Buy NONE Get One Free

Buy NONE Get One Free

Never mind those offers that say ‘Buy One Get One Free!’
Here’s something better which you really have to see
In this case you are placed under no real obligation
To entitle you to claim your free remuneration

Most of us are cynics and find it hard to believe
It sounds as if someone seeks the public to deceive
In these hard times surely we can get zilch for nothing
Clearly we expect to pay in return for something

In the tough world of commerce all things have their price
And often to acquire them we must sacrifice
It may take a lifetime for us to acquire
The countless cravings which are now our heart’s desire

Perhaps that is the problem, the endless stream of wants
We try to suppress them but still our mind they haunt
Of course we must strive our daily life to sustain
And those of our dependents we also must maintain

And thus the quest to maximize our gain
Achieve satisfaction yet minimize the pain
So what is this gift that comes completely free
No necessary purchase, no expensive fee?

Well the answer comes from an unlikely source
One perhaps long forgotten along life’s winding course
At the heart of the Bible’s message, God’s grace is offered free
This is the saving power quite free to you and me

Like me, you may think this an old fashioned claim to make
Maybe you’re too case-hardened this free offer to take
But perhaps we simply need to learn to accept it at its word
And in trust we may discover that it’s really not absurd

Ken Fisher

 

See Also: BOGOF

 

Christmas Gifts (2017)

Christmas Gifts (2017)

The Three Wise Men – is it them we should blame?
For starting this craze which can drive us insane
Each Christmas demands that we spend so much cash
As in our giving we are ever more rash

We know that it’s time that we all took a stance
And tried to control this needless expense
But somehow it seems we cannot reduce
As the desire to give still seems to seduce

We feel that it’s good to be kind to our friends
So to one and all our largesse extends
But we know that deep down their love can’t be bought
And much reckless spending is really for nought

And now it is easier than ever to spend
As some claim on-line shopping is such a godsend
But the real gift of God was his only Son
Who come down to our world, a gift to each one

So why don’t we reflect as did those Wise Men
Who sought out the Infant in far Bethlehem?
That gifts are mere symbols of their adoration
As to that Baby they bent in prostration

Now, as long ago, we need only one gift
As we too our faces to Jesus uplift
Just hearts filled with love for God and for man
Reflecting that glory whenever we can

Ken Fisher

 

A Christmas Carol for Party People [2017]

A Christmas Carol for Party People [2017]

[A new version of a poem posted at Christmas time in the last two years]

[Sing this to the tune of ‘Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown’]

We left God alone with his throne and his crown
For we had little time to spare
We were too busy spending our hard earned cash
Buying gifts and grooming our hair
For it’s party time and let’s just be rash
As we’re all heading off to town

But then someone reminds us of that stable bare
With the Holy Child in the manger
And the ox and ass and wise men three
Then we thought of those living in danger
The sick and the poor and the refugee
And all those deserving our care

So that Baby of old and the twinkling star
Tells of God’s great love which came
Into the world to save souls in their need
By kindling that tender flame
So come dear Lord wipe out all our greed
With the warmth from that stable afar

God never says no when we celebrate
He is happy to rejoice with us all
So give thanks to God who loves each of us
He too will come to the ball
So come dear Lord, we won’t make a fuss
As again you with us incarnate

Ken Fisher

The Bible – A Guide to Life?

The Bible – A Guide to Life?

[A sonnet]

 

What is this tome revered from ancient days?
The story of mankind from Eden’s primal dawn
Law given to the tribes to guide them in their ways
God’s presence near at hand, at times withdrawn
Lives of Kings and patriots, prophets even slaves
Warfare, division and internecine strife
Trials by famine, pestilence and plague
Under God’s burning sun they lived out life
Tales of heroes, giant killers, suffering servants
We discover all that reflects humanity’s condition
Flawed leaders, faithful women, righteous peasants
God’s provision, eternal love, abiding protection
In testaments old and new His dealings are revealed
Breach between creator and created is thus healed

Ken Fisher

History

History – ‘Just One Damned Thing After Another’

It was apparently Henry Ford who sagely declared
That “History was just one damned thing after another”
And I don’t think there is any way we can refute that
Because we think of history as moving with time

At school we were sometimes told that Geography is about Maps
And History was about Chaps
(Ignoring the enormous contribution of the female sex)
Anyway History is generally expressed as a reflexion of  peoples’ lives

Of course the timespan of human existence in terms of
The whole history of  the earth is limited to perhaps
About 200,000 years, and we don’t know much
Of the story of the very earliest chaps

But nonetheless it is a long time from 200,000 years ago
To our present day – a very large historical tome
would be needed to tell that story
And perhaps a little boring – let’s try it on Facebook!

But what did Henry Ford mean by just one damned thing?
It sounds as if he had a troublesome life
Well he was a brilliant engineering innovator
And his problems were more with the unions than engines

Anyway Ford, in using the epithet about History
Seems to me to have succinctly summed up
The nature of life and living down the centuries
Never easy for the human spirit, but triumphing through it all

But I wonder if we ourselves would put such a negative judgment
on our view of history. Some might prefer to say it was the constant
march of progress* down the years from the darkness of ignorance
and superstition to the light of knowledge and rationality

But this seems to overlook an endless succession of really damnable things!

Ken Fisher

  • Interestingly, I read that Marx took from Hegel the sense that
    progress is inevitable, and that history has a pattern and is 
    not just one thing after another.

Remembrance 2017

Remembrance 2017

A similar poem was posted at this time last year.
We hope that despite the restlessness among the nations
 we might still remain grateful for the past and
optimistic about the future
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

Revolution [On the centennial of the Russian Revolution 1917]

Revolution

Today marks the centennial of the end of the
Russian Revolution – November 7th 1917

 When we sit cosily at home with our tea and scone
It seems incredible that peace might be overthrown
And in a world where communication is so all pervasive
Where words rather than weapons might be persuasive

Revolution implies the forcible ousting of government
By those who demand a new empowerment
That the existing order of society be cast aside
Usurped by a sea-change taken at high tide

Countries great and small lived through revolution
Accompanied by bloodshed and much persecution
In France, America, Cuba, and nation states world wide
Sometimes united in the cause, often fraught by genocide

Even today the  modern world of nations remains fractious
Made unstable by nationalism and diverse political factions
While adherence to religion still exerts a powerful force
Sometimes engendering unity, at others internecine divorce

So while we recall historic events of those days long past
Our plea is that our own fragile peace might last
That somehow the peoples of our divided lands
Might reach out to one another with open hands

It should not be beyond our wit to achieve an abiding solution
Which avoids the last resort of bloody revolution
That justice and equity be achieved without upheaval
A fairer society where all are treated equal

Ken Fisher

As a Revolutionary, Guy Fawkes was Relatively Tame (2017 version)

As a Revolutionary Guy Fawkes Was Relatively Tame!

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Who can doubt the treachery of Guy Fawkes in days of yore
As audacious as any revolt that had come before
To kill King James and those then sitting in Parliament
Was the purpose on which these bold plotters were bent

But the plotters were ‘foxed’ when the cellars were checked
And their malicious intentions did not go unchecked
Thus failed the plan to divert history’s direction
With the death of those who foment disaffection

Fast forward from those events of 1605
The desire for reform is still much alive
Perhaps gunpowder no longer the agent of change
Other forces at play can  our lives rearrange

Politics, the modern weapon whereby changes are wrought
Citizens express their desires through the ballot box
So elections now ignite the volatile spark
Resulting in changes that may be quite stark

The referenda can trigger demands quite explosive
As feelings are stirred making tempers emotive
Demands for freedom from the yoke of the oppressor
Those perceived of our rights to have been the transgressor

And so on the  European Question there was little doubt
Deeply divided opinion on whether IN or OUT
Brexit is bound to bring far-reaching change
Who yet knows if these will be losses or gains?

While at this time of year Guy Fawkes may be fondly recalled
By contemporary scandals we are not quite so enthralled!
But one thing is sure, changes will come, and we’ll have to cope
So keep your powder dry and don’t give up hope

It is odd to reflect that the prestige of Westminster
May be tarnished by the new sobriquet ‘sexminster’
Let’s hope MPs can revert to propriety
And I don’t simply mean maintaining sobriety!

Ken Fisher

The Party Conference

The Party Conference

Have you noticed how the political party conferences
Have all the hallmarks of an old fashioned religious rally?

Speakers are primed to maximise the hype
And minimize the problems of every party policy
Prospects of a new utopia are revealed
To an expectant audience, eagerly receptive

Like seasoned preachers playing with the emotions
Slogans substitute for well-loved Bible texts
The committed are encouraged to have implicit faith
In the party apparatchiks, like disciples of old

The conferences are rallying points for the likeminded
But that is not to say there is never dissent
For sometimes festering internal disputes
Can be aired and wounds inflicted in internecine strife

And of course the press and media tribe run riot
Picking fights with politicians and holes in every pledge
Demonstrating virility in unbridled antagonism
All in the name of greater awareness and public accountability

But the dominant theme of the party conference
Is unity of aspiration, solidarity in action,
Determination to defeat the opposition
And ultimate triumph of the common purpose

After all is said and done, the aim is
To ensure that the delegates go forth
Single-minded, convinced of the virtue of their cause
And determined to manifest their version of a better world

Ken Fisher

 

Freedom (for National Poetry Day 2017)

Freedom (for National Poetry Day 2017)

On this the national poetry day, Freedom is the theme
For many this is our reality, for others just a dream
Although no-one lives without limit or constraint
Our bonds and strictures bring no real ground for complaint

Freedom is a high ideal, a noble aspiration
Of democracy it is judged to be the very firm foundation
As with egality and fraternity, three virtues fundamental
In pursuit of good governance these are elemental

But not only in lofty ideals and concepts philosophical
Freedom matters to us in things mundane and practical
The liberty to go where and when we please
To choose to work and how to take our ease

Freedom of speech, to declare the truth, express our own opinion
Whether the highest authority or a simple humble minion
Freedom to worship, to assemble together, to move about the land
All forms of slavery or coercion we always should withstand

But in pursuit of this worthy paradigm we must remain alert
In defending our freedom, the rights of others we ne’er should subvert
Because true liberty demands mutual love and respect
Only thus can we aspire our fragile freedom to protect

Ken Fisher

 

The Anarchic Grace of Christ

The Anarchic Grace of Christ

[Based on Luke 15 vv 11-32 – the parable of the Prodigal Son]

imgres-1

It isn’t fair, we all must pay our dues,
And each must play their part!
It’s not for us to pick and choose
From our obligations to depart

That’s the only way the world can work
Each one of us prepared to strive
No room for those who’d rather shirk
All together, that’s how we can survive

Of course there are always those who won’t conform
Like the younger son, they break away
Don’t tie him down, just let him roam
From hearth and home that lad would stray

And in many days of feasting he did joyously revel
Kept by his goodly share of the paternal inheritance
Courting with the pleasures of the flesh and of the devil
Offering no apology, no excuse, and no defence

But in due time that decadent life began to pall
His funds diminished, his joy somewhat less intense
And then his former settled life he fondly did recall
Thoughts turned to home, and comfort it seemed to make such sense

And yet he knew he had no right forgiveness to expect
His father and his brother in duty still steadfast
He deserved so very little and him they should reject
Why wipe away the sinfulness of those wayward years now past?

But on arriving near his home to his very great surprise
The dissident young brother saw his father open-armed
To welcome back that younger son as if he’d won a prize
But elder son, resentful, was anything but charmed

We all know this story of the prodigal who once was lost in vice
And making sense of such free pardon is somewhat problematic
How to explain this forgiveness but for the anarchic grace of Christ
An unmerited gift so full, so free, and so dramatic

When in our resentment we ask whither ethics or the law?
Surely love alone too simple to salve our every woe?
Our inward eye might open, and discern not one without a flaw
By God’s good grace, forgiveness He doth on each bestow

Ken Fisher

[This poem was read at the morning service at Hillhead Baptist Church
at the Hilton Grosvenor Glasgow on Sunday 23 July 2017]

 

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

Say What You Mean and Mean What you Say

 

I wonder how often you use an expression
With words which merely give an impression
Of what you really intended to say
And thus the whole truth it will often betray

In order to soften the harsh words we intended
Of some painful truth that would leave you offended
We find an alternative choice of words
As we are so scared of inflicting such hurt?

Politicians and lawyers are adept at this ruse
Although quite often it will their hearers confuse
So if asked when to a problem they will they find a solution
Their response seems impenetrable circumlocution

If they see themselves drawn into a limited space
By a challenge which might force them to lose face
They will blur the issue by the use of ‘soft focus’
Avoiding the truth, hoping you will not notice

Metaphor and simile are two of their friends
Thus they define things with a ‘distorting lens’
Nothing is described in the true light of day
And your misunderstanding can be washed away

In the modern world I have detected a trend
To use technical jargon most can’t comprehend
And thus all the world’s problems still lack a solution
Secreted behind all this verbose confusion

And of course it is not just our words’ intention
It’s to our actions also we must give full attention
For if what we say has to have any clout
Surely it’s those very deeds that we must carry out

So would it not be better if we simply say what we mean
Hiding nothing behind a loquacious smokescreen
And at the same time we should mean what we say
Thus our intended message we would clearly convey

Ken Fisher