Please Keep Your Distance!

Please Keep Your Distance!

[This poem written in the light of latest tight
restrictions on freedom thanks to the pandemic]

The message for today shouts loud and clear
Intended to warn, it can induce fear
This strong injunction brooks no resistance
Demanding quite clearly – Please keep your distance!

Two metres would seem to be the optimum space
Between each other when we come face to face
And if nearer to that I see you advance
I must pirouette past in an intricate dance

The rules about distancing are highly developed
In lists and notices these commands are enveloped
Great powers on the authorities have been bestowed
Check them now on your phone with a QR Code

Outside the buildings the rules are less strict
A little more freedom from demands that restrict
But inside we must obey the floor plan
Follow the arrows as close as you can

In bars, restaurants and cafes, tables are spaced far apart
Cosy dinners for two with your dear sweetheart
When you hoped your liaison might well advance
Find two metres distance can stymie romance

Then there are also practical points to consider
And here I’d be grateful if you wouldn’t snigger
A gent requiring the toilet due to an excess of beer
Saw half the “stalls” labelled – Please don’t pee here!

So in conclusion I will not criticise
The imposition of distance rules is truly quite wise
But I plead that to each other we show toleration
Throughout this lockdown of whatever duration

Ken Fisher

Generational Civil War

Generational Civil War

A side effect of our current predicament
While the virus is still running amok
Is the increasing resentment the young might rightfully feel
Against us oldies shielded from shock

Saved from job loss ‘cause we’re now in retirement
Redundancy can’t bring us great tension
Better off than erstwhile, a few bob in the bank
Thanks to our defined benefit pensions

No need to worry about a roof over your head
Enriched by our house value’s inflation
We steadily climbed the property ladder
Ensuring our wealth’s escalation

In our safe fortress young folk espy
Us oldies quite smug and secure
And they ask is it right
The youth of today might yet stay forever poor?

To save us grey knobs from the menacing virus
The young are now paying the price
Cast on to the dole, locked up in their digs
It is  the youth who are made sacrifice

We know that the hope is to limit the spread
Of this virulent menacing plague
But need so many young people be hostage
To a threat which still remains vague?

Let’s hope we can avoid a civil war
Between each of our generations
Resolve to be fair to both young and old
Concerned for the whole population

So if the old are to ensure the balance restored
They need to be somewhat more generous
Accepting they must help to redistribute their wealth
To the young in a manner magnanimous

Ken Fisher

You Will Need to Un-Mute!

You Will Need to Un-Mute!

In the world of social media there has been a great boom
Not least if we consider the mushrooming of Zoom
It has been the front runner in the digital race
Since it’s no longer easy to meet face to face

Covid-19 has spawned new ways of meeting
For serious talk or just everyday greeting
We can’t get near to each other and have a hug
Accept social distance with a nod and a shrug

But getting linked up has been no easy task
Like trying to speak clearly behind a face mask
First of all we need to download the apps
A procedure fraught with technical traps

Then once we’ve completed necessary boxes
Designed to protect us from scams or from hoaxes
We need to ensure we can make the connection
And the system will not simply offer rejection

At last we will find that Zoom is up and running
Seeing all the faces of contacts can be quite stunning
To achieve this array we hoped that you knew
You have to click straight on to Gallery View

Now it may depend on who is the host
That is the person whose power is the most
But if we hope that we will be able to speak
We will need to master some simple techniques

The most common problem that seems to arise
To seasoned Zoomers this is not a surprise
Peoples’ lips are moving, they look rather cute
But no sound is broadcast because they need to unmute!

So don’t forget when in on-line meetings you are asked to take part
To check the micro-phone icon first is really smart
Thus when on your message you wish to expound
Un-mute yourself first or we can’t hear any sound!

Ken Fisher

Road Map for Life

Road Map for Life

You hear a lot these days
About a ‘Road Map’

Apparently it is a plan or strategy
Intended to achieve
A particular goal
 

So we may have ………

A road map out of lockdown
A road map for your career
A road map for peace
A road map towards independence
A road map towards buying your own home
A road map towards health and wealth

And so it goes on.  Especially ON
As the road moves onwards
So must we!

I don’t know if we can call the AA?
As we used to do when things went
Wrong on the road
But at least we will have
That Map to tell us where to go

Perhaps politicians
like road Maps
Because they suggest that
We are going somewhere
Even if we never quite arrive

Evangelists might hold up
A road map to heaven
The road may be long
But the prize is sublime

Financial advisers
Might dupe you with their road map
Using your money to bring about
Untold riches and ever increasing wealth
For whom? We might ask

Fitness instructors
Will draw up a road map
To bring us back to renewed
Health and energy

Some of these have echoes of the Funeral Plans
Tastefully marketed by the local undertaker!

You get the drift?
In every sphere of human endeavour

But now even the map has been superseded
By the GPS system that not only shows us the way
But tracks our progress every inch

Don’t you long for a world
Where maps can be ignored
Where you simply wander at will
And let the future take care of itself?

And as for all the grandiose plans
Of politicians, planners and pundits
Consign them to the file called ‘fiction’
Which contains all the flights of fancy

Ken Fisher

WFH

WFH 

Working From Home

Victim of this overwhelming pandemic
Of bodily contact we are now rather phobic
Thus the old office spaces are somewhat deserted
And the haven of home has now been converted

Whether by accident or by design
Working From Home is the new paradigm
Computers now parked on kitchen tables
Living room floors enmeshed in cables

For WFH is now commonplace
Domestic commerce we have to embrace
Goodbye fellow travellers on the daily commute
Confined to our house we all must stay put

Of course there are some gains without a doubt
With irritating colleagues we no longer hang out
And overbearing bosses are kept off our backs
Or the office comedian with his feeble wisecracks

But at home it may not always be quite serene
As your eyes become glazed at the flickering screen
If there’s children at home, or a pet that want’s out
There’s bound to be times when you just want to shout

At least at the office you just got on with your work
No domestic distractions that might make you shirk
On the other hand when WFH you feel you are free
To chat to a neighbour, take a fly cup of tea

Anyway as WFH is now part of our life
Let’s hope it doesn’t bring domestic strife
And that our labours at home will bring satisfaction
And the move to home working is affirmative action

Ken Fisher

BoMaD – Bank of Mum and Dad – revisited

BoMaD – Bank of Mum and Dad [Revisited]

Four years ago I penned the verses below
And I thought that by now the challenge might go
But Covid-19 has just made things more acute
On that property ladder to place the first foot

The problem it seems, jobs are no longer secure
That their earning power they cannot ensure
But to get enough mortgage to secure a first home
How on earth can these buyers take on a large loan?

On top of all this, family homes are overcrowded
Parents, by adult offspring, are once again surrounded
The plea we can hear, how can I break free!
Who will help me, this cramped refuge to flee?

…………………………………………

It would appear from press reports that if you’re short of cash
And trying to buy a house without the necessary stash
If you’re getting nowhere with the usual high street lenders
And chances of scaling the property ladder are getting ever slender

Then the best prospect for those who hold such aspirations
Is to maintain accord with your very close relations
Because it seems you will need to bring out that begging bowl
And ask your Mum and Dad if they will kindly you bankroll?

Costs of fleeing the nest seem to forever spiral
House price inflation having gone completely viral
So ‘baby boomer’ parents find that in this world gone mad
The desirable new brand is simply called BOMAD*

And offspring for sure are rarely being coy
As they latch on to this money-seeking ploy
As their elders have gained by rises o’er the years
And their bricks became a goldmine in common with their peers

So watch out all parents if you thought your wealth secure
You can’t ignore the pleadings of your kids who’re oh so poor
Cancel world cruises or a room in that care home
You’ll need to give your progeny more than chromosomes!

Ken Fisher

*BoMaD = Bank of Mum & Dad

Emblem: M&D from Shelter

Original version posted 3 May 2016

 

 

A Valentine For Your Pet

A Valentine for your Pet

 

This is the day to send your good wishes
Accompanied by lots of passionate kisses
Lovers worldwide awaiting the post
For that one letter they hope for the most

That’s all very well for humans to fret
But let’s not forget the love-struck pet
Your moggy might be awaiting a card
And to be left out would be quite hard

So to ensure their pets don’t feel deprived
To include their doggy they have contrived
To send a valentine to that beloved pet
In case their devotion we are inclined to forget

You may think it’s mad to act in this way
But even for pets it’s a significant day
So don’t leave them out of your celebration
They want to be sure of your adoration!

Ken Fisher

S W O T

S W O T

 

No doubt you will have heard of this type of analysis
Intended to ensure no business is caught in paralysis
Strengths and Weaknesses we need to assess
Opportunities and Threats we have to address

But all this sounds like turgid ‘management speak’
Pointless obscure words concealed in mystique
To what does it amount? I hear you ask
Why waste any effort on this pointless task?

Well let’s leave the business world to its own devices
Might the SWOT analysis be for each of us decisive
Measuring our own strengths by a little introspection
Confessing our weaknesses in earnest reflection

Strengths come in a variety of guises
To realise this might provide surprises
Dormant skills and knowledge can be drawn into service
To compensate for weaknesses doing us disservice

Opportunities are the things that help us to advance
Sometimes we discover them as if by chance
But we need not just rely on luck to bring us progress
Exploiting new ideas often the hallmark of success

Finally there are threats – these can scupper our endeavour
But to negative thoughts or consternation we should not surrender
Each danger should be faced in the cool light of day
Problems thoughtfully overcome, we advance on our way

Ken Fisher

Existential Threat

Existential Threat

It is the season of year when thoughts become reflection
The darkness of the days shrouding our hearts in gloom
Musing over life’s purposes in maudlin introspection
A frame of mind where good cheer finds little room

At this time pundits give their prognostications
Experts on the media offer up predictions
What challenges and threats will face the nations
But what is fact and what mere speculation?

This New Year the future may seem bleak indeed
Ominous forecasts of the effects of climate change
Our confidence and hope now rapidly recedes
A dark and fear-filled abyss offered in exchange

Melting ice, rising tides, infernos fiercely blazing
Islands swamped, tornados wreak destruction
Forest fires whole communities thus razing
Advancing flames defeating all obstructions

And other threats to settled life, even our existence
Skulk on the landscape whose horizon we now scan
Consciousness filled with angst at their staunch persistence
Against the life of every woman and of man

From whence comes these other threats existential?
We thought the Cold War had become past history
But nuclear war by accident or design is once more potential
Led by zealots or by fools, determined to seek victory

Cyber crime has suddenly become a feature of our life
In times past straightforward fraud was for us sufficient
But nowadays not just theft but social media strife
Executed by perpetrators highly efficient

Centuries ago Rev Thomas Malthus warned of expanding population
He claimed that too many people would lead only to starvation
In modern times, family sizes fell in industrial nations
But elsewhere in our world today we see no limit on creation

And rightfully, many people aspire to improve the quality of living
So they seek refuge in other lands to find a better way
In this endeavour they face dangers unforgiving
The desire of their heart may never see the light of day

All this presents an outlook that offers little cheer
Is there no nostrum that might this angst assuage?
Must our hearts be filled with anxiety and fear
What remedy or cure might our minds persuade?

I think the best thought I can offer is that we must not despair
Trust in the human spirit that goodness might prevail
That collectively for each-other we might truly care
As on these global problems together we assail

Ken Fisher

Black Friday 2019

Black Friday 2019

Black Friday is about to dawn
Indeed it seems never to have gone
This mad scramble for bargains
Provokes wrestling matches in shopping malls
And melt-down on computer networks
As search engines and eager bargain-hunters
Hit the town centres and the web browsers

I wonder if this whole exercise has some cathartic purpose?
Pent-up emotions being released in some orgasmic frenzy
But who stirred up the desire in the first place?
Did we harbour some deep repressed longing to buy, buy, buy
Or was it the wiles and blandishments of the advertisers
On behalf of the retailers in their constant quest for profit
Who ensured that we would not remain lethargic

Well whoever is to blame, ourselves or the market place
We are assured that Friday will produce record-breaking turnover
Shops may be crammed with customers
And the on-line trade will ensure the white-van army
Of delivery agents will shift the goods from anonymous
Warehouses up and down the land, to your door and mine
And we will react in Pavlovian style at the ring on our door bell!

And this year when traditional retailers seem under threat
Perhaps this annual rugby scrum of hungry consumers
Will bring comfort to those who our high streets would save
Remind the great shopping public that the internet offers no
Tactile experience as they wrest coveted goods from fellow buyers
Let’s hope it might renew interest in the whole shopping experience
Heralding a rebirth as we celebrate traditional Nativity

And with a General Election looming only days away
Perhaps we will embrace the schadenfreude of Black Friday
As a distraction from thoughts of frustration and foreboding
When we contemplate the battle at the polls
Where the chances of one victorious party seem obscure
But hey-ho life goes on, and so must we!

 

 

Happy Christmas
Happy shopping!

Ken Fisher

The Charms of Apple OS 10 Catalina

Unknown

I have downloaded Catalina which at first gave me quite a shock
I thought I had ruined my computer as it appeared to be in deadlock
Perhaps it was unfamiliar with the internal working of my old machine
But its initial response to my promptings was if anything not at all keen

But I persevered with my efforts and gradually it seemed to respond
But I did at the start suspect that all my saved data might quickly abscond
The problem I find with Catalina is that she prefers her own special ways
So that it looks as if mastery of the machine will take me many long days

But there is no doubt this new software will reveal her manifold charms
And if I just learn to tread softly I might avoid the need for alarms
I had soon to discover how my data now flies up to the cloud
With a will of its own it does this and doesn’t ask it that’s allowed

Anyway  thank-you to the Apple inventors who design this super software
I am sure they mean to be helpful and never our progress impair
In the meantime I will keep up the practice and gain some more expertise
And instead of being scared of the system I might learn to use it with ease

Ken Fisher

Honour Bound

Honour Bound

“The louder he talked of his honour, the faster I counted my spoons”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Why sir, when he leaves our house , the faster I count my spoons”
Dr Samuel Johnson

 

 

Have you ever felt that protestations of honour
and integrity may sometimes smack of hypocrisy?
There is a long list of suspects whom we might accuse
From the “ Trusted Trader” to the Priest in the confessional

Indeed many of us have become case-hardened
To the blandishments of car salesmen and estate agents
Borne out of our discovery that descriptions
Were a distant echo of reality

Some people we may be more willing to trust
Nurses and judges – even if they are sometimes fallible
But journalists and, above all, politicians
Often deemed to be low on the reputational pile

But modern capitalist society relies on trust
At the very heart of its enterprise
Trust in the making and executing of contracts
Trust in the banking and credit systems

And although we may rile against
The pettifogging of Health and Safety rules
We nonetheless trust that our house will not collapse
Or our tumble drier ignite

Being honour bound is more than chivalry
To a damsel in distress
It is more than protecting our household
From the theft of spoons!

They say there is honour among thieves
This may be so,  but we do not have to
Commit larceny to gain honour
Just try honesty

Honour must be at the very heart
Of all our dealings with one another
Whether in commerce, in employment
Even in the intimate relationships of our family circle

So let’s not abandon honour
As expressed in our determination
to be trustworthy
In all our words and deeds and dealings

Ken Fisher

[This poem is based on ideas taken from an article
by Anthony Hilton in the Governance and Compliance Magazine
October 2019]