Hail to the (new) Chief

Hail to the (new) Chief

 

The trumpet sounds across the pond
Echoes redound far beyond
The world’s eyes focus on the States
As relieved citizens inaugurate

A new regime is ushered in
A different era thus begins
Farewell to number forty-five
Forty-six will surely strive

To bring health amidst so much distress
Renewed concord to express
Bind up the wounds of four years passed
Speeches that would flabbergast

Let the tone be moderation
Action to unite the nations
Amidst a world beset with strife
Policies to enhance all lives

Hail to the Chief on this great day
May you be blessed, come what may
Expectantly the world awaits
Direction from United States

Ken Fisher

What does It Matter – Now?

What Does it Matter – Now?

 

What does it matter if you failed to win prizes
And never achieved even modest success
If your daily life produced no surprises
Few are the assets that you now possess

What does it matter if you gained no promotion
While others soared up to the giddy heights
You’re never aspired to swim the wide ocean
Or with the astronauts take a space flight

What does it matter if your artistic talent
Rarely succeeded the audience to thrill
No masterpiece came from your colour palette
No musical charms from your keyboard skills

What does it matter if you had no literary flair
Writing and poetry not your natural gift
Turgid plots, obscure verses simply made you despair
And to operatic arias you gave short shrift

What does it matter if you struggled with maths
History and geography left you equally cold
Failed to conquer science’s complex paths
And foreign grammar left you appalled

What does it matter if you never were famous
You didn’t progress to a dazzling career
People might claim you were rather aimless
A somewhat boring existence from year to year

Well this litany seems a little depressing
Life does matter, and we all must strive
To make the most of our gifts and our blessings
Above all the gift of this wonderful life

And we should not offer this lame excuse
That nothing matters in life when surely it must
Because we know in our heart that this is the truth
And to defect from that fact is a breach of our trust

Yes, it does matter, as we value each day
The moment provides us the opportunity
In small acts of love, and kind words we say
Together to build true community

And especially now in this pandemic year
As we mourn the loss of a settled past
Grant us the courage to set aside fear
Hold hope in our hearts to remain steadfast

Ken Fisher

Thinking

Thinking

 

Thinking
Blessing or curse, this cerebral faculty?
That power of reasoning
Taking us beyond other sentient beings
Imagination opening vistas of joy
Or reminiscence of past nightmares

Thinking
Granting us the capacity to calculate
To build models of reality in our head
Perception prompting motivation
Cogitation before engagement
Reflection after commitment

Thinking
That power to recall fond memories
Of family life with all its blessings and burdens
Of working life with all its strivings and frustrations
Of social life enhanced by common interest
Of spiritual life and the domain of contemplation

Thinking
Domicile of the theoretical
Habitation of the speculative
Residence of abstract thought
Cathedral for religion
Library for literature

Thinking
The arbiter of mental well-being
The warder of imprisoning phobias
But also the herald of anticipation
The lovers’ beating hearts
Visions of united bliss

Thinking
Blessing or curse, this cerebral faculty?
Vanquished only by dementia or death
In life, no escape from thought
Neither sleep nor meditation
Can purge us of this turbulent force

Ken Fisher

Rhetoric, Spin and Bluff

Rhetoric, Spin and Bluff

Rhetoric, spin and bluff
The stock-in-trade of politicians
Do they really think we will be convinced
By their spurious arguments, distorted statistics
And biodegradable promises of utopia?

It doesn’t seem to matter whether their
Pronouncements are made during the hustings
At the Party Conference, or in a duel on TV
With arrogant political journalists
Determined to draw blood

Why cannot political animals
Ever depart from the Party line?
Are they standing on the brink of deselection
If they were to concede any good in the opposition
Turn their back on received dogma

As Maggie said U turn if you like
“The lady is not for turning”
Thus setting the standard of orthodoxy
Intransigence the greatest virtue
Open mindedness mere surrender

But sometimes ‘events’ are overwhelming
U turns become the necessary fashion
Even di rigueur in times of crisis
And then rhetoric, spin and bluff
Employed in instant justification

Perhaps this sophistry is not
The sole province of parliamentarians
Preachers too, when cornered by the awkward question
Quickly resort to formulaic responses
To justify God’s unexplained absence!

And maybe we are all just the same
We use rhetoric to pump up modest achievements
Spin to explain why you must buy the latest toy or gizmo
And bluff, disguising a brand of white lies
When we are really strangers to the truth

Ken Fisher

God Surprises Earth With Heaven (for Christmas Day 2020)

“God surprises earth with heaven
Coming here on Christmas Day”
[Iona Community Carol]

God comes in a surprising way
As we awake on Christmas Day
He comes the gift we don’t expect
No more commanding our respect
We’ve grown world weary, cynical
Incredulous of any miracle
How can the gift of the Christ Child
Make God and man be reconciled?
Only in humble trust and expectation
For pride and conceit make expiation
Grasp the hand from God above
Here below, show forth his love
Thus heaven surprises here on earth
Confounded by an infant’s birth

Ken Fisher

An Alternate Path – by Oliver Fisher

An Alternate Path by Oliver Fisher

What if some how? Could you see
A different side, of what could be.
A separate road with roots the same
But wind and time have lost its name

And time and choice will testify
This is the path. Its dest-deny
But out afar, on fields of plains
You are playing different games

If I wasn’t so, then you would be
And we would be. If we were so
But I wasn’t and now I am and you are you
I fantasise.

Long lost prophecies, which soothsayers
Swore to be true. But my hands bear the scars of a player, not a winner.
I realise.

Our winding roads may meet again
To tangle and mix and dilute again
For now I forget you exist again
You are you and I am me again.

Remembrance 2020

Remembrance 2020

[Posted on Remembrance Sunday 2020
in an anxious yet hopeful world
facing huge challenges of political uncertainty,
threats from a global pandemic and climate change]

P1040594

Today is 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!
But presently, although we hope our future might stretch for decades,
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

Mythology and Reality

Mythology & Reality

Throughout history mankind has tried to make some sense
To tell the truth devoid of all pretence
Of how it all began from times primordial
In terms poetic or proverbial

Creation myths common and widespread
Arose from stirrings in the head
As humans exercised their mind
From whence came life and humankind?

How did it all begin they mused?
By divers notions thoughts confused
Who or what was the prime mover?
Their earnest hope this might discover

Each ancient civilisation in its time
Sought for some guide, some paradigm
By which they could make sense of their existence
And found in folk tales great persistence

Thus venerable beings the status of Gods attained
Over kingdoms and empires they did reign
Powers without end held in their hand
All lesser mortals subject to their command

Throughout the world creation myths evolved
The Greeks, Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Norse all involved
Chinese, Indian, African, indeed throughout the globe
These existential issues thinkers probed

Within the Judaeo-Christian tradition the Genesis story is foundational
In these hallowed verses on creation so inspirational
We are told of the uniqueness of God in creation
And the depth of man’s fall and need for salvation

These early Bible chapters allegorical
Whose language, revered and rhetorical
Mythical but for some quite literal
Formed the basis of their faith canonical

But how might myth and reality be reconciled?
Perhaps the modern mind by science beguiled
Need science and myth always stand in opposition?
Must one view dominate, the other concede submission

I think perhaps best not be too dogmatic
Neither sphere regarded epigrammatic
Let myth provide the nuanced view of history
Science bring reality to mystery

Ken Fisher

A Rock and A Hard Place

A Rock and a Hard Place

‘In Greek mythology, Homer’s Odyssey tells of Odysseus being
trapped between a treacherous whirlpool and cliff dwelling
man-eating monster’

I wonder if you feel you are trapped
By life’s forces been kidnapped
No clear road out, which way to turn?
Resolution you cannot discern

Prisoners all of this lock-down
Little wonder we wear a frown
Horizons mightily reduced
By isolation thus seduced

Would that we could break free
And from these bonds could flee
Casting aside all that would restrain
And liberty regain

But rocks are unforgiving
Hard places confine living
Acceptance we must learn
Our burdens must be borne

But time’s progress will bring change
Freedom for the cell exchange
Chastened by our plight
Emerge into brightening light

Ken Fisher

Algorithm

Algorithm

An algorithm as our route map to life?
As if every situation we meet
Is as simple as a T junction
Left or right – no in between

You might use
A robust algorithm for furniture selection
For buying a replacement light bulb
To choose a new insurance provider
For checking if it’s your turn to put out the bins!

As long as you can reduce every decision
To a straightforward binary choice
Yes or No, greater than or less than
If only one option of two leads on to another
You are directed down that route

Thus quite complicated situations
Are reduced to a series of logical steps
Ideal when performing calculations
Automated reasoning, data processing
Problems tackled in short coherent stages

But algorithms are now in the political arena
Blamed for the recent exam results debacle
What happens when the algorithm
For all its logic, doesn’t give the desired out-come?
Of course we scrap it

And resort to human sophistry
To bring us the result
That is expedient
That’s the realpolitik
Of modern life

Perhaps unsurprising in the midst of a pandemic

Ken Fisher

Post Truth Society

Post Truth Society

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 designed 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

Ken Fisher

Socrates & Dionysus

Socrates & Dionysus

The unexamined life is not worth living
Socrates

To make your life worth living
Let’s have it examined!
Put it to the test
An MOT about me

Check for Virtue
The greatest good in life
The best of all possessions
Happiness guaranteed!

But not quite
Poor Socrates
Indicted for corrupting youth
Exit by the Hemlock door

But for Dionysus no introspection
No MOT needed
The examined life just withers
Under the microscope

Living is life
And life is for living
Be released from the bondage
Of prudence, caution and temperance

So wherein lies the truth?
The philosophers’ favourite poser!
Don’t expect a simple answer
Just get a life – put the examination
On hold

Ken Fisher