to establish connections, build bridges
Promote friendship and concord
And might even save the anxious soul from themself

Ken Fisher

Hunker Down

Hunker Down

 

Ever feel tempted to just hunker down
When the world around is wearing a frown?
So much is happening that is not to my taste
To a place of refuge I need to make haste

But where can I hide when there is so much to fear?
No place of safety seems to be near
Unless I intend to get out of town
The only choice left is to hunker down

But what are all those menacing threats
That raise the pulse and bring on the sweats
Where does that bogeyman reside
Show yourself – why must you hide?

Perhaps the spectre is all in my head
Fears from the past, long since dead
So why any need to crouch and to cringe
When on my peace they no longer impinge?

The problem today is we are too wide-awake
Newsfeeds from the media drag us in their wake
In every tragedy we must participate
The press conspires to make this our fate

But what are these fears which strike at the heart
And our reasonable thoughts will thus distort?
Some might be just a mere irritation
Others undermining the whole blessed nation

So forebodings about an impending malady
Aches and pains that we claim are agony
Through to major concerns about Brexit
Which politicians are likely to fix it?

Then there are concerns for the life of the planet
And climate change perhaps leading to havoc
Debates about trade bring on endless haggling
Can so easily end up with loud sabre rattling

At the personal level, heavy debt brings on much tension
Finding a job, a home, and affording a pension
So no wonder we feel quite overwhelmed
To take some evasive action we are thus compelled

But if at the end of the day there is no easy cure
The vagaries of life we must simply endure
Hunkering down for the immediate duration
Our only response to a dire situation

But let’s not allow ourselves to get too depressed
And with our problems become quite obsessed
In due time dark clouds are bound to blow over
We will rise from the hunker and regain composure

Ken Fisher

Rant

Rant

Why do I find that sometimes I rant?
Adopting a style that is most arrogant
I can fly off the handle without reason or rhyme
Lambasting my hearers in double quick time

Sometimes my ranting is on some hobbyhorse
Maybe an obsession or perhaps even worse
I feel that I thus might put the world straight
Save these poor souls from their terrible fate

What a pity they seem disinclined to listen
To my warnings spawned from my infinite wisdom
Notwithstanding my earnest pleas from the heart
From my judgment they obviously prefer to depart

I wonder if they are put off by my hectoring style
My angry expression with never a smile
I shout quite a lot when in such high dudgeon
They turn quickly away from a ranting curmudgeon

Perhaps I should try a more gentle approach
Not always my audience trying to reproach
More measured words and kinder expression
Renouncing a stance that smacks of aggression

I need to learn that to ’win friends and influence people’
I must not attack them with a verbalized needle
But adopt a manner that might favour implant
Eschewing all proneness to rave and to rant

Ken Fisher

Manhood

Manhood

 

You may have noticed the recent comments in the press
Which seem to push the PC agenda to excess
It now appears selling tissues described as man-size
Is offensive in some peoples’ eyes

Of course I’m not sure if you need a mansize nose to match
And that might be deemed to be the catch
Without a hooter of appropriate scale
Equality of use we might curtail

More likely the Mansize description is the issue
Bringing opprobrium to the worthy tissue
Members of the gentler sex may sense
Exclusive use by men would cause offence

But I am sure the makers of these fulsome wipes
Did not intend to stereotype
Ladies finding equal satisfaction
For larger sheets have much attraction

But it seems the Mansize description will have to go
Although such dimensions will still be on show
It’s just the name that has to change
You’ll then have “Extra Large” in exchange

Ken Fisher

With due regard to Press publicity and Kimberly-Clark

Chess

Chess

 

The world of chess is a mysterious realm
Whose complexities can quite overwhelm
The laymen who knows none of its charms
May be daunted by strategy and technical terms

But if proof is needed of this game’s acceptance
Down many centuries we note its persistence
Starting in India, along the Silk Road it sped
And in the course of the years its fame widespread

The game is played on a chequered board
Eight rows and columns is how it is floored
On which each side’s sixteen pieces are set
All arrayed in allotted squares at the outset

The King, Queen, Rooks, Bishops and Knights
Each move according to their own special rights
The eight low-ranking pawns are somewhat restricted
But their influence is not altogether constricted

Down the years chess has acquired its own mystique
As champions and experts developed technique
Thus great minds would wrestle over special maneuvers
Eventually pitching themselves against mighty computers

As year succeeded year chess became ever more popular
Competition producing champions quite spectacular
But chess can still be enjoyed as much in your home
As at some mass congress in a huge hippodrome

Of course the digital age has brought us chess electronic
Simultaneous games can prove rather hypnotic
Let’s hope the whole thing doesn’t get out of hand
Chess ending up as mind-games unplanned

So thanks to  those who this clever game devised
Its nuances and potential they first recognized
Chess for many has been a great boon and a blessing
Through intelligent play their strength expressing

Ken Fisher

Placebo – or Who’s Kidding Who?

Placebo – or Who’s Kidding Who?

[Following on a recent TV programme on the power of the placebo
to bring about health improvement]

 

When seeking relief from all of our ills
Maladies of body or mind
We ask our doctor to prescribe some pills
In whose trust we are quite unfeigned

Research is now showing it is this belief
Rather than the medicine’s ingredients
Which brings the patient much relief
And proves to be the most expedient

A placebo is simply a harmless pill
Whose components have no real effect
And whether or not you think you are ill
Your condition should remain unchecked

But that is not the complete conclusion
If the patient thinks the dose is for real
In their mind it is not just illusion
Thus convinced how much better they feel

Now you may think this is a massive con-trick
But who’s kidding who is the question
Why does the patient claim they are no longer sick
Can all this be auto-suggestion?

Ken Fisher

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