Don’t Give Up the Day Job

Don’t Give Up the Day Job

Wise advice when we are considering some mad-cap enterprise
And yet if caution is our only compass what is the gain?
Sometimes we need to step out into the unknown
Take a gamble, be adventurous for once

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
If we are too timid to take that first stride, no headway
So why not cast aside all doubts and fears
To boldly go…………

But hang on a minute, do we need to burn our boats
Must we throw all caution to the wind?
Slam the door on past achievements
Eschew all that has given us comfort and security?

Surely there is a middle way, not stagnating
And yet not stifling all initiative, all creativity
Are we so confident in the need for change
That the decision to act can only be binary?

After all, when advised ‘not to give up the day job’
Isn’t there just a hint that others have reasoned
That, in the gamble we are about to take
The odds may be stacked against us?

The day job may seem tedious and tiresome
Characterized by boredom and routine
But at least it ensures that life is sustained
And others can still depend on us

But lest we think this view is a spoiler to all initiative
Many an enterprise has sprung from hobbies and pastimes
From the energy and enthusiasm of amateurs
Eagerly beavering away at moments snatched outside the day job

Ken Fisher

Election Fuddle

Election Fuddle

Does anyone know how I ought to vote?
Hold on while I quickly take a note
Confusion abounds causing me such trouble
Who will release me from this gigantic fuddle?

Our esteemed politicians have not helped one bit
‘For purpose’ they clearly are quite unfit
At one time we thought they might provide a lead
But sadly in that duty they have failed to succeed

Every media debate seems to end in a fight
And the last thing that happens is increasing light
On the issues that concern the whole population
We only feel ever-mounting frustration

For we cannot see a clear road ahead
And conflict and division is so widespread
The prospect of uniting in one common view
The political classes certainly seem to  eschew

If only we could come to any kind of consensus
Some basic core ideas, nothing pretentious
Then we might be able to see the way forward
By which our future affairs may then be ordered

At the heart of it all is that one basic question
If answered we might clear the congestion
Do we leave or stay on in the European Union?
Do we hang on in there or opt for exclusion

The half-way house seems to please very few
Demanding compromise which would surely ensue
So perhaps someone will show how we get out of this bind
And tell us it’s time that we all made up our mind!

So as you come to vote in the impending election
When you finally have to mark your selection
Try to make it clear to the powers that be
Thus from fuddle and fog we might at last be free!

Ken Fisher

 

 

Public Intellectual

Public Intellectual

Acknowledged for their lofty thoughts
From whom doubtless we can be taught
Critical thinking, deep reflection
Hallmarks of such an esteemed person

Legions of experts proffer solutions
How to save the planet from pollution
No problem beyond their power to solve
When brilliant minds beomce involved

The public intellectual, wisest of all of these
Fame gained through demonstrated expertise
Consulted on perplexing issues of the day
Never reluctant to have their say

The luminaries are nothing if not highbrow
Common knowledge they simply disavow
On higher thoughts is built their reputation
To exercise our minds is their great aspiration

The influence of public intellectuals is widespread
Their quality of mind that of a thoroughbred
Thus we lesser mortals may feel second rate
Our simple musings made to seem lightweight

But in our world so complex and diverse
It would undoubtedly appear perverse
If in the realm of discourse and debate
Thoughts high or humble we can’t accommodate

Ken Fisher

So Much Depends

So Much Depends

Are we free to act as we alone would choose?

Born an individual, but not a solo act

Imprisoned by our genes, brainpower and physique

Blessed and blighted by our up-bringing

Constrained by society, race and opportunity

Our health, wealth and security governed by others

So much depends on this past inheritance

How can we break free from the marionette strings?

Dare we defy the puppet master?

So much depends on self-belief and confidence

Self-belief in our own chosen path

And confidence to pursue that course

So let’s shun a robotic determinism

Thankful to those on whom erstwhile we have depended

We cast aside all shackles and excuses

Accountable to ourself alone

 

Ken Fisher

Anything Can Happen and Probably Will

Anything Can Happen and Probably Will

search-1

Some say that life is full of surprises
Surely that is one of its greatest blessings
Where would we be if every day was predictable
And the element of surprise completely absent?

A heritage radio programme – Take it From Here
Used the catch phrase – anything can happen and ……..
The comedy show then showcased lots of skits
Where the unexpected added spice to the scripts

Mind you, there are those who would prefer a life
Where surprise was kept to a minimum
Perhaps they have lived through too much uncertainty
Their smooth passage interrupted by many incidents

Recently we moved house and are settling in
To our new home.  Quite a stressful transition
We had planned it quite well, but did not escape
Unpredicted collateral damage!

Often the best way of coping with the unexpected
Is to be prepared in advance for eventualities
Then when something springs up it is less of a trial
More an unexpected pleasure, something of serendipity

Sometimes we can deliberately seek out excitement
By exposing ourselves to the unknown, even the dangerous
From a simple mystery tour to a trek into the wilderness
From tourist to pilgrim, to nomad or adventurer

So why don’t we attune our minds to the possibility
That in life anything can happen and probably will
Because things do happen, no matter what
And our reaction may bring us grief or joy

Ken Fisher

 

 

Timor Mortis Conturbat Me

Timor Mortis Conturbat Me
[Fear of Death Disturbs Me]

 

In days of yore when pupils at school were ruled with iron rod
When few would dare to question the reality of God
What might confront us when moved beyond the grave
Rarely could be swept aside, even by the brave

Fear of death was a powerful motivating force
Lest we find that by past deeds we are thereafter cursed
Reflecting on the hereafter would thus our souls perturb
Resolving that our conduct might ne’er God’s rule usurp

Today our mindset has cast aside that shadow
Death’s menace ignored with much bold bravado
Indeed death now rarely accorded even mention
Eternal life apparently the focus of attention

And yet we know that such a view is unrealistic
Life may be longer but still remains naturalistic
Indeed today perhaps our fear is not of death but living
Amidst the challenges of modern life which can be unforgiving

So what might be the Holy Grail, the nostrum for our age?
To help us navigate a course and all our angst assuage
That neither fear of death nor life might carry off our peace
And from all that would disturb we might duly find release

Ken Fisher

The Volunteer

The Volunteer 2018

[for International Volunteer Day 2018]

images-1

 

Where would we be without the volunteer?
Those selfless souls who freely offer to take part
Whether it be to join some ‘Great Cause’
And end up making the ‘Supreme Sacrifice’
Or whether it be for a much humbler task
Some regular kindness to our neighbour
That does not demand self-immolation
But nonetheless has the hallmark of self-giving

Is it just me who is becoming more aware
That volunteers seem to be a threatened species?
Despite political hectoring that we should all
Be part of the ‘Big Society’ showing social solidarity
Based on voluntarism and communitarianism
Each one prepared to play our part for the common good
Thus ordinary citizens should be enabled to
Provide the impetus for much greater ‘people power’

These are grand sentiments no doubt advocated
With the best intentions. Unfortunately
There is not too much evidence that the Big Society
Has managed to ‘big itself up’ to any significant scale
And I wonder why so few seem to have caught the vision
And responded to the challenge of active volunteering
Regretfully, I think the zeitgeist of our age has evolved into
That of ‘the snowflake’ frightened of pressure or responsibility

Why should this be, I ask myself?
Perhaps it is the pace of life, we are all too busy
Work life balance is out of kilter, we are living
In the ‘always connected’ mode – there is no escape
Earning a living, extensive commuting, and exhaustion
All surely play their part. Don’t ask me to do anything
OK – point taken. But will this sound the death knell
Of all that hitherto volunteers have done for us?

‘I hope not’ – I hear you say.
Thank God for the volunteers –but please, please,  just don’t ask me
[yet again]!

Ken Fisher

 

Holiday from Reality

Holiday from Reality

 

Let’s take a holiday from harsh reality
Why does a poem have to make any sense?
Give us a break from stark rationality
And enter the realm of shameless pretence

Carried along on the wings of a reverie
Let the mind wander wherever it will
Untrammelled by thoughts drawn from memory
Wild imagination’s notions distill

Be unafraid of spewing gobbledegook
Readers can wrestle to tease out meaning
Never attempting to fashion a book
Rarely to clear understanding appealing

Resorting always to simile and metaphor
Word pictures made mysteriously opaque
Language displayed in patterns irregular
Understanding rendered disturbingly vague

Why should the poet set the agenda?
The reader must surely make what they will
Sifting the verses to find what they render
In time their quest it will surely fulfil

So sit back and relax let the poem transport
Our thoughts to wherever they come to rest
Each word and line become its own passport
To the message the writer would therein express

Ken Fisher

A Poem of Fewer Words

A Poem of Fewer Words

 

Too many words spilling out from a poem
Cascading over each other like foam
On turbulent sea waves
Our thought enslaves

Too many images flooding the mind
So many notions unconfined
Prolixity quite unbound
Doth confound

Let us with the words dispense
At least try them to condense
In the vacant space
Calm, replace

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

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