The Unwelcome Pause

The Unwelcome Pause

You are happily working on your machine
When the swirling beach ball hits the screen
Perhaps it’s simply meant to entertain
Let’s hope not the harbinger of pain

This spinning rainbow wheel should not alarm
It’s not intended to do us harm
It signifies attempts to run an application
And should not cause undue frustration

Apparently if it only spins for a brief moment
It heralds just a short postponement
But if in time it’s still twirling round
The issue may be more profound

It may mean a problem with that application
It will have crashed causing much vexation
So it looks as if ‘force quit’ will be required
Unless by another idea you are inspired

Just as with computers, so in daily living
There are times when trials are unforgiving
And we must just face the unwelcome pause
With a smile and surely not clenched jaws

Above all ‘force quit’ should never be our choice
No matter how strident that silent voice
When some event demands we pause
Let’s persevere what’er the cause

Ken Fisher

Note: On a Windows PC the swirling ball of Mac is shown 
as the ‘Hour Glass’ icon – which means Wait!

Who Wants the Library?

Who Wants the Library?
[Libraries week 9 – 14 Oct 2017]

Sometimes we are told our libraries are under threat
And if we don’t use them we could lose this valuable asset
I hope this won’t happen as the library is a treasure
It educates, and informs us, and brings us all great pleasure

The traditional view of a library where silence must prevail
Among the dusty shelves of volumes now quite stale
Is far from the reality of the modern resource centre
You will recognize this fact if you but dare to enter

Of course the book stock still predominates
And is hugely extensive to cater for all tastes
Within its compass you find books of diverse classification
Fiction and fact of every genre to satisfy the nation

But the library has been fully reconfigured
The range of high tech gear may leave you quite bewildered
Computer screens and audio devices are everywhere apparent
All ready to meet the needs of any keen aspirant

One of the greatest changes in the library provision
Has been the encouragement of a child-friendly vision
So every day, in their allotted space, parents and the young
Engage in song, dance and games, all sorts of active fun

If this is all a bit too rumbustious for your own taste
Don’t worry there is also other quieter space
Study rooms, WiFi access, copying and printing
And comfortable chairs in which to do some thinking!

So let’s rejoice that the library is still there to serve
And give it the support that it surely does deserve
The staff are there to help you and offer kindly advice
The open door says Welcome – so simply step inside!

Ken Fisher

Heavy Cold

Heavy Cold

Perception of the world dimmed
Felt-like ears muffle sound
Nose congested, breathing strangled
A constant trickle irritates the tubes
Paroxysms of coughing deny all rest
Overall sense of discomfiture

How can the body find itself besieged?
Slowly but inexorably the enemy attacks
And soon the equilibrium is disturbed
An armoury of sprays and pastilles
Pain relievers and inhalers
Seem impotent in the face of this onslaught

What to do when one defies the existence of illness?
Pretend this visitation is mere phantom
But clearly it manifests itself head on
The only wise and honourable course
To accept reality of this plague
And bear the trial with fortitude

Ken Fisher

300th Poem

300th Poem [Published on my website]

 

 

Poems about people, poems about places
Poems about gadgets and modern living
Poems about planets and the moon’s phases
Poems about a treadmill, quite unforgiving

Poems about philosophy rather high-minded
Poems about gardens and plant cultivation
Poems about history of which we are reminded
Poems about politics affecting our nation

Poems about health and our well-being
Poems reflecting contemporary issues
Poems about concepts we have difficulty seeing
Poems that are so sad we resort to a tissue!

Poems about commerce, banking and trade
Poems about geography and environment
Poems about materials and how things are made
Poems that commemorate some special event

Poems that recall peace and strife
Poems trying  to make some sense of society
Poems about the useful Swiss Army knife
Poems on religion that advocate piety

Poems written about yearly times and seasons
Poems about weather forever changing
Poems written to appeal to our reason
Poems that just ramble and are far too wide ranging

Poems about insects and our friendly birds
Poems about clocks and old radio sets
Poems on obscure topics rather absurd
Poems about the credit crunch and paying our debts

Poems about holidays and time spent away
Poems about the media and all things artistic
Poems about churches and ancient abbeys
Poems for the present day and some futuristic

Poems about rail travel on the continent
Poems on photographers and the paparazzo
Poems about housing and the high cost of rent
Poems that urge you to get up and go!

Poems that reflect on industrial decline
Poems that explain about our Parliament
Poems that declare everything’s just fine
Poems about devices that people invent

Poems that try to show a keen sense of humour
Poems about architecture and building design
Poems that aim to inform the naive consumer
Poems best accompanied by a glass of wine!

Finally there are poems about poetry which I try to write
Explaining blank and free verse and meter and rhyme
I am unsure if these efforts will ever delight
But there is no one to blame as they are all mine

Well I think that’s enough to explain the wide choice
Among these three hundred poems I’ve put on display
I hope that with me, you too might rejoice
‘Cause all this is for free, you have nothing to pay!

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

Can It Be True?

Can It Be True?

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
That religion is dead, we no longer believe
Just forget it all, there is no need to grieve

Can it be true? I hope that its not
Although people say it quite a lot
That the future is bleak due to global warming
Yet most of us simply ignore every warning

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
That we are eating too much and are all overweight
And obesity will surely increase the death rate

Can it be true? I hope that its not
Although people say it quite a lot
That too many of us are burdened by debt
And bankruptcy is now an odds-on bet

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
So many folks claim they feel depressed
And the pace of life is making them stressed

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
We spend far too much time gazing at screens
We’ve become totally absorbed by these crazy machines

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
They’ve given up on 24-hour news
Tragic events just give them the blues

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
Our ‘friendships’ quite often only on-line
Rarely together with a glass of wine

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
They are fed up enduring the daily commute
Stuck in slow traffic on their regular route

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
Robots are coming to take all our work
Unemployment is looming really quite stark

Can it be true? I hope that it’s not
Although people say it quite a lot
That somehow their life has begun to cloy
And wish they might somehow recover its joy

But enough of all this long list of complaints
To this litany let us put some constraint
‘Cause life’s not all bad, I am sure that is true
And all dark thoughts we should simply eschew

Can it be true? I hope it is so
That your own life is not so blighted by woe
And when these Jeremiahs your spirits assail
Your joie de vivre might yet  prevail

Ken Fisher

 

 

 

 

The ‘Flu Jab [2017 Version]

The ‘Flu Jab [2017 Version]

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Don’t you just love it – this time of year?
That NHS reminder that can fill you with fear
It’s time once again to do as directed
And make sure from ‘flu you are fully protected

Not everyone receives this summons from high
But it applies to me – I admit with a sigh
The vaccine comes to us completely free
So take it manfully and don’t try to flee

If you are over the age of sixty-five
They will have checked your name in their archive
Unless you’re a pregnant lady, or overweight
It’s most unlikely that you can escape

It would appear that this year I can get extra protection
From ‘flu and from shingles, a nasty inflammation
So like the supermarket, the surgery is giving BOGOF*
That from these dual hazards I might well get off

If your immune system is somewhat suspect
They will be even keener your arm to inject
And if around the waist there is too much flab
They might puncture it all with the bold ‘flu jab!

Of course we should not complain of this annual ritual
Intended to ensure that we remain fitter
And withstand the dangers of those nasty bugs
That seem to behave like micro-sized thugs

So when the message arrives to make the appointment
Make sure the nurse receives no disappointment
Get along to the surgery and bare your best arm
It will do you much good and surely no harm

Ken Fisher

  • BOGOF = Buy one get one free [except that both of these are free!]

Unfettered Catastrophizing

Unfettered Catastrophizing
[One man’s description of our press and media]

No such thing as Good Tidings of Great Joy
News only news if it conveys catastrophe
That’s the creed that editors live by
News only news if it trumpets calamity

A world serene, characterized by peace
Not news unless interrupted by disaster
A diet of accident, fire, bloodshed and disease
Such graphic scenes described by the newscaster

Of course we know we cannot deny life’s tragedy
The press does have a moral duty to report
To sanitize news bulletins would of course be calumny
But is it not surprising how little good news they exhort?

Must our media ever resort to catastrophizing?
Every incident, every misdemeanor, every commotion
Showcased into something quite tantalizing
Designed to evoke the strongest of emotion

Shock, horror, the watchwords of our press
Perhaps this is the dying cry of a threatened tribe
The slant of their news reveals their own distress
In a world which increasingly ignores the scribe.

Ken Fisher

Plus ca Change, Plus c’est la Meme Chose

Plus ca Change, Plus c’est la Meme Chose

‘the more it changes, the more it remains the same’

Nothing new under the sun, we sometimes declare
Because what appears to be new is already there
And when confronted with what we’re told is new
We suddenly experience a flash of déjà vu’

Doubtless we are surrounded by never ending change
Without it life would indeed be rather strange
But frequently we have inwardly reflected
Newness is just the old, believed to be perfected

And sometimes that perfection is not quite achieved
Leaving us feeling somewhat cheated, even deceived
Eventually it dawns upon us that what is claimed as change
Is simply a revival and much remains the same

Perhaps we should be just a little hesitant
Of novelty hailed as completely without precedent
On closer examination we may find that sometime in the past
This latest idea or gizmo had been claimed unsurpassed

But if something from former times had been so highly prized
Its reappearance in another form should no-one surprise
Thus ‘plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’ should still be acclaimed
Proving the worth of continuity in a world of change

Ken Fisher

 

Repeat Prescription

Repeat Prescription

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Those of us of a certain age are by now quite familiar
With receiving from the doctor, nurse, or someone similar
A repeat prescription for all those many pills and potions
We take to aid our health and locomotion

But I wonder if we ever stop to think how much our daily living
Might be described as a repeat prescription, a routine unforgiving
The pattern of each day or week prescribed so regularly
That month-by-month and year-by-year it really does not vary

Of course stated thus it all seems boring and confining
A straightjacket of a life, imprisoned and constraining
But is there any virtue in our regular routines?
Although we are all human, not merely dull machines

So the life prescribed by a regimen of work and play
Such that we find satisfaction in the passing of each day
Carpe Diem – seize the day might be the best watchword
The aim and motivation by which our life is spurred

Thus rather than feeling enslaved by the repeat prescription
We should rejoice that life is truly not conscription
But freedom to choose how each day and hour be filled
In no way determined by our daily dose of pills

Ken Fisher

The Brink

The Brink

The world seems to go on its merry way largely undisturbed
Yet in the background we are aware of standing on the brink
Is this not quite unreal, should not our minds be more perturbed?
Can deep passions not be set aside thus giving time to think

Most of the world’s inhabitants go about their daily round
The rich amassing wealth, the poor struggling to survive
And millions in-between caught up in life’s merry-go-round
But what e’er their lot they rightly expect to remain alive

But as powerful national leaders confront each other eye to eye
Realisation begins to dawn how fragile is the way ahead
The challenging rhetoric will only magnify
Menacing words are flaunted as warheads

But this is no computer war game, this is for real
Let’s put away all illusion and face stark facts
The world stands on the brink, to humanity we appeal
Together we must quickly find the way to step back

This will not be easy, when threats and counter threats abound
National pride and need for compromise play equal part
But each side must learn how to give ground
To wrestle these protagonists apart

We pray that heightened passions might soon subside
That the world could breathe easy once again
And the hostility that great nations so divides
Common sense, if not love, might constrain

Ken Fisher

WDTM? [What does that mean?]

WDTM?
[What Does That Mean?]

WDTM is shorthand for What Does That Mean?
When we are trying to make sense of something we’ve seen
Or heard someone say, or maybe we’ve read
Which leaves us confused and quite often misled

A chapter in a text book that is required reading
Such obscure words, comprehension impeding
Or a professor whose lectures don’t throw any light
And preachers who vaguely hint at your impending plight!

Legal jargon is frequently quite impenetrable
Insurance renewals equally unintelligible
The instructions for assembly of any flat-pack
We must be smart if their secrets we’d crack

Guidance to fix a puncture on a modern car
Our mechanical awareness is really stretched far
Even setting a post code address on the new sat nav
Requires more savvy than most of us have

Have we ever tried a digital radio to programme?
It demands more awareness than an old wireless ham
Equally I  find the handbook for an alarm clock
Can give the uninitiated quite a nasty shock

What about the manual for the flat screen TV set?
It can easily bring us out in quite a cold sweat
All its options for timers and downloads galore
And too many choices that we mostly deplore

In completing Tax Returns for the HMRC
We must always be as honest as we can be
But our attempts at the truth can easily be thwarted
As the language of their questions is so very turgid

At any time have you tried to make sense
Of those paragraphs that are ever so intense
In contract conditions expounding the law
Or warnings from banks if you dare overdraw

Which reminds me of messages sent out from the bank
I know they will claim they are just being frank
How many paragraphs does it need to explain
If you cash in early that ISA there will be no gain

The same problems arise if you feel bold enough
To enter the realm of social media and all that guff
Setting yourself up on  Twitter, Facebook or Google plus
Is rarely achieved without a great deal of fuss

In all these situations we are increasingly confused
Words spoken or written simply leave us bemused
The recurring question is What Does That Mean?
To receive an answer to this we are really keen

Perhaps the problem is that we are awash with information
So many words thrown at us just leads to frustration
We need time to make sense of all that we are told
There is little doubt we’re at the information threshold

So when we receive any message, we should readily enquire
What does it say, what facts need we acquire?
And if we can make little sense of the communication
We should take early steps for its extirpation

W D T M ? should be our clarion call
Clarity from the message should be the demand from us all
Make them say what they mean, and truly mean what they say
Thus a clear message to us all they might surely convey

Ken Fisher