The Family – Together!

The Family – Together!

On a cushion cover in a home furnishing store
Why would you wish for anything more?
‘Family together we have it all’  it declares
If you are not now in a family you might well despair

Like the cushion itself, these words seem inflated
Puffed up to make claims quite exaggerated
Togetherness in families is not always a feature
For familial camaraderie not everyone’s eager

And what does it mean that ‘we have it all’?
We might be the curators of things that appall
Our flashy possessions and glitzy life style
From your point of view are hardly worthwhile

And as for the habits some families display
Such common behaviour you would surely dismay
So when jointly families aspire to have it all
Would that they hid behind their Chinese wall

But perhaps these sentiments are too condemnatory
And certainly of families at large, not the whole story
Many kinship groups unite to act with verve
And together each other they willingly serve

So perhaps the family is at its creative best
When its collective energy they would invest
Outward looking to others where they see any need
Inwardly supporting by kind words and deeds

Ken Fisher

Blow Your Own Trumpet

Blow Your Own Trumpet

Get noticed
Blow your trumpet
Really loud and clear

Be not ashamed
Surely you have
Not anything to fear

In a crowded world
You must attempt
To alert the auctioneer

To make your bid
For a fair share
Of all that might appear

Life’s opportunities
Come up for grabs
At any time of year

And you should not
Escape the chance
Through diffidence or fear

So take a deep breath
Purse those lips
Then blast it in their ear!

Ken Fisher

Small Talk and Loose Talk

Small Talk and Loose Talk

In the War we used to say that
‘Loose talk Costs lives’
But today it has been claimed that
Small talk can Save lives’
 

Now loose talk and small talk are
Not quite the same.
Loose talk might lead to people
Being put in danger by giving
Secrets to the ‘enemy’
 

Small talk is simply gentle chatter
That seeks to break the ice
between strangers or casual acquaintances
And small talk may lift people out of danger
When they are on the point of harming themselves

So let’s resolve to eschew modern loose talk
Which might simply amount to gossip
Tittle-tattle that is little less than
Character assignation by the unbridled tongue
The half-truth, the vague innuendo or sweeping generalisation

In its stead let’s espouse small talk
Which rather than being merely superfluous
Helps to establish connections, build bridges
Promote friendship and concord
And might even save the anxious soul from themself

Ken Fisher

Hunker Down

Hunker Down

 

Ever feel tempted to just hunker down
When the world around is wearing a frown?
So much is happening that is not to my taste
To a place of refuge I need to make haste

But where can I hide when there is so much to fear?
No place of safety seems to be near
Unless I intend to get out of town
The only choice left is to hunker down

But what are all those menacing threats
That raise the pulse and bring on the sweats
Where does that bogeyman reside
Show yourself – why must you hide?

Perhaps the spectre is all in my head
Fears from the past, long since dead
So why any need to crouch and to cringe
When on my peace they no longer impinge?

The problem today is we are too wide-awake
Newsfeeds from the media drag us in their wake
In every tragedy we must participate
The press conspires to make this our fate

But what are these fears which strike at the heart
And our reasonable thoughts will thus distort?
Some might be just a mere irritation
Others undermining the whole blessed nation

So forebodings about an impending malady
Aches and pains that we claim are agony
Through to major concerns about Brexit
Which politicians are likely to fix it?

Then there are concerns for the life of the planet
And climate change perhaps leading to havoc
Debates about trade bring on endless haggling
Can so easily end up with loud sabre rattling

At the personal level, heavy debt brings on much tension
Finding a job, a home, and affording a pension
So no wonder we feel quite overwhelmed
To take some evasive action we are thus compelled

But if at the end of the day there is no easy cure
The vagaries of life we must simply endure
Hunkering down for the immediate duration
Our only response to a dire situation

But let’s not allow ourselves to get too depressed
And with our problems become quite obsessed
In due time dark clouds are bound to blow over
We will rise from the hunker and regain composure

Ken Fisher

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects

What comes to mind
When someone mentions sharp objects?
Perhaps protruding nails or shards of glass
A broken fence with wayward barbed wire
Exposed lawnmower blades as you cut the grass

But hazards are not always confined
To factory or workshop, garden or atelier
The garage by no means the only source of danger
Nor industrial sites the exclusive minefield
Where accidents might yet prove a life-changer

It depends on how we define a sharp object
Is it always necessary to be razor-edged?
There in no doubt that tools and machines
Do posses a kind of ‘inherent vice’
Often presenting an edge that is keen

But I would wish to suggest
Sharp objects may encompass a wider sui generis
Than simply inanimate gadgets and useful devices
Lots of our fellow human beings can be pretty sharp
With personalities as if enlivened by spices

So when we are warned to beware of sharp objects
It is more than protective clothing we seek
We may have to prepare for the barbs and sneers
From the critical, sarcastic or ironic tongue
Which would destroy our hopes and raise our fears

Indeed the world we have to inhabit
Can often draw us up extremely sharply
A sudden change of fortune might arise
Piercing our comfortable carapace
Heralding the most unwelcome surprise

So my plea is that we may remain vigilant
For pointed dangers lurking all around
Not just the equipment of the artisan
But sharpness from whatever source
Potential risk from everyman

Ken Fisher

Manhood

Manhood

 

You may have noticed the recent comments in the press
Which seem to push the PC agenda to excess
It now appears selling tissues described as man-size
Is offensive in some peoples’ eyes

Of course I’m not sure if you need a mansize nose to match
And that might be deemed to be the catch
Without a hooter of appropriate scale
Equality of use we might curtail

More likely the Mansize description is the issue
Bringing opprobrium to the worthy tissue
Members of the gentler sex may sense
Exclusive use by men would cause offence

But I am sure the makers of these fulsome wipes
Did not intend to stereotype
Ladies finding equal satisfaction
For larger sheets have much attraction

But it seems the Mansize description will have to go
Although such dimensions will still be on show
It’s just the name that has to change
You’ll then have “Extra Large” in exchange

Ken Fisher

With due regard to Press publicity and Kimberly-Clark

Chess

Chess

 

The world of chess is a mysterious realm
Whose complexities can quite overwhelm
The laymen who knows none of its charms
May be daunted by strategy and technical terms

But if proof is needed of this game’s acceptance
Down many centuries we note its persistence
Starting in India, along the Silk Road it sped
And in the course of the years its fame widespread

The game is played on a chequered board
Eight rows and columns is how it is floored
On which each side’s sixteen pieces are set
All arrayed in allotted squares at the outset

The King, Queen, Rooks, Bishops and Knights
Each move according to their own special rights
The eight low-ranking pawns are somewhat restricted
But their influence is not altogether constricted

Down the years chess has acquired its own mystique
As champions and experts developed technique
Thus great minds would wrestle over special maneuvers
Eventually pitching themselves against mighty computers

As year succeeded year chess became ever more popular
Competition producing champions quite spectacular
But chess can still be enjoyed as much in your home
As at some mass congress in a huge hippodrome

Of course the digital age has brought us chess electronic
Simultaneous games can prove rather hypnotic
Let’s hope the whole thing doesn’t get out of hand
Chess ending up as mind-games unplanned

So thanks to  those who this clever game devised
Its nuances and potential they first recognized
Chess for many has been a great boon and a blessing
Through intelligent play their strength expressing

Ken Fisher

Placebo – or Who’s Kidding Who?

Placebo – or Who’s Kidding Who?

[Following on a recent TV programme on the power of the placebo
to bring about health improvement]

 

When seeking relief from all of our ills
Maladies of body or mind
We ask our doctor to prescribe some pills
In whose trust we are quite unfeigned

Research is now showing it is this belief
Rather than the medicine’s ingredients
Which brings the patient much relief
And proves to be the most expedient

A placebo is simply a harmless pill
Whose components have no real effect
And whether or not you think you are ill
Your condition should remain unchecked

But that is not the complete conclusion
If the patient thinks the dose is for real
In their mind it is not just illusion
Thus convinced how much better they feel

Now you may think this is a massive con-trick
But who’s kidding who is the question
Why does the patient claim they are no longer sick
Can all this be auto-suggestion?

Ken Fisher

Don’t Hold Your Breath!

Don’t Hold Your Breath!

 

Don’t hold your breath we’re often told
When expectations run uncontrolled
Breath withheld in anticipation
Of impending joy and jubilation

Don’t hold your breath and avoid disappointment
If things go awry then you won’t show resentment
‘Cause in an uncertain world we can never be sure
Intentions defeated by some ‘force majeure’

Don’t hold your breath when a promise is given
Fulfilment thwarted and you are left feeling stricken
Somehow or other it fails to conform
The magic nostrum might underperform

Don’t hold your breath awaiting utopia
When your half-empty cup is no cornucopia
With honest realism just face every day
Ensuring that deep breath won’t be blown away

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

Silence

Silence

Silence – the absence of all sound! Blessed peace

Silence! – a command from an irate librarian.  Shut up

Silence – an eerie sensation when returning home to find no-one in

Silence – my response when reluctant to give a truthful reply

Silence – your response when you feel I have offended you

Silence – when I am stunned by what you have just told me

Silence – when I am ashamed to tell you what I have done

Silence – when the car won’t start on a freezing cold day

Silence – we crave when our neighbours are partying through the wall!

Silence – when the letter box doesn’t click with that job offer

Silence – in the early hours when an anxious parent awaits the sound of their teenage offspring returning home

Silence – when listening in at the nursery to find the baby peacefully asleep

Silence – no response to our earnest prayers. Is God on strike?

Silence – when a loved one has gone off in a huff

Silence – in the face of dire tidings from the police officer at our door

Silence – as we shuffle into the crematorium for the funeral

Silence – as we seek relaxation in mindfulness or meditation

Silence – an awkward pause when we fail to find the right words

A pregnant silence    A gobsmacked silence     A disdainful silence

Silence attends so many of  life’s experiences and situations

It accompanies the good times and the bad, pleasure and pain,

elation and shame, bewilderment and sometimes even surprise

The mixed blessing of silence; sometimes chosen sometimes enforced

Ken Fisher