Mountebank

Mountebank

Mountebank is an old-fashioned description
Of a person we might view with some suspicion
Someone to whom the truth is a stranger
Disregarding whoever they might endanger

Yet some mountebanks receive our affection
Despite evident flaws and clear imperfection
In fact it seems their shortcomings and chinks in the armour
Enhance their charisma adding even more glamour!

And now you might ask who these mountebanks are?
I suggest you don’t need to cast your thoughts far
Certain politicians of cabinet rank
Well known for failing to always be frank

Without doubt politics requires the skills of a clown
Able to climb back up when you’ve been knocked down
Political debate filled with confrontation
Every exchange can become altercation

The mountebank is more than a simple buffoon
Whose behaviour will change any time soon
Their jocular manner, bright disposition
Means they achieve wide recognition

Mountebanks exist in other professions
Those holding high office in different vocations
CEO’s, judges, medics, architects, all expert contractors
Many seem to have been trained as comic actors!

So perhaps the mountebank should not be derided
Their eccentric personality not seen as lop-sided
There is no doubt virtue among all the vice
And a little clowning surely adds spice!

Ken Fisher

 

No-Shows

No-Shows

“No-shows” are those who we had duly invited
Whose actual presence we surely expected
But for reasons unknown they failed to appear
Whatever has happened remains quite unclear

Their names all printed on the voters roll
A high turn-out is each party’s goal
On election day, their name’s still a blank
And for this omission we don’t know who to thank

Then there are those who won’t take the jab of vaccine
At the centre staff wait, but they’re nowhere to be seen
The syringes are all ready the people to protect
But without plea or excuse they simply defect

Doctors and dentists sometimes join the fray
If you don’t turn up on the expected day
Mind you, if you do, they can still keep you late
This frequently seems to be a poor patient’s fate

But perhaps the worst no-show I’m sure you’ll decide
When at the altar the groom’s lost the bride
The groom stands there waiting that he might be wed
His bride and her father gone AWOL instead

So I hope you won’t resort to being a no-show
If you’re meant to be there you really must go
From whatever duty don’t be an abstention
Avoiding the need for some crisis prevention

 

Ken Fisher

WOW!

WOW!

 

WOW, that expression of huge surprise
Signified by widening eyes
The unexpected news event
Shock reaction we can’t prevent

Somehow we did not anticipate
Arrival so precipitate
Of good fortune landing in our lap
Much more likely some mishap

WOW signifies astonishment
At unforeseen accomplishment
Who would have known? We must exclaim
The loser joins the hall of fame!

WOW expressed in admiration
At some achievement, new creation
Amazed we stand with mouth agape
As novel artifact takes shape

Cynics sometimes express WOW
Can’t believe the why and how
Their WOW has such a hollow ring
Of your praises they won’t sing

But mostly WOW means genuine praise
As the flag they keenly wave
Well done, plaudits much deserved
Congratulations unreserved

Ken Fisher

 

Do Grasshoppers Have Low Self-Esteem?

Do Grasshoppers Have Low Self-Esteem?

The Queen’s Speech to Parliament has made it quite clear
Some animals have emotions like pleasure and fear
So a new Bill will in due course be brought into law
Could mean a fine if you squash Fido’s paw

Apparently if your pet has a backbone
Its rights as a creature can’t be overthrown
It’s a sentient being, sometimes happy or sad
If we upset him he’s bound to get mad

This set me wondering if I’d come a cropper
If I was cruel to a resident friendly grasshopper
Would his self-esteem be deeply offended
If I swiped at him while quite undefended

This whole notion raises issues philosophical
Even of categories quite hierarchical
Are some creatures deserving of greater respect?
While others we can quite simply neglect

I wonder if all creatures have an opinion
As king of the jungle or just a mere minion
Does a snake have a grand conceit of herself
Or the hamster abandoned on  the pet shop shelf

Birds of the air and fish of the sea
For legal protection they might have a plea
The problem is to know where to draw the line
At the golden eagle or the sharp porcupine

I’m afraid these limits can’t be clearly defined
I’m content to accept that all humankind
Deserve our respect for their self-esteem
But for slugs don’t send us to jail, that’s much too extreme

One final point about the humble grasshopper
Its jumping performance is quite a show-stopper
It can spring to a height many times its own length
You have admit that must take great strength

Ken Fisher

Sin

Sin

 

 

Sin
A curiously old-fashioned word
Perhaps even an antiquated concept
The old adage – it is a Sin to steal a pin!
Who steals pins these days?

Sin
What is it?

Many things is would appear
From peccadillos to mortal offences
Insulting those we should revere
Crimes that merit no defences

Original sin in Eden perpetrated
Mankind’s innocence destroyed
From guilt no longer separated
Gone all goodness unalloyed

Lapses, faults, larceny, transgressions
Falling from grace, short of the mark
Sins of commission and of omission
Slanderous words, the unkind remark

And what of all those Biblical sins?
Lust and pride, envy and greed
Much worse than just a stolen pin
Gluttony, sloth not mere misdeeds

Sin abounds when we are tempted
By this world’s blandishments
Our resistance sorely tested
Disregarding punishment

Life needs sin to give it relish
From virtuous boredom be released
Its grey canvas to embellish
Peppered with impious yeast

Ken Fisher

The Tyranny of the Password

The Tyranny of the Password

To compare this with Covid may seem quite absurd
But I’m almost as scared of the missing password
When we cannot remember these numbers and letters
Our hands are tied as if by tight fetters

These digital door keys prevent interference
Meant to protect our bank balance from disappearance
To the hands of some hacker of ill repute
Intent on swiping away all our loot

So with every aspect of computer filing
Requests for a password sets us compiling
A secret code to keep data secure
Safely concealed there for evermore

It is then that we need to be quite inventive
Complex passwords can be preventive
Of those who would all our secrets expose
Our facts and figures that no one else knows

The names of long dead pets, or gran’s date of birth
That primary school teacher if we think she was worth
Of incorporation into a password obscure
A combination that might long endure

This all sounds fine as far as it goes
Except when we need to enter the password and letters transpose
Or worst of all we suffer from total amnesia
Our brain dormant as through anaesthesia

We try to recall where the password record is hidden
We search our machine but all access forbidden
The more times we try the wrong combination
Now struck by panic and mighty frustration

In the end we may have all hope to abandon
All this computing is far too demanding
Just keep all your records in a box under your bed
Where password tyranny can  no longer cause dread

Ken Fisher

You’re Muted!

You’re Muted!

The dictionary defines “mute” as
Adjective:
Refraining from speech
or temporarily speechless

Noun:
A person lacking the faculty of speech
A device on a phone or TV or another appliance
That turns off the sound

But since the advent of the extensive
use of the Zoom app
Mute, has gained a whole
lot more significance

Thus:
You appear on our screens
Your frame illuminated
Moving lips can be seen
But all sound confiscated

Your body language is quite animated
Wishing the current topic to be debated
But no sound can be heard in our attentive ears
Your impact on us simply disappears

We know the problem of which you’re unaware
We all try to tell you with a waving fanfare
But all our signals somehow go unseen
Only silence emerges from your flickering screen

At last, bemused by our gestures you reach the conclusion
Between us and you there is some confusion
We all want to ensure that you participate
To achieve this your mike needs to activate

The penny then drops and falls down the chute
It dawns on you that you must simply un-mute
And to the cheers of all who anxiously wait
You click the icon to let sound emanate

And so at last we achieve that blessed concord
When we can see you and hear every word
Un-muting is vital for full participation
But only if the host grants that dispensation

Ken Fisher

Stooshie

Stooshie

[An uproar or commotion, or a minor row of sorts]

Here’s a word of which the English may be unaware
One of those obscure terms which we might share
It’s used to describe a row or a commotion
An argument with signs of stirred emotion

It’s not quite as serious as all-out war
And any fisticuffs we would deplore
More like a skirmish of the verbal kind
Where opponents are readily maligned

Stooshies can arise at any time or place
Sometimes only two contenders face to face
At others the arena is on a grander scale
Unparliamentary language used opponents to impale

A cause celebre might well a stooshie generate
Or some long-held grudge cause others to berate
Or perhaps just even some minor irritation
The trigger for much unnecessary vexation

Stooshies, perhaps depending on the situation
May be of short or quite prolonged duration
Perpetual stooshies are really a vendetta
Likened to the plot of some tragic operetta

Stooshies, on the whole, are best avoided
Deep divisions thus remain unexploited
Endeavour to ignore all discourse acrimonious
Conducting your affairs with speech harmonious

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