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

Brexit (Decision Time)

Brexit (Decision Time)

Perhaps we should ban the word Brexit
Tell it to head for the exit
For months on end we have discussed it
Everyone of us now quite disgusted!

You expect more of our politicians
Who perform smarter tricks than magicians
Surely they have had time enough to resolve
Manifold problems they had to solve

But we remain in great disarray
Observing with mounting dismay
Internal strife now quite a spectacle
As we marvel at this chaotic debacle

At the referendum the nation gave a decision
But on facts quite devoid of precision
Since then many months have elapsed
Yet we are feeling increasingly trapped

MPs in civil war are engaged
As voices become more enraged
And the public watches on quite aghast
As each other with rhetoric they lambast

The time has come to make up their mind
And without seeming to be unkind
The various factions must learn to concede
That in or out our great UK should succeed

It seems the mood of the nation
Is we have had enough prevarication
Our legislators might get a firm grip
Abandon the pointless brinkmanship

Doubtless this island people will survive
And next week we will still be alive
So let’s make up our minds, fix on one choice
And in either deal or no deal let’s rejoice

Ken Fisher

Epiphany

Epiphany

 

 

Epiphany – the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles
The Magi, guided by the star seek the Christ Child
Would that we, amidst dark days and somber thought
Be granted insight of where salvation lies concealed

Let’s set aside all meaningless art and striving
And humbly bring our worldly gifts and treasures
That we like kings may bestow them at His service
Untold blessing in return be our epiphany

Ken Fisher

God Surprises Earth with Heaven

“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

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

 

Mood

Mood

Mood, does it depend on which side of the bed
we get out of?
Is it the aftermath of verbal fisticuffs
with our friend or partner?
Has that painful twinge returned to plague
us once more?
Or what about fear of that impending appointment
with our doctor or dentist?

Perhaps our mood is determined by that
hangover with throbbing head and accompanying
regrets
Maybe the ‘international’ unsolicited phone caller
who threatens to cut off our internet connection
wound us up?
Or our mood induced by the awareness of all that
we have to do, always under so much pressure
Perhaps an inflated sense of responsibility?

But of course not all moods are low
Perhaps we are showing the smiley face
Waking up to happy memories, or better still
the joyous reality of the here and now
Is it your birthday, your graduation day,
even your wedding day?

Then again there are moods that come from shock,
From simmering anger, from all-consuming jealousy,
From deep frustration,  depression or existential angst
Surely the political climate, the spirit of the age,
or personal mounting debt will dampen our mood?

And I suppose it is possible to have a mood
of nothingness, of inertia, of ennui, of tedium
I wonder to what extent our mood is determined
by those around us, family, friends, work colleagues?
Are we free to choose our mood, or do they do it
for us/to us?
Or perhaps their mood is triggered by ours?

Emotions – reflected in moods –
The blessing and curse of being human –
the Emoticon we then present to the world

 

Ken Fisher

The Meaning Of Meaning

The Meaning of Meaning

In the midst of a debate on the purpose of a university education
some have mused on the value of considering ‘the meaning of meaning’
as compared to more practical vocational education

When reflecting on the choice of university course
One writer mused on what was for better or worse
Is it wise to stick only with subjects vocational
Or risk electing for options less rational?

Doing something practical may seem common sense
Developing skills that can earn pounds and pence
Don’t spend all your time on high-flown theory
Cramming your head, making eyes go bleary

The ‘new’ universities are so down-to-earth
Ensuring you get your full money’s worth
Useful learning is the watchword, every moment counts
Getting you ’work ready’ – they proudly announce

But is there not sometimes a place for loftier thoughts
Eternal values beyond profit and loss?
Time to examine ancient concepts and wisdom
History, politics, science and all kinds of –ism

Indeed above and beyond subjects we can pursue
We need time to consider all humankind can do
And in these meditations and hours of quiet reasoning
We may yet discover the very ’meaning of meaning’

Ken Fisher

Utility

Utility

I wonder if in this modern world
Worth’s only measure is Utility
Unless we can calibrate the gain
It holds little plausibility

In dark days of war and long thereafter
Essentially production was restricted
Utility the hallmark for everything
Lest by waste we were afflicted

Of course the aim of most artifacts
Is to serve our human need
Objects are therefore produced
As the market has decreed

Classical economists propounded
An action is right if happiness it brings
Utilitarianism promotes this belief
Joy the measure of all things

But surely in this wondrous world
Exist things some consider useless
But lacking these elements of our life
Mere production rendered fruitless

We cannot simply stamp a utility mark
On our regard for one another
Art, music, and faith’s eternal quest
Dominant functionality cannot smother

The treasures which flow from the Aladdin’s cave
Of our modern supermarkets
Help to meet our insatiable desire
Our boundless pleasure is their target

But ‘things’ and ‘stuff’ however much
Might try our hearts to please
Yet in our souls we seek for more
To set our minds at ease

And thus we continue in pursuit
Of that whose only function
Is to lift us from mere usefulness
And grant emotion’s unction

Ask not only what something does
What purpose can it serve?
Rather how it might life enhance
And thus our praise deserve

Ken Fisher

Is Normal Life Sustainable If We Always Tell The Truth?

Is Normal Life Sustainable If We Always Tell the Truth?

 

A recent TV programme* advanced the proposition
That to sustain daily life we must resort to deception
Apparently social intercourse forces us to lie
To uphold concord the truth we must deny

Of course there is some debate on the nature of a lie
To condemn all false words or actions is to oversimplify
There is a difference surely between a fib or small white lie
And a monstrous whopper which you can rarely justify

Proclaiming the whole truth may well result in hurt
When we make no effort to soften a harsh word
We speak with veracity but how will it be received?
Surely the hearer is bound to feel aggrieved

Research has claimed we shrink from boldly stating
The stark truth to others when we ought to be berating
Afraid of offending  their feelings or causing alienation
We meekly soften the blow, espouse prevarication

We lie most commonly to our own kith and kin
Perhaps we consider that is less a sin
Or perhaps we are too afraid to disturb the uneasy peace
Recognising reality would family discord increase

But in business too we often use fabrication
Describing our products using much exaggeration
Trade descriptions legislation is meant this to prevent
But unhappy customer reports are still widely evident

Another aspect of untruthfulness is the deliberate omission
Thus it is what we fail to say that merits admonition
We sanitise awkward facts and situations
Thus producing false hopes and expectations

Of course in life there are times when truth can’t be avoided
And these situations must never be exploited
Professionals giving advice from truth should not depart
Each in their own field should play an honest part

No matter the extent to which we feel we can be economical
With truth, we must n’er migrate to a world quite mythological
Rather we must seek to live our lives with true sincerity
Truth our moral compass, the bulwark of integrity

Ken Fisher

 

  • Horizon: A Week Without Lying – The Honesty Experiment

Trust

Trust

Trust, a concept vital to our life together
Trust takes time to build up
But can be lost in an instant, with even one breach
That mutual reliance suddenly evaporates

Trusting starts in infancy, a one-way transaction
The toddler grasping her mother’s hand
The unflinching belief in our parents’ love
Yet even then this trust can be broken

And as life progresses we learn to trust
Professionals assure us that our trust is warranted
“Trust me, I’m a doctor!”
Fortunately this covenant is rarely violated

Trust is so vital in commerce and trade
But it is not an equal contest between
Suppliers and personal customers
Hence the need for consumer watch dogs

And what can be said of the current wobble
In our belief that our banking affairs
Are in safe hands? Or even worse
Accurate assessment of medical tests

But nonetheless we must continue to trust
Trust that our food will not poison us
Trust that the MoT testers are not cheating
Trust in all who drive or pilot public transport
Trust in those who design and maintain our roads and railways
Trust in those who provide advice of all kinds
Trust in our politicians and institutions to govern with integrity
Trusting one another in our relationships
We might even find ourselves trusting the weather forecasters!

Ken Fisher

 

See also my poem : Truth

Truth

Truth

Truth

Why do we so often evade it?
Is truth too painful?
Is truth impossible to define?
Is truth only ever relative?

What is truth anyway?

Some say: it is the correspondence
of language or thought
to an independent reality

This seems to assume that reality
is the actual existence, as opposed to
that which is merely imaginary

Does truth matter?

Can we live without truth?

Philosophers down the ages
Have wrestled with truth
Theologians tried to lead us to truth

The Way, the Truth, the Life

Car salesmen may have been economical with the truth
Politicians have their own version (or their party’s) of truth
Good parents implore that we always tell the truth

So truth seems to matter

Perhaps it concerns us more
In the age of Fake News
When prevarication, falsehoods and
downright lies seem to proliferate

But can we afford to dispense with truth?

Trust is closely aligned with truth
And is surely built on truth
When trust is lost what happens to
contracts, social relations, credit,
professional advice, the purity of drugs,
air traffic control, the safety of buildings,
indeed all incorporeal property

Tear up truth and shred the civilized world

Ken Fisher

PS but just sometimes, we need to be gentle with the truth

 

See also my poem Trust

Time and Change

Time & Change

There is no stopping time’s progression
Its forward movement we can’t question
And as each year succeeds the last
We marvel at its speed so fast

The years progress at such a pace
It seems as if life is a race
Each month heralds something new
Novel sensations to value

Yet not for all, this speeding motion
Experiencing sluggish locomotion
The daily duty the quotidian round
Becomes for them life’s burial ground

One thing is certain what e’er the pace
With fear or joy we must embrace
The fact of change inevitable
Its advance inexorable

How to handle time and change?
From neither can we be estranged
Time sometimes called the fourth dimension
Change constantly prompts transformation

If we might learn time to contain
Within each day’s confining frame
And change accept with patient calm
Our souls thus shielded against harm

No force can e’er time’s progress halt
And change is part of life’s default
Within these elements seek contentment
Respond with grace and n’er resentment

Ken Fisher