Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia

No doubt you have heard of dyslexia
But I doubt you know of dyscalculia
The former the scourge of the aspiring reader
The latter hinders any mathematical cheerleader

We are told to stop thinking that maths is quite scary
High intelligence needed for its mastery
The subject has been shrouded in a kind of mystique
Lesser mortals retiring in a fit of pique

Of course this suits those who find maths a cinch
No complex formula would ere make them flich
This allows them to take a superior stance
At our puerile attempts they just look askance

But the solution is not to simply give in
But start at the basics, that’s where to begin
With tiny steps the tough subject attack
Upwards and onwards, no glancing back

From simple arithmetic we might proceed
Not allowing problems progress to impede
Gradually attacking the language algebraic
Geometric shapes which are somewhat archaic

And so at last as our knowledge expands
We learn to tackle all the subject’s demands
Until all its mysteries we have expelled
Our dyscalculia completely dispelled

Ken Fisher

Reflecting Back/Exploring Forward

Reflecting Back/Exploring Forward

The life of the mind is two-dimensional
On the past, reflecting back
On the future, exploring forward
Memories and speculation

The past, cavalcade of images
From childhood to old age
The future, a shorter focus
From to-day until when? Who knows?

Past reflections, echoes of joy
Interwoven with times of trial
The future? The past no guarantee
Of what may yet lie ahead!

The past cannot be undone
For good or ill, the record stands
The future waits to be explored
Fearfully unpredictable, not without hope

The past is gone, the future not yet
The only reality – the present
Savour every instant
Turn them to good account

Thus each moment adds to history
Together with past and future
Penning the script of
Auto-biography

Ken Fisher

Silence!

Silence!

Silence!
What can be said
When so many are dead
Cityscape laid bare
To our horrified stare

Silence!
All our words fail
Amidst such travail
Souls under siege
Unuttered rage

Silence!
Save the rumbling of shells
Midst Ukraine’s living hell
Whence might come release?
From dictator’s caprice

Silence!
Mute blessings craved
When no longer depraved
Peace be restored
Ne’er justice ignored

Ken Fisher

 

Another angle on Silence:The Sound of Silence

Still In Limbo

Still in Limbo

Apparently Limbo is the very edge of Hell
And that’s our world’s new perch
Hovering o’er that deep abyss
As for peace so many search

As weapons clash and innocents are slaughtered
The sound of warfare continues unabated
Who will bring peace, end all this strife?
The conquering lust be sated

Each new day we wait for news
That peace might be restored
Pray that weapons be laid down
But justice ne’er ignored

And so in Limbo we still wait
Amidst lives and homes laid waste
The trappings of our civil world
Shattered and debased

Ken Fisher

Radio – The Listener’s Window on the World 2022

Radio – The Listener’s Window on the World
Re-Posted for World Radio Day Feb 2022
and as a plea for peace at this time of
great international tension

 

For the genius of Guglielmo Marconi we must truly all give thanks
Among all his contemporary scientists he was in the very front rank
On the shoulders of Heinrich Hertz who found waves electromagnetic
Marconi built a method to send out these signals energetic

Marconi concocted a plan most cunning that avoided telegraph wires
And thus sent out his ‘wireless’ signals above all those church spires
As the 19th century reached its close his experiments came to fruition
When with magnets, coils and dancing sparks he made his first transmission

From such primitive experiments by these wise men of invention
Flowed a cascade of ideas yielding endless innovation
Hence crystal sets and thermionic valves (which frequently got hot)
Transistors followed next and radio sets did then shrink a lot

As the years took their course and broadcasts grew universal
Transmitter networks worldwide ensured signal dispersal
Initially wave lengths were short or long and sometimes just medium
For local sites we had medium and long, for distance, shortwaves gave a premium

Sometimes people would complain of AM interference
Then along came VHF giving much more coherence
And in latter days, in a world of instant communication
Quality transformed as satellites beam o’er the nations

But the radio scene was much enhanced not just by technology
Its programming stretched wide spanning all ideologies
From off-shore pirate ships to internet radio delights
Broadcast output unceasing by day and night

So today we have radio which is quite all-pervasive
It’s in our cars, on our phones, perhaps too invasive?
Where e’er we roam in this wide world its waves fill the air
We get it live, by DAB, or pod-cast, no matter when or where

And radio for each listener is a window on the world
Its masts like nations’ flags are everywhere unfurled
And if the aim is that ‘nation should speak peace unto nation’
Then those early pioneers assured its true foundations

And at this time of great international tension
We pray that this ingenious invention
Might spread words of diplomacy and peace
From this fiendish stranglehold adversaries be released

So we have come a long way from that first pulse ethereal
Art by invention sent from masts to aerials
A world-wide enterprise to educate, entertain and inform
The broadcast media have all our lives transformed

Therefore acknowledge the debt we owe those pioneers of the past
Without whose achievements we could not amass
Such bounteous gifts as come winging by the air
An inheritance rich that is quite beyond compare

 

 

Ken Fisher

 

By Nature and By Grace

By Nature and By Grace

 

From whence cometh what we are?
By nature or by grace
The formation of this earthly life
Mysterious to trace

Some claim nature the defining force
Others cling to nurture
Might grace have any part to play?
Enquires the pious searcher

Nature dictates the frame we have
Nurture moulds behaviour
But grace invokes a higher power
Gratis from our Saviour

Most accept the role that’s played
Nature and nurture enshrined
Perhaps ideal is manifest
As those with grace combine

Ken Fisher

Post Truth Society 2022

Post Truth Society – 2022

It has been claimed
That truth has gone
The victim of modern living
It no longer matters
What we say
The world will be forgiving

But not just in words
In actions too
In every task that we should do
With ease, who cares
We simply bluff
Our way right through

When truth takes flight
And fiction rules
No-one knows what to believe
No longer sure
Of falsity or verity
Duplicity shaped to deceive

If truth is only relative
Dependent on the context
How then define propriety?
Fake news, white lies
Flights of fancy, the currency of
Our post truth society

And right now in politics
Where porky pies abound
Virtue stands deflowered
As leaders breach their rules
Governance devoid of truth
And we ask, by what power?

Ken Fisher

 

Demystify

Demystify

While contemplating my Anti-Fog Lens Cloth
[Which has been extremely effective in the pandemic]
Thoughts arose as to what else might need demystifying
How might I achieve a clearer vision and sharper focus?

Here are just a few Big Ideas which need demystifying for us
The lay public realise we should understand these concepts
But often don’t, and even more often
Are untroubled by our ignorance!

Can you lift the veil on these mysteries?

General Relativity, Particle Physics, DNA
In Cosmology what part does Dark Energy play?
In Theology what do they mean by mankind’s Salvation
Or can you describe what Darwin meant by Evolution

Who can explain about Quantum Mechanics?
Whose recondite concepts put us in a panic
Angular Momentum, Magnetic Moment and Spin
Of this abstruse science Uncertainty is a lynchpin

Chemistry is rich in quite obscure mystery
Although it can even be foggy in Medieval History
Who knows the detail of what’s Organic or Analytical
Or were plagues in the Dark Ages equally critical?

For almost all of us the realm of Mathematics
Is a challenge for even those who are quite pragmatic
With simple Arithmetic or Geometry we might even cope
But with Trigonometry and Algebra we quickly lose hope

In philosophy things can really blow your mind
Agonising over Ethics and Metaphysics, ideas of that kind
What did Kant mean by the Categorical Imperative
Or Paul Feyerabend who mused on ideas that are Relative?

Then there’s Art and Dance and classical Sculpture
Orchestral Music, Opera, all part of our culture
Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Realism
Conceptual, Figurative, and even Abstractionism

And so we could go on across the whole realm of knowledge
Subjects and specialisms we would have to acknowledge
Thank goodness for Wiki who comes to our aid
And despite any defects earns our accolade

Ken Fisher

 

The Poetry Geek

The Poetry Geek

On the words of my verses I sometimes reflect
Thoughts enter my mind completely unchecked
When agonising over my writing technique
I think I’m becoming a poetry geek!

Geeks are defined as being somewhat inept
Whose social skills are far from perfect
Of the normal world they lack understanding
Coping with life they find quite demanding

But I would argue in my defence
That through poetry I simply try to make sense
Of the world that surrounds us each new dawning day
That all of us face in both work and at play

Poets try to expound on a novel idea
Or what’er may arise from our hopes or our fear
Sometimes they wrestle with unanswerable questions
But at least from their broodings they may offer suggestions

Some would say, do something more practical
Than juggling with words in a manner didactical
Yet perhaps by these musings I may avoid strife
I might even discover the meaning of life!

So geeks have their place of that there’s no doubt
If only we could discover what they’re about
And poetic geeks should be permitted a voice
If you listen or not is a matter of choice

Ken Fisher

 

 

Bedtime Story

Bedtime Story

Childhood memories, tucked up in bed
Before gently drifting off to sleep
A bedtime story from Mum or Dad
No need for counting sheep

Favourite classic childrens’ books
Feeding our imagination
From nursery rhymes and fairy tales
To titles beloved by the nation

The Gruffalo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Tales of friendly cats and dogs
Or how to plant a tree

Dragons and Dinasaurs
All showing smiley faces
Eco friendly garden tales
Hippotamus’ embraces

Harry Potter, Kipper the Dog
The Enormous Crocodile
Asterix, the Jungle Book
Stories make you cry or smile

Printed books or books online
Held-in-hand or view a Kindle version
Authors clamouring to catch our eye
Proffering diversion

So when bedtime beckons our little ones
To climb the stairs to bed
A soothing tale is all they need
To induce a nodding head

Ken Fisher

 

Mickey Mouse Degree

Mickey Mouse Degree

 

The Government is now showing concern
That taking certain degrees won’t help you to earn
Mickey Mouse is the label they give to these courses
And they may decide to cut their resources

In expanding their range some Unis were rash
Concocting degrees that for them brought in cash
But for their students this proved a rather poor bet
Leaving them up to their eyeballs in debt

The problem for students is they need take out loans
For something much less worthy than buying a home
And when it comes to repayment from the little they earn
They discover any job yields too low a return

But this doesn’t hurt the student right then
They don’t start to repay until as and when
They are earning enough to refund the State
Who find the debt burden an increasing weight

Mickey Mouse degrees are often in music or arts and design
Although social sciences rarely yield a goldmine
But that’s not to say these degrees should be trashed
Many persevere with them quite unabashed

Of course student debt grows greater each year
And to pay it off you need a career
To do this you want a good qualification
Accounting, law or computing helps you even more than the nation

Medicine, science and engineering might yield a return
Creative arts and media studies perhaps one should spurn
But if the best choice is to do something vocational
Take college training linked to trades occupational

And what of degrees in subjects traditional?
Your acceptance of these might be provisional
Geography, history, economics, even theology
As much Mickey Mouse as a course in astrology!

The problem suggesting it’s a trivial degree
Is to imply it’s of little use to you or to me
But many such degrees are quite life-enhancing
And their value is more than just their financing

So let’s not of Mickey Mouse be too pejorative
Such courses of study might start as explorative
But for the diligent student they can open the door
To lifelong learning promising so very much more

Ken Fisher

 

 

Posh

Posh

‘Posh’ describes some lofty people
Perhaps they have all our heart’s desire
That superior quality of living
At once we envy and admire

But why should this make us jealous
What do they have that we might crave?
Is it how they dress or speak
Or in the manner they behave?

Perhaps the words they use
The diversity of  language?
The rich vocabulary, superior accent
In us inducing anguish

A kitchen rack full of spices
The Aga oven, log burner in the hearth?
Fancy sports car, skis stored in the garage
Trinkets witness to  their wealth

Perhaps the extent of their possessions
Of this world’s goods they have it all
But I suspect you may be posh
With hardly anything at all

You don’t need limitless belongings
Houses, gardens, clothes, or toys
The hallmark of the truly posh?
Calm superiority and poise!

Ken Fisher