Remembrance 2022

Remembrance 2022

This poem was posted at the same time in earlier years
We hope that this year we might yet remain
optimistic about the future

Today’s a time for remembering
Thinking back to those dark days of war
When life was uncertain for all
And for some, death was an imminent prospect

But few living today have much memory
Of the years of conflict when hostilities raged
And although warfare still encircles the world
Our experience of it is mediated by TV images

And yet we have an uncomfortable feeling
That despite efforts to unite the nations
There is a persistent climate of arm-wrestling
Between the great powers who eyeball each other

The Cold War brought with it the four-minute-warning
Not long to compose our minds for oblivion!
And presently with the continuing conflict in the Ukraine
And other theatres of war in our troubled world
We cannot quite eliminate the nagging uncertainty for our destiny

However, for today, we give thanks
For all those who bought our freedom
And pledge to strive to maintain
Such fragile peace as we possess

Ken Fisher

Scarcity

Scarcity

 

Scarcity is the beating heart of economics
Economists imagine that humankind
Constantly lives in the purgatory
Between our insatiable demands
And our limited means

From this point of view
All economic activity
Is a battle-ground where
Humans forever compete with each other
To grab their share of the scarce resources

Perhaps there is some truth in this view
As, in the animal kingdom,
Different creatures prey on each other
Not only dog eat dog
But any dominant beast swallows the subservient

But economists also tell us that scarcity
Produces markets, where supply meets demand
Prices are struck at the equilibrium
Seller and buyer are in accord
Satisfaction built on scarcity

Perhaps this is the capitalist ideal
And for the most part it has worked
But what about those with no purchasing power?
What if supply falters through drought or monopoly?
Markets need money to function, what if you are broke?

Scarcity is OK, it can be a great stimulus
But in a world where inequality is rife
Who will take care of the losers?
Must they too simply perish
As casualties in economic warfare?

Abundance is the obverse of scarcity
Like fresh air, of limitless supply
Untreated its economic value sits at zero
Would that the supply of all our needs was abundant
Might universal contentment be the norm?

Ken Fisher

Audi Alteram Partem

Audi Alteram Partem
[Hear the other side]

Audi Alteram Partem is a very worthy maxim
It seeks to keep an open mind thus avoiding bias
In every interview or debate let’s hear the other side
When hard decisions otherwise readily would try us

But one problem I can foresee in granting equal status
To either viewpoint regarding any proposition
Both sides may not have equal merit
Worthy of universal recognition

In courts of law there’s little doubt
To ensure that trials are fair
Prosecution and defence must state their case
With diligence and care

In football we have observed the arrival of VAR
Intended to eliminate a prejudiced decision
Cameras cover many angles of a shot on goal
Ascertain the true position

But perhaps we have stretched the principle too far
When every journalist’s interrogation
Must ensure that ‘for and against’ are aired
Lest there be discrimination

The advocates of any cause, ideal or belief
Will surely stress the merits of that enterprise
Their conviction dominates their view
No hesitation, vacillation, leads them to rationalise

Of course in our democratic nations
We believe in free and open speech
Audi Alteram Partem deserves respect
A noble rule we should not lightly breach

Ken Fisher

 

Beeb Centenary

Beeb Centenary

Congratulations to our companion
Purveyor of news and diverse opinion
The BBC has reached its centenary
Throughout each age remained contemporary

Harnessing each new development
From crystal set to internet
The beeb’s output embraced the world
Its transmissions like flags unfurled

From Reithian sobriety
To music and variety
In programmes thus our tastes reflected
No part of culture e’er neglected

To educate, inform and entertain
Its mission e’er remained the same
So much a part of daily life
Through peaceful years and times of strife

Despite the fact of great prestige
In modern times more under siege
Who want’s to pay a licence fee
When the airwaves may come free?

The Beeb is somehow like no other
From Strictly back to Watch with Mother
Endless output from the archives
Broadcasts woven through all our lives

Congratulations to this mighty institution
There is no ready substitution
We wish it well in years ahead
That its broadcast waves may still be spread

Ken Fisher

 

See Also: Radio The Listender’s Window on the World

The Night Time Broadcast

 

Curiosity

Curiosity

Curiosity killed the cat
We often have been told
Perhaps pussy would have survived
It she hadn’t been so bold

But cats are not the only beasts
Anxious to know more
Humans also have the need
New ideas to explore

Our nosiness we can’t resist
We have a great desire
To solve the mysteries of life
Our senses all conspire

It’s said that science relies
On enquiry and experiment
If these techniques were not applied
It would be to society’s detriment

The spirit of enquiry begins at birth
From infancy it progresses
Through walking, talking, asking
New challenges it addresses

Curiosity prompts us to seek out
The when, the why, what for?
No matter what the puzzle is
We want to know the score

Curiosity may have killed the cat
But for us, the driving force
Before nine lives are duly lost
New knowledge we’ll endorse

Ken Fisher

See also this poem about questions and questioning:  Now You’re Asking

No Longer Give Your Life, but Live Your Life?

No Longer Give Your Life, but Live Your Life?

Whatever happened to the ethic of Service?
When did the prevailing mood change?
From the idea of giving your life for others
To living your life for yourself

The death of our Queen
Who exemplified a life of service,
Has prompted reflection
On how we see our lives today

Of course we are told in the
Gospel of Matthew to
Love your neighbour
As yourself

But perhaps we have
Soft-pedalled on the neighbour bit
And majored on the loving of self
The spirit of our age

The bookshops are full of
Manuals on self-help
How to get the best out of life
In health, wealth and self-satisfaction

Perhaps we expect someone else
To do the giving, the service for others
The Government, the NHS, Social service etc
But don’t ask me to volunteer – are you mad?

So where does that leave us?
Self-contained in our little bubble
Good-bye to giving, hello to living
But perhaps happiness may be discovered
In living through giving

Ken Fisher

Honest Doubt

Honest Doubt

 

A thought:
“RELIGION: Men despise religion, they hate it, and fear
that is is true”  BLAISE PASCAL [1623-1662]

Would that belief with all the heart
That faith would take the major part
No doubts evoke that it be fiction
Grim spectre of contradiction

Why should faith be so elusive?
At times conviction quite conclusive
At others, of any certainty devoid
Credence rarely unalloyed

Ambivalence yielding only anguish
In this tension the soul languish
Faith and doubt in opposition
Need hope in salvation avert perdition?

For those whose trust is resolute
Brook no questions, no dispute
Their creed for them is all sufficient
Safe with their loving God omniscient

Yet who would deem it cynicism
When intelligent scepticism
Decides it be a precondition
To weigh in the balance propositions

Study of God’s word the resolution?
Or merely leads to obfuscation
Religion ‘lite’ a better course
Freed from the wrath of sinner’s curse

And what of those of frail conviction
Beset by doubt and  contradiction?
For them, faith a prize not quite yet earned
Still in their heart wistfully yearned

 

 

Ken Fisher

Venerated Ruins

Venerated Ruins

The Scottish Borders Abbeys
Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso, Jedburgh

Dryburgh Abbey 

 

                                                                             

Kelso Abbey

Serene in these ancient kirkyards
The ruins lie at rest
Testimony to their illustrious past
Historians will know best

Founded in the 12th Century
In King David’s reign
Scotland’s southern monasteries
Through all chance and change
Their mission was the same

Perpetual prayer and supplication
The Chapter and the Rule’s command
Hours of silence, simple tasks
The discipline demands

Despite the pursuit of such peace
The sanctuary oft disrupted
Warring factions, Border reives
Plunder and pillage their service interrupted

And now in modern times the silence reigns
Historic testimony their only proclamation
Mere venerated ruins with muted voice
Unheeded by our post-Christian nation

Ken Fisher

 

Apple

Apple
A Many Splendoured Thing

Thoughts about the Apple

Adam’s Apple – was that his downfall
Or was that Newton’s idea?

The Apple of his Eye – not a Crab
But a Golden Delicious

Don’t write off the whole barrel
Because of one bad Apple

The American Dream of Apple Pie
Blue Jeans and Chevrolet

It’s not Covid that keeps the Doctor away
It’s an Apple a Day

But in today’s world it is not the fruit we think of
But the iPhone, iPad, and iMac, Mackintosh’s iconic Apples

And of course, we cross the pond
To reach The Big Apple where Liberty welcomes us

Solomon pleaded –
Refresh me with Apples!
[Song of Solomon Ch2 V5]

Ken Fisher

[Cooking Apples from Mrs Fisher’s Allotment]

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property
Here’s a Thought

Intellectual Property, often referred to as I P
Might be described as something I know that you don’t

Of course it’s not as simple as that
It’s something I know that you don’t
And that you might like to know

Individuals and businesses put value on I P
And although this kind of property in intangible
i.e you can’t open a box and bring it out
It can be worth a lot of money

I P consists of the fruits of someone’s ideas
An invention, a design, a formula, a prototype
And these creations are often protected by law
By means of patents, copyrights, trade marks,
Brand names and so on

Some intellectual property is considered to be
A valuable asset of the business
The benefits of which continue to accrue for years

We have all heard that Knowledge is Power
And applied knowledge, intellectual property,
Can be very powerful indeed.

Before factories and construction sites
And the creative arts studios of music and drama and literature
Can produce anything
The power house of invention and design
Will have been grinding away to yield
The conception from which I P is born

So we must continue to nurture and promote
The growth of I P
Through research and development in our
Universities and laboratories
And think tanks and dream factories
Where bright ideas are conjured up

Don’t give up on imagination!

Ken Fisher

Freak Out

Freak Out

Surprised, upset, angry, or confused
Quite suddenly your ego badly bruised
Your mood has changed, what’s that about?
From calm composure, complete freak out

What change of fortune, turning of events
Brings this sudden surge of discontent?
What bad tidings, what ill-timed casualty
Turns settled life into catastrophe?

The truth perhaps is not so clear
What to one person induces deadly fear
To others minor inconvenience all they feel
Their thoughts to reason will appeal

What can be the cause of a freak out?
What shocking fact might make you shout
Perhaps exam results you didn’t expect
New energy bills your budget wrecked!

Freak outs prompted by bad news
Foundering at some interviews
Pay rise that didn’t materialise
Failure to win the expected prize

But somehow we must learn to cope
Don’t despair, hold on to hope
Accommodate the unexpected
Little point in being dejected

Say good-bye to pointless freak out
From nasty frights avoid the fall-out
Hang on to sunny disposition
‘Keep calm’ become your new-found mission

Ken Fisher

Contrast the above poem with Inscrutable

Inscrutable

Inscrutable

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The enigmatic pose
The impassive mind
The unknowable thoughts
The unfathomable depths
The impenetrable meaning
The inexplicable understanding
The unexpressive serenity

All these attributes
Displayed in one small (rather portly) frame

No warfare with the world
No conflict with oneself
No striving to achieve
No quest for success
No hiding from reality
No hostility to others
No internecine strife

Only peace and harmony
In a mind at ease

Ken Fisher

Contrast the above poem with Freak Out