On Realising One’s Own Mortality

On Realising One’s Own Mortality
 

Unexpected news of the passing of a friend
Surely not him, he’s younger than me!
Untimely intimation of death notice
Obituary, the contents of which one knows quite well
All this just as we look forward to annual Christmas cards
Bringing comforting news of settled journeys still progressing
The loved one’s lives harshly filled by inconsolable grief

Death obviously does not discriminate
The good and the great
The humble and anonymous
High intellect or simple artisan
Those whose contribution is preserved in words
Those who will be remembered in the work of their hands
The fruits of all their labours – gently fading into history

Makes you think!
We always knew life was just a provisional licence
But somehow we thought it might be granted an extension
And here we are, suddenly faced with the grim reality
Life is not a rehearsal as they say
So let’s act out our part to the full
Before our curtain finally falls

Ken Fisher

 

 

The Charms of Apple OS 10 Catalina

Unknown

I have downloaded Catalina which at first gave me quite a shock
I thought I had ruined my computer as it appeared to be in deadlock
Perhaps it was unfamiliar with the internal working of my old machine
But its initial response to my promptings was if anything not at all keen

But I persevered with my efforts and gradually it seemed to respond
But I did at the start suspect that all my saved data might quickly abscond
The problem I find with Catalina is that she prefers her own special ways
So that it looks as if mastery of the machine will take me many long days

But there is no doubt this new software will reveal her manifold charms
And if I just learn to tread softly I might avoid the need for alarms
I had soon to discover how my data now flies up to the cloud
With a will of its own it does this and doesn’t ask it that’s allowed

Anyway  thank-you to the Apple inventors who design this super software
I am sure they mean to be helpful and never our progress impair
In the meantime I will keep up the practice and gain some more expertise
And instead of being scared of the system I might learn to use it with ease

Ken Fisher

Prosaic and Poetic

 

Prosaic and Poetic

Life’s journey is both prosaic and poetic
Prosaic in the sense that much of our daily walk
Is routine, dreary, mundane, even humdrum
Rather like a story written in uninspiring prose

However might life sometimes be considered
as poetic ?  Its events deemed imaginative
Creative, elegant, beautiful, inspirational
A narrative in finely crafted verse?

Perhaps for most of us life is both
Prosaic and poetic.  Two moods in tension
Entwined together as the days progress
Chiaroscuro of contrasting light and shade

Anyway who wants to live on the mountain top
Of heightened emotion, throbbing in poetic meter?
Better to endure with fortitude the tedium of the everyday
With timeous stimulus from poetry’s muse

Let’s simply be content with the daily round
Whose routines bring quiet satisfaction
Surprised by highlights of delight
Like poetry amidst pedestrian prose

Ken Fisher

Apocalyptic Headlines

Apocalyptic Headlines

It seems news can only be news
If it is apocalyptic

Around the globe this is what we read:

Inundated by floods
Engulfed in uncontrolled grass fires
Ravaged by a rampant epidemic
Swallowed up by erupting volcanoes
Drowned by tsunamis
Devastated by earthquakes
Unrelieved angst about climate change
Civil unrest and international warfare
Corruption abounding
Life cruelly halted in multiple motorway pile-ups
Overwhelmed by economic disaster
Impoverished by hyper inflation
Scourged by widespread unemployment
Imprisoned in over-crowded housing
Education that pays no ‘dividends’

Depressed and despondent mental states
Poor health and short life expectancy
Inadequate health service provision
Loneliness and isolation
Trapped in elderly care provision
A society which has lost faith in anything

And right now (here at home)

Disgust at the antics of politicians
Longing for a Brexit solution
But unconvinced that the election will bring release

But surely there must be something
To bring a little levity to the headlines?

One Press Cartoonist today has said

“At least a December election  will put
a stop to all that ‘Season of Goodwill’ nonsense”

Ken Fisher

500th Poem

500th Poem 

Sometimes in trying a poem to compose
I am filled with feelings of frustration
No new thoughts can I propose
Mind blank, devoid of inspiration

On other days ideas come teeming in
Cascading in profusion
From outside or sometimes deep within
No hesitation, no muddle or confusion

How to account for these opposing moods?
Why at times words readily are found
At others groping for my muse
Inspiration tightly bound

Ofttimes when no shining light has dawned
When no spark fires the imagination
And notion’s seed cannot be spawned
Page kept barren of proclamation

But in due time the muse returns
Muted voice strangely reawakened
Again with yearning the heart will burn
And taciturnity quickly forsaken

Thus o’er these years words shaped into verse
500 poems for your delectation
My thoughts before you I rehearsed
Grateful for your dedication

Ken Fisher

Thanks to 3,125 individuals who have viewed my site since September 2015 bringing 13,787 ‘hits’ to the site.

Clocks Go Back 2019

Clocks Go Back 2019

The days are getting shorter, the nights are drawing in
In no time at all we will arrive at Halloween
Darkness is descending, as we struggle through the gloom
Look out for the guisers draped in their costume

‘Ere we reach that ‘hallowed’ eve the clocks must be turned back
Between Saturday and Sunday an hour they give us back
For last Spring those same clocks were moved an hour forward
To rectify that change now the movement will be rearward

It seems to me this time of year might make you feel depressed
And sometimes negative feelings can be manifest
Some people think this clock change is the harbinger of doom
And thoughts of hibernation fill their hearts with gloom

But most of us will soon accept the changing of the light
Brighter in the morning, then earlier dark at night
Nothing’s really changed, it’s ourselves who’ve played a trick
Tinkering with the clock hands but letting it still tick

So with the changing of the hour we revert to Greenwich Mean
British Summer Time left behind till Spring’s green shoots are seen
But at least we know now where we are, the timing quite official
No fiddling with the hours of day or night, no changes artificial

Of late there has been even greater pressure
Which amidst Brexit could cause great displeasure
Demands that we align with Europe using single and double BST
Unpopular notion for those who from continental shackles would us free

And this year, if politicians don’t somehow fix it
We are all confronted with impending Brexit!
You may not feel the same as me if we’re about to leave
But any firm decision might prolonged pain relieve

 

Ken Fisher

From Now On

From Now On

 From Now On…………………!

How often have we said these words?
With resolve and determination
Promising to cast aside the past
Espousing transformation

Why wait for Near Year to make a pledge?
For any time in life’s daily course
Will serve as any other
Our good intention to endorse

But déjà vu comes into mind
When committing to renewal
How often in days gone past
Has failure struck quite cruel?

‘Cause no matter how sincere
Our stated affirmation
‘Ere long, intention cast aside
Amidst life’s trials and tribulation

But let us as in the spider myth
Our efforts not relinquish
Determined that new life to forge
Past failures we would vanquish

Ken Fisher

Honour Bound

Honour Bound

“The louder he talked of his honour, the faster I counted my spoons”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Why sir, when he leaves our house , the faster I count my spoons”
Dr Samuel Johnson

 

 

Have you ever felt that protestations of honour
and integrity may sometimes smack of hypocrisy?
There is a long list of suspects whom we might accuse
From the “ Trusted Trader” to the Priest in the confessional

Indeed many of us have become case-hardened
To the blandishments of car salesmen and estate agents
Borne out of our discovery that descriptions
Were a distant echo of reality

Some people we may be more willing to trust
Nurses and judges – even if they are sometimes fallible
But journalists and, above all, politicians
Often deemed to be low on the reputational pile

But modern capitalist society relies on trust
At the very heart of its enterprise
Trust in the making and executing of contracts
Trust in the banking and credit systems

And although we may rile against
The pettifogging of Health and Safety rules
We nonetheless trust that our house will not collapse
Or our tumble drier ignite

Being honour bound is more than chivalry
To a damsel in distress
It is more than protecting our household
From the theft of spoons!

They say there is honour among thieves
This may be so,  but we do not have to
Commit larceny to gain honour
Just try honesty

Honour must be at the very heart
Of all our dealings with one another
Whether in commerce, in employment
Even in the intimate relationships of our family circle

So let’s not abandon honour
As expressed in our determination
to be trustworthy
In all our words and deeds and dealings

Ken Fisher

[This poem is based on ideas taken from an article
by Anthony Hilton in the Governance and Compliance Magazine
October 2019]

Modern Money

Modern Money

 

No longer wads of notes, folded in wallets
Or stuffed into purses
No longer neatly written figures
Recorded in dusty ledgers
Coinage almost irrelevant
Unless in a slot machine at the funfair

Modern money is all digitized
Binary ones and zeros captured
In magnetic storage devices
More likely throbs pulsing through
Minute chips inside a high speed processor
All data coded or encased in plastic

So who keeps this money? How do we move it?
Financial institutions hold the monopoly
As curators of our money
All of this mere blips in their mega records
Except for the store of gold
Still there for the unbelievers in electronics

No longer a need for a mask and crowbar
To rob the bank.
Modern criminals get their hands on the loot
By clever frauds and cunning scams
No broken glass, no blasting of the safe
Just silent larceny, our nest egg evaporating

Thus money flows around the globe
Lenders and borrowers caught up in the dance
As they whirl ever faster by quantative easing
Until balance loses all control
Then the crash, denials, and recrimination
Governments – save us from our folly!

PS – Crypto Currency perhaps best avoided

Ken Fisher

The Tyranny of the Majority

The Tyranny of the Majority*

 

The tyranny of the majority is the cause of all this woe
Almost equal numbers can turn a friend into foe
Because the larger figure dictates how we must run
Yet a bare majority is hardly everyone

If the rule of a majority is by which we must abide
And by the bigger total on the issue we decide
Then no matter how small the extra votes may be
The disappointed losers still have no valid plea

But the problem then is that it fosters discontent
The significant minority might very well dissent
The referendum winners will expect their will be done
But then the losers find their aspirations overrun

In such a plight our nation seems to wallow
No-one yet knows what from this will follow
Any consensus is very hard to discover
Who from this log-jam will help us to recover?

Politician and judges and all the good and great
Even the Sovereign dragged in to decide our fate
Perhaps all of this is down to our creaky constitution
Being un-written – as they say – perhaps it’s just illusion

But we can’t go on forever neither in nor out
Our friends in Europe wonder what its all about
We need to make our minds up and decide which way to go
Perhaps the tyranny of the majority we simply have to thole

Ken Fisher

*John Stuart Mill in On Liberty (1859) argues for freedom of speech
and argues against “the tyranny of the majority”

 

Niceness is a Thin Veneer

Niceness is a Thin Veneer to give the Impression of Civilisation

I wonder if you agree that niceness can be  just a thin veneer
Which we apply to our persona so that others think well of us?
But many consider the word nice to be really meaningless
Simply anodyne, not likely to provoke dissent or offence

And yet I suppose most of us would like to be considered nice
That is agreeable, pleasant, good-natured, congenial, friendly
Because few of us make it our avowed intent to be the opposite
Nasty, spiteful, argumentative, arrogant, hateful, repulsive

But if our niceness is only a thin veneer, sprayed on for effect
Then it seems to suggest that we are not always good guys
Yet we feel obliged to display qualities that would meet approval
Pressure is forcing us to be hypocrites, needing public praise

Apparently the social media has shown the propensity
For people to be anything but nice to others
On-line harassment is on the rise, computer rage rampant
The uncontrolled release of these emotions is damaging to health

So perhaps we need to recall that aphorism “It’s nice to be nice”
But we don’t need to sacrifice our honesty, or deny the truth
We simply have to calmly accept the reality of life
Stand our ground but be civil in all our dealings

Ken Fisher

 

The expression Niceness is a thin Veneer ………
Is a quote from journalist India Knight in the Sunday Times
Magazine 19 March 2017

Don’t Reheat the Porridge

Don’t Reheat the Porridge

I don’t know if this is sound culinary advice
Should you heat up your cold porridge twice?
Perhaps this guidance is not about food
But about our lives when we try to do good

Cold porridge is something quite unappetizing
It’s gone off the boil so it is not surprising
That like salt which seems to have lost its savour
This pudding is quite bereft of good flavour

Stale porridge might be just a metaphor
For things we once loved but now seem to abhor
The lost joy from a broken relationship
But no chance to rekindle companionship

Stale porridge my bear some resemblance to
Some passion or cause we no longer pursue
But now all our zeal simply withered away
No light shining forth at the break of each day

Stale porridge is like a thought our hearts once excited
But has lost all its power to make us delighted
No effort the magic can rejuvenate
Or our languid spirits can motivate

So stale porridge is best left quite unattended
No further energy on its substance expended
Sometimes food must simply be cast in the bin
And a new recipe for our life we ought to begin

Ken Fisher