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

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

“Wake up and smell the coffee” is apparently a call to action
A set of circumstances, an affair, demanding our reaction
It would appear that we might have been caught sleeping
Time now for us to act, and wake from idle dreaming

Some say the expression is used to tell us we are wrong
Time for a sharp rethink to move our thoughts along
Others say it is just a phrase to say we must wake up
To harsh realities, so many problems piling up

Wake and smell the coffee tells us to become aware
Not hide below the duvet or even turn to prayer
For although prayer may have its rightful place
Nonetheless these issues we simply now must face

So when someone reminds us of that beverage we should smell
It’s obviously something helpful that they wish to tell
And if we are truly wise we will produce a prompt reaction
A timely answer to advice which springs us into action

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

 

Momentary Thoughts

Momentary Thoughts

Momentary thoughts that enter my head
A flash in the mind, then quickly gone
An angry reaction that made me see red
Or some sadness turning me all forlorn

Pleasant thoughts of happy days past
Joyous memories of times of emotion
Recalling events that left me aghast
Crowded hours amidst untold commotion

Thoughts in my head as I anticipated
Pleasures to come in communing with others
Annoyance when hoped for joys are frustrated
Or by fearful notions my plans are smothered

Momentary thoughts are a two edged sword
At once they bring memories of times of elation
But equally recall feelings of fear or discord
Can even provoke a mood of depression

So the best response to the momentary thought
Is to simply let it pass without any reaction
That pleasure or pain, whether happy or fraught
From our peace of mind will afford no distraction

But this aversion to short lived reflection
Should not all gentle reminiscence deny
For who would turn from that introspection
Which prompts an inward smile, a tear or a sigh

Ken Fisher

Time Uninterrupted

Time Uninterrupted
[Written on the morning after the London Bridge attacks]

The clock nestling in our garden ticks uninterrupted
Unperturbed by this world’s events
Time is merely measured, not judged
But for some, time has come to an abrupt halt

A new reality is dawning on our nation
The fragility of life in the face of terror
Our vulnerability, caught off guard
As we take our leisure

How can we fathom the minds of those
Who perpetrate such deeds?
What force impels them in their mission?
Random victims who will see no tomorrow

In the tranquility of the sun-drenched garden
The clock ticks on with measured beat
But for the dead no mere interruption
And we who remain, ask why?

 

Ken Fisher

Leaders’ Debates

Leaders’ Debates

 

Why have I developed such revulsion to the Leaders’ debates?
Perhaps it is because at present their rhetoric so dominates
I should appreciate that all this is intended to educate and inform
By why must their tempers so quickly rise like a gathering storm

Wouldn’t it be nice if each of these earnest protagonists
Could approach the others as friends not antagonists
Why could they not address their rivals with a wide open smile
Rather than a verbal onslaught, completely hostile?

Sometimes they begin in a reasonable manner
But that never lasts long as they raise their own banner
And claim for their party the monopoly of good
And all counterclaims are simply falsehood

Politics has been called ‘the art of the possible’
But some politicians assert they can do the impossible
Whereas it is really about what you can actually get done
And that seems about true for MP’s as for anyone

Manifestos seem to promise the kingdom of heaven
And pledges made or broken are MP’s obsession
I wish for a while they would be more realistic
And state the hard facts and not contorted statistics

Above all I wish they would stop shouting over each other
If they heard a replay they would quite soon discover
That only one at a time can really be heard
And calm, cool, presentation would be much preferred

However, I doubt if my pleadings will change their approach
Despite any prior efforts from a slick media coach
Perhaps it would be better if, like wrestlers, they were put in a ring
And at least they might then stop feuding when they hear the bell ring!

……………………………..


And now we have the contest of the heavy weights
The most elevated level of these current debates
Where the champion of each party faction
Had to spar with the formidable Jeremy Paxman
Winners or losers were hard to detect
But Paxman makes me feel I would like to defect
From the political broadcasts so much over-heated
Where only the viewers seem somewhat defeated

Ken Fisher

Sweat!

Sweat! [Posted on really hot day in May 2017!]

‘Men perspire while women really do just glow, claim scientists after discovering
that the fairer sex needs to work much harder to build up a sweat.’
Quote from an article in Daily Telegraph

‘Blood, sweat and tears’- the fruits of strenuous effort
‘Sweated labour’ – the regime to suffer when working in a sweatshop
‘By the sweat of your brow’ – the Genesis punishment of mankind
‘His sweat became like drops of blood’ – Jesus at the Mount of Olives

Sweat, that flows from fear, or anguish, exhaustion or terror
Sweat, we try to disguise when in public performance
Sweat, that in lighter vein, we generate in cathartic exercise
Sweat, exuded when we lie to conceal the truth, known to us alone

Sweat, that fluid mixed with such heightened emotion
Sweat, that telltale signal of stress we would deny
Sweat, triumphant when we complete that marathon
Sweat, in that catastrophic second before the crash

Somehow the word ‘sweat’ is rarely neutral or dispassionate
We try to work up a sweat, or break out into a sweat, even sweat blood
We might find ourselves in a sweat about a girl/boy, and just have to sweat it out
We can wear sweat’s clothes – sweat sock, sweat suit, sweater

Finally we note the claim above that it is men who sweat
[Usually like a pig – do pigs actually sweat?]
But no such indignity for the women
All that effort or emotion merely makes them glow!

Ken Fisher

When the Light Darkens, yet once more

When the Light Darkens yet once more

I find it hard to realise that I am posting this poem yet once more.
It appeared after the terrorist attacks and bombings in Paris, Brussels and Nice,

and since then we have had the runaway car on Westminster Bridge and now this atrocity in Manchester. Will there be no end to it?
[I have added a new final verse]

When life seems good and full of light
How can its days turn into night?
But that it does there is no doubt
And inwardly we have to shout

What has gone wrong, who can we blame?
Why can’t our path remain the same?
A life of praise for all its joy
No longer does our heart employ

We seek for reasons why things change
And far and wide our thoughts do range
But contemplation brings no balm
It does not cheer or bring us calm

We agonise o’er words and deeds
O’er failure to confront the needs
That might these tragedies divert
And so our sorrow thus avert

But in this time of sad reflection
No nostrum found for lost affection
And only sadness is in sight
No early hope of love or light

Thus we must journey on our way
No cure for pain our fears allay
Our only hope that time might ease
And thus restore our inward peace

But just as night will turn to day
We’ll find again the sun’s bright ray
Will slowly mend our broken heart
As warmth and love it does on us impart

But while this may be true of the nation
What of the bereaved and wounded, where consolation?
The balm of time may bring its healing
Not before much abject weeping

Ken Fisher

Cyber Safe

Cyber Safe

 

All of a sudden we have become more aware
Of the potential dangers lurking out there
When we had assumed that all our data’s secure
And of our privacy we felt we could still be sure

But news of the latest world wide hacking
And of storage devices the blatant ransacking
Our sacrosanct records hitherto inviolate
Some unknown intruder sought to liberate

And not only did these felons seek to gain access
Their aim was by blackmail to achieve much success
And by extortion derive a profit quite handsome
By demanding from us a large bit-coin ransom

If we did not accede to their outrageous demands
They would wrest possession out of our hands
And we could no longer govern our business affairs
Or financial assets held in banks, bonds or shares

And health authorities that maintain records of patients
Found that not only people but systems acquired complications
And so the way in which we run things in all organisations
Were subject to widespread data starvation

And when we reflect on the risks around cyber security
When so many computers now have little immunity
One wonders if perhaps we should take a step back
And use chalk and slate – much less easy to hack!

 

Ken Fisher

White Van Man

White Van Man

 

If I am honest with myself I am filled with prejudice
Because I view the white van man as if he were some vice
In recent years he has come to dominate our streets
And this type of vehicle seems to come in fleets

He (or she) weaves their way throughout the heavy traffic
At speeds as good as any Jeremy Clarkson fanatic
And when they decide to stop and block the thoroughfare
For the other road users they simply don’t seem to care

Of course the rise of this modern entrepreneur
From humble tradesman quite obscure
To ubiquitous solution for all that we desire
Gives a quick and easy nostrum if only we will hire

Apart from all the crafts and trades traditional
White van men now handle things much less conventional
So pet grooming, dog walking, or if your walls need scraping
Portable discos, barbecues, or even some landscaping

White van man has found a way to access all locations
The sat nav easily pinpoints any house throughout the nation
And despite the fact he may cause mighty road congestion
He will eventually get there, of that there is no question

Because we have fallen in love with on-line shopping
All these parcels will then need rapid shipping
So the white van can be detected night and day
He must meet his target-time and never go astray

Perhaps instead of getting peeved at the sight of white van man
We should be thankful for all that’s concealed inside his van
Whether it is his skill and the tools to meet our needs
Or on-line goods from Amazon and favourite books to read

Ken Fisher

Events

Events

Politicians use this expression as a lame excuse
Hoping it’s sufficient to get them off the hook
When unforeseen events pop up in the frame
They hope that you will realize they cannot take the blame

Events are things that happen, mostly commonplace
The everyday occurrences that inflict the human race
But sometimes an event can be on a grander scale
Men landing on the moon, or the beaching of a whale

Throughout our lives events come on as we progress
From the cradle, thorough all the years, eventually to death
But most of us expect that in between these important dates
A mixture of joy and sadness is bound to be our fate

Some people might view their life as a sporting competition
Each new event a trial or test, all jockeying for position
So all goes well if eventually they come out as the victor
But if that is so, then the rest of us might never be a winner

Whatever happens as we continue on the road of life
In days of lucky happenstance or even times of strife
Events, by definition, are bound to come along
They exist in every moment and through all life long

It is better to welcome than from events to turn away
And as they arrive simply try some good cheer to display
And thus you will appreciate that regardless of their nature
Events, what e’er they be, are all our past and future

Ken Fisher

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

The phrase carpe diem comes from the Roman poet Horace
Who encourages us ‘to seize the day’, trusting little to the future
Whether this is a wise prescription or not I am not sure
But I suppose the only time that is real, is this present day

The past has gone and cannot be re-written,
The future remains ahead and somewhat unpredictable
Of course we may try to make amends for the past
Anticipate the future and plan for eventualities

And yet I wonder how often our lives are constrained
By worrying over past actions, past words, past failures
And our outlook on the future diminished by fear of the unknown
Thus the present is overshadowed by past regrets and future forebodings

So the wisest approach might well be to live in the NOW
Even although our NOW is largely the outcome of our past
And our view of the future will no doubt colour the NOW
But NOW is still NOW – let’s live it in ‘real time’

Ken Fisher