Harvest Thanksgiving

Harvest Thanksgiving

I wonder if anyone, other than farmers, gives thanks
For the in-gathering of the harvest?
Yet it is that time of year again when churchgoers
Are reminded to be grateful for the yield of the earth
Perhaps we are so removed from it that pumpkins or pineapples
Flown in from China and Colombia don’t have the same impact

But we do realise that we all have to eat and it doesn’t
Materialize by magic on to supermarket shelves
Like sanitized meat portions of which we decline
To enquire further of their provenance, so too with the
Fruit and vegetables and everything else we consume
Our only thanksgiving is by paying the price demanded

Of course in the background we are aware that
all this is not achieved without multiple efforts –  physical,
logistical, technical and political – perhaps spiritual
if we credit God with any participation
And this may introduce a moral dimension as we consider
Climate change, migrant workers, and fair trade, even Brexit!

Of course our problem is that for most of us
We are remote from ever getting our fingers dirty
By the soil, or raising a sweat by physical labour
Perhaps our greatest suffering is backache caused by
Squinting at computer screens, and frustration
At slow down-load speeds and threats of hacking

And yet economists will tell us that all our efforts
contribute to the national ‘harvest’. Whether simply the classical
Factors of production – land, labour and capital
Or the new ‘knowledge economy’ which seems
To conjure wealth from mere ideas
And in the future will there be thanksgiving for
the robots who will take our work?

Ken Fisher

Fallen Leaves

Fallen Leaves

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Autumn’s going, the fallen leaves a trampled carpet on the ground
Emblems of life’s cycle nearing completion, shrivelled, withered, neglected
The naked branches of the trees look down on their abandoned offspring
In dormancy they hibernate awaiting Spring’s promise of new buds

As the years pass, so too with our lives, the fruit of our days
Eventually fades, a forlorn legacy of all our endeavours
The outcome of our activity becomes a clouded memory
The effluxion of time makes history of all our deeds

But we cannot deny this natural process, the eternal round
Of birth and life and ageing and death, eventually oblivion
All we can hope for is that, just as the leaves festooned the trees
So too our labours may have yielded fruit in our own time

Enough therefore that we accept the inevitability of decline
Not losing compassion amidst the passing of the years
And in due time face ageing with a gracious heart
And like fallen leaves accept that in our ‘ending is our beginning’

Ken Fisher

Autumn Fruits

Autumn Fruits

[Newly harvested from our garden]

 

Caressed by raindrops
Chilled by winter frosts
Kissed by sunbeams
Cooled by gentle breezes
Coaxed to maturity

Month by month
From bud to fruit
Bramleys burgeon
Until they can no longer
Defy gravity

And their goodness
Cascades down on us
To titillate the palate
In tasty tarts and
And crunchy apple crumble

Such joy!

Ken Fisher

 

 

September Moon

September Moon

September moon shines brightly in the sky
Heralding that Autumn time is nigh
Harbinger of harvest’s bounteous yield
From farmers’ labours in extensive fields

Moonlight illuminates the ripened crops
Nurtured by sun’s rays and soft raindrops
Then daybreak signals time to gather in
The just reward that their sore efforts win
 

Ken Fisher

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

[Monday 21 August 2017]

As we look up towards the skies
[And don’t forget to shield your eyes]
The moon will block light from the Sun
As its shadow will our globe o’er run

Not everyone will be in shade
So you need not really be afraid
But parts of the U S A
Will find that night replaces day

I think that those who will be in shadow
Won’t miss the daylight they must forego
Because if they observe with care
They might catch the Sun’s coronal glare

I suppose there is a kind of magic
To experience this shade fantastic
And all fear of the dark will be dispersed
As in the gloom they are immersed

Eclipses make us all aware
Of other objects ‘way out there
And just as shadows cross our path
We should not let them prompt our wrath

For the moon’s shadow will progress
Renewed light will its power repress
And in due time the sun’s bright rays
Will penetrate another day

Ken Fisher

Auld Claes and Parritch

Auld Claes and Parritch

 

Like all good things, it must come to an end
And there is no chance that it will extend
I mean those joyous six weeks of school holidays
When all thoughts of work just turn to play

Of course not everyone enjoys the interlude
But for most this break can change our attitude
Free from normal routine with its constraints
Most say that they have no complaints

Globe-trotters will have travelled to sunny shores
Others have found elsewhere to explore
For many it will have given a welcome space
Some new experience, new joys to embrace

Scholars may have studied and learned many facts
Others, perhaps more wisely, just took time to relax
Parents seeking with their kids a closer bond
While free spirits might have been tempted to abscond!

Holidays should have provided time to reflect
On aspects of living we tend to neglect
An opportunity to refocus and plan ahead
These weeks may even have been a watershed

So whatever the outcome of the annual vacation
Exotic overseas adventures or humbler staycation
Whether life enhancing or perhaps even menacing
Its approaching conclusion is often unsettling

But for most of us auld claes and parritch is the diet we face
Perhaps we simply yearn for the commonplace
‘Cause notwithstanding all the excitement and thrill
The ordered life, the common task, does yet fulfil

 

Ken Fisher

Golden Glow

Golden Glow

[On a sunny July day]

Sunlight’s golden glow
Accosts our sleepy eyes as we awake
Dawn’s shadows scattered
By the radiance from the east

The prospect of a sun-filled day
Fills us with anticipation
Active hours in the great outdoors
Or lazy languishing in some shady arbour

Our spirits lifted by the vaulted sky
Azure blue with tiny wispy clouds
Flowers standing proud and tall
Bees teasing their alluring petals

All’s well with the world
As temperature mounts towards noon
No place to be out abroad in such heat
Siesta time surely has been called

From its apex the sun tips gently downwards
But still much joy in parks and gardens
As tiny tots cavort in paddling pools
And barbecue sets called into service

Throughout the afternoon’s long sun-filled moments
Absorbed in a novel’s world of imagination
Or transported by some majestic symphony
Brought to our senses by head-phones

Gradually the sun inclines toward the west
Daytime pleasures stretched into twilight
The glasses shared bring greater conviviality
Until the chill of dusk chimes benediction

Ken Fisher

The Cicada

The Cicada

[A model in ceramics]

I have often thought that this resounding vibration
Was produced by some birds having an altercation
But when travelling on a recent holiday abroad
We were subjected to the noise that cannot be ignored

I am referring to those all-pervading continental insects
Engulfing the plane trees, making such noise to great effect
As they suck the sap which seems them to intoxicate
The males produce a high-pitched drone, all other sounds to dominate

The noise seems to increase as the temperature rises
And the fact they are seen as a pest does not surprise us
But in nature every creature no doubt has some purpose
And if we don’t bother them. Surely they will not hurt us

Apparently the “singing” of the male cicada is not stridulation
typical of the cricket, but rather a different kind of resonant vibration
By contraction of its muscles it produces those loud clicks
Thus commanding all the world around to be transfixed

One wonders if they would not by and by desist
But for hours on end they continue to persist
And eventually the clicks become as background music
A little less pervasive, if not completely muted

The cicada has been immortalized in local folklore
In French Provence it is difficult to ignore
And models in ceramics are now a major feature
Thus runs the fame of this noisy little creature

Ken Fisher

Approaching the End of the School Term

Approaching the End of the School Term

Towards the end of June we approach the close of the Scottish Schools’ term
This time frame must produce mixed feelings for pupils, teachers, and parents
Relief for the teachers once all the marking and assessing are processed
Release anticipated by the pupils as they exit the school gates
Concern in the parents as to how their offspring have done
And also the perennial problem of child minding in the long break

Of course it is true to say that most kids today do go away, at least for some time
Whether on holiday with family and friends – and many of these are overseas vacations
to destinations that earlier cohorts could only dream of
In fact in common with many others of my generation the Scout Camp
At Crieff or Moffat was our most exotic prospect – ten days under leaking canvas!
Still, we survived (the midges) and were not subjected to the temptations of Magaluf

I suppose there is a sense of life in transition at this time
Some moving from Primary up to the ‘big school’ with all its unknowns
For others the prospect of progressing to college or university
In the hope of training for an uncertain future ‘career’
And teachers wish their charges all the best for whatever lies ahead
No matter they are inwardly glad to be seeing the backs of some!

And for all, pupils, parents, teachers, and those connected to them
A sudden increasing awareness of the very transitory nature of life
Perhaps even more so in this modern age where everything seems
Somewhat provisional.   The old certainties swept away
In jobs, in marriage and relationships, in housing, in the economy, even faith

Perhaps we no longer live under the shadow of the 1960’s Cold War
But do we feel secure as the schools are out – how can we feel calm?

Ken Fisher

Summer Solstice 2017

Summer Solstice 2017

A glimpse of sunshine warms our heart
Flowers and leaves reflect the light
The gentle rays caress our brow
Our lips widen with a smile

For now the daytime stretches out
Filling each hour with gentle light
Dark days of winter long forgot
We rejoice in life outdoors

From this ‘crows nest’ of the year
We scan the horizon fore and aft
Behind long hours of winter gloom
Then spring pregnant with promise

But this year we feel melancholic
Mood saddened by tragic events
We pause at this solstice moment
Praying that fortune may have turned

Ahead the prospect of summer warmth
And autumn’s gold and russet tints
But winter’s spectre lurks beyond
Vaguely threatening summer’s calm

Ken Fisher

For Father’s Day

For Father’s Day

Father’s day has come round once more
The shops are filled with cards galore
It’s time to think of poor old dad
An occasion when we should be glad

‘Cause Dads don’t always get best press
And maybe they fail, we must confess
But most Dads do their very best
When often they are quite hard pressed

Sometimes these days it’s sad to say
The Dad has had to be away
Family problems causing separation
And Dad might well feel desperation

Thank goodness many Dads are still around
Shared parenting can still be found
And along with Mum they are a team
Ensuring for all a great regime

But what e’r may be the situation
Let us today make affirmation
That Dads do matter, we believe
Give thanks for all that they achieve

So let’s ensure this Father’s Day
We take some time to loudly say
We love you Dad, we won’t be shy
To tell you, you’re a real great guy!

Ken Fisher

 

The Bee

The Bee

 

We have a lot to learn from the humble bee
Who works ever so hard for you and me
Their principal role is pollination
Which is vital to the crops that feed our nation

Most of the bees are social creatures
Being together is a quite distinct feature
Up to 50 thousand Honey bees inside a hive
It’s amazing they all manage to stay alive

Bumble bees also like to congregate
But apparently they want a bit more space
So we find about 150 under their roof
Perhaps they prefer to be somewhat aloof

Both types of bees depend on their Queen
Who lays all the eggs, this seems rather obscene
But thanks to the efforts of that sovereign so fertile
All that hard work of the drones is not futile

Indeed I am told that one third of all the food that we eat
Relies on the pollination of bees – that’s surely some feat
One out of every three bites that we munch
Is thanks to the bees – if we lose them, then comes the crunch!

So my message is this, if you hear a bee’s buzz
Don’t be tempted to create undue fuss
For on that bee depends your food supply
Better it lives to ensure you don’t die!

Ken Fisher