Unknown Unknowns

Unknown Unknowns

 

With the latest threat from Covid – Omicron variant
I am not sure if we are in the territory
Of the Unknown Knowns
Or the Unknown Unknowns

We have all grown a little weary
Of the dark menace of the plague
And we were beginning to get to know it
But now are we once again, in the land of the unknown?

We know this latest beastie seems to come with
Unknown features, which may also be unkind
It’s unknown if it is susceptible to a vaccine
And it’s unknown if it is more transmissible

On top of these unknowns which are presently known
I wonder if there are any other unknowns still unknown
Wouldn’t it be great if just a little more can be known?
Changing the unknowns into knowns

One other thing perhaps is still unknown
And that is what will be the reaction of the public at large
Who know what lock-down is like, but what we don’t know
Is will they resist such strictures this time?

It is not of course known how much comfort
All of us can take from all that is now known
From our knowledge of how to respond to a pandemic
But we do already know the effect on the economy
As reflected in plunging stock market prices

The sooner the unknown unknowns
Can be turned into known knowns
The better for us all
But we don’t know how long this might take
Does anyone know?

Ken Fisher

See other Poetry for the Pandemic

The Doctor Won’t see you Now

The Doctor Won’t See You Now

 

No more waiting full of tension
Filled with fear and apprehension
NHS is in a plight
No doctors looming into sight

Images on tiny screens
That’s the best that can be seen
Gone the old-style consultation
Spawning doubt and consternation

You may be thinking that’s unfair
What’s overtaken primary care?
Where once we could meet face to face
Sadly now that’s not the case

Of these awkward new restraints
There have been a few complaints
On symptoms they may not be deciding
Alas the medics have been hiding

They claim they’re doing the best they can
To uphold our treatment, that’s their plan
But we would rather meet in person
Before our ailment starts to worsen

Therefore let’s hope before too long
To the surgery we might go along
And the receptionist  cry out somehow
The Doctor indeed Will see you now!

 

Ken Fisher

Telescope, Microscope, Horoscope

Telescope, Microscope, Horoscope

 

 

The telescope is a vital tool of cosmologists who would reach for the stars
The microscope the choice of technicians who peer nearer rather than far
The horoscope essential for astrologers predicting forward not back
These wizards are deft at navigating cryptic signs of the zodiac

All these devices are the stock in trade of those who would aim to shed light
On phenomena, not immediately clear to our ordinary sense of sight
The first two of these were designed by applying principles of unalloyed science
More mystical formulae the basis on which astrologers place their reliance

Mind you in earlier years astronomers and astrologers seemed to tread similar paths
But with the passage of time the former gained prestige by flaunting a knowledge of maths
In the meantime the microscope helped speed advances in biology, geology and chemistry
Its magnifying power revealed fine details which hitherto had been a dark mystery

What more can be said about these three types of scope – are they each of equal worth?
There is no dispute on the advances to which the telescope and microscope have given birth
But the dubious horoscope regularly gets an outing in much of our daily press
And there can be little doubt this pseudo-science can a credulous public impress

Ken Fisher

 

 

 

Face Recognition

Face Recognition

“I’ve grown accustomed to your face”
A famous line from My Fair Lady
You’re in my database
Quite sure, I don’t mean maybe

In the world of digital devices
Without shame or inhibition
Images captured of all shapes and sizes
Snared by face recognition

We’ve entered the realm of biometrics
Machines scanning every feature
Fresh-faced youth or ageing geriatric
It knows what kind of creature

Human faces are apparently
Tremendously diverse
No end to the variety
A featured universe

But how do I know it’s you?
By your familiar countenance
Even the mask I can see through
With one quick furtive glance

With its limitless expressions
From wide smile to harsh grimace
Signs of joy or dark depression
Unspoken on your face

To the world, what face do we display?
Threat or fear or love shining from our eyes
Ready to meet life come what may
Not hidden by disguise

Just as face recognition provides the key
Our devices to unlock
Thus the face I proclaim as me
All barriers might unblock

Ken Fisher

Equinox  – Autumn 2021

Equinox – Autumn 2021

This astronomical event occurs twice a year
When the plane of the Earth’s equator
Passes through the centre of the Sun
On this day the Sun shines directly on the equator
And day and night are approximately equal

Today is the Autumnal Equinox 2021
And our minds look back to warm summer days
And forward, with some foreboding, to approaching winter
And we are happy to say, for now, not yet!

An Equinox is perhaps a good time to reflect
On all that has been good in life
To give thanks for many blessings
For holidays, and travel, and time for relaxation

As the tint of the leaves turns and they begin
To flutter down to form an ochre carpet
Like the lowering of a flag at the end of a parade
We realise that gradual change must come

But shortening days and lengthening nights
Need not bring somber thoughts
Or fears of nocturnal terrors
‘Cause winter brings its own special charms

Family gatherings round the ‘hearth’
Bonfires and fireworks displays
Trudging home through deepening snow
To celebrate Christmas with those we love

And so we acknowledge the endless
Progression of the calendar
Through equinox to solstice
And solstice to equinox,
And again
An unending gyration

But this year things seem quite different
Covid -19 continues to cast its shadow over all that seemed ‘normal’
Since these previous verses were written
And yet we would remain hopeful
Just as the Earth progresses in its orbit around the Sun
As each season brings its own mood and tenor
Let hope remain, the best is yet to come

Ken Fisher

Icon

Icon

You must have noticed how the word ‘icon’ is now much overplayed
In ordinary conversation we seem to hear it almost every day
Historically the word was used to describe a religious work of art
Nowadays it is applied to distinguish some object thus setting it apart

In the digital age icons are used to represent a useful ‘application’
Click on the app’s icon and its functions leap into action
So in this case the icon is a symbol representing a function
The symbol and the routine working in conjunction

Now we seem to have decided that anything exceptional is ‘iconic’
From a well recognized brand name to a modern health tonic
Thus everyday symbols like those for Apple or Dyson
Ensure in our minds a sort of anticipatory frisson

All this is good for the salesmen and marketing gurus
But I wonder if the label ‘icon’ they are inclined to abuse
Indeed we seem to hear the word so often these days
It begins to sound like a meaningless phrase

So perhaps we should give the word icon a rest
In trying to identify what we claim is best
And simply describe what the icon would typify
Instead of using a symbol as some false alibi

Finally, it occurs to me that when the term ‘logo’ is used
Sometimes with icon I get it confused
Companies use logos to symbolize their essence
And icons direct you to their nearer presence!

Ken Fisher

Hi Viz Vest

Hi Viz Vest

If your intention is always to be clearly seen
Not obscured within some devious smokescreen
Then the solution which undoubtedly is best
Is to make sure you’re wearing a Hi Viz Vest

Such a garment is not meant for showing off
Of Health & Safety measures you really must not scoff
The bright yellow colours help in your detection
Therefore providing the necessary protection

Apart from safety, other functions they fulfil
Sometimes they imply you have a certain skill
The uniform provides some guarantee
That on a building site you can be set free

This idea set me wondering if it’s the case
That others might use disguise by donning a face
Of apparent license to seemingly validate
A white coat, a name tag, thus might fabricate

Perhaps we should beware of authority ostensible
To check their badges of power might be quite sensible
Is the parking attendant, even our friendly copper
Simply a phoney acting out a monstrous whopper?

I am sure that most Hi Viz Vest wearers are not trying to deceive
The message of their bright gilets we can surely believe
And uniformed workers of whatever profession
Have aims other than this good life’s suppression

Ken Fisher

Fiat Lux

Fiat Lux

[This poem is not about a small top-of-the-range
Italian mini car!]

Let There Be Light

Let there be light was God’s command
Ordained by His almighty hand
In those primordial days He spoke
Within creation’s masterstroke

And ever since the need for light
To bless humanity with sight
Was recognised by all mankind
Illuminating heart and mind

Light to shed on darkest mystery
Understanding gained through history
Of whom we are, how to survive
Sustaining life that we might thrive

From simple crafts and artifacts
Technology embracing facts
Enlightenment shed on our way
Progress the watchword of the day

In modern times let there be light
Penetrating all that would blight
Abounding threats to our welfare
Preventing freedom everywhere

Thus Fiat Lux become our plea
From tyranny that we be free
World poverty, widespread disease
Compassion’s light might bring release

Let light illumine every soul
Rational thought our minds control
The commonweal our deeds promote
Our attitude inspiring hope

Ken Fisher

Next Slide Please!

Next Slide Please!

I am sure we all view this man with affection
His cautious messages for our protection
Graphs and diagrams to keep us informed
Of threatening trends he ensures we are warned

He sometimes spars with the bold PM
Who this health hazard would roundly condemn
But Prof Whitty says we need play the long game
If this menacing beastie we hope to contain

This boffin is a statistician’s dream
Explaining what the baffling numbers mean
With line graphs and pie charts one thing’s for sure
The nation’s predicament is no longer obscure

With PowerPoint he has ably displayed
Hard facts that sometimes make us dismayed
But we would be wise to simply think twice
Before we ignore his prudent advice

As he progresses through his presentation
On nasty viruses’ latest mutation
He reminds us the battle’s not yet won
And the need for vigilance not quite done

The rate of vaccination should bring hope
Assuring us all that we are going to cope
The double jab is our route to salvation
From this pandemic still engulfing the nation

So let’s pray that in the course of time
The next slide might point to conditions sublime
When the graphs show the bugs almost disappear
And Professor Whitty proclaims we need no longer fear!

Ken Fisher

 

 

 

The Path of Totality

The Path of Totality

The Path of Totality
Sounds rather ominous
That strange name for a strange phenomenon
The shadow cast by the moon
As it shuts out the sun’s light
From striking the earth

This is a Solar Eclipse
And it happens today – 10 June 2021
It actually happens quite often
But total ones apparently only every 400 years!
Then darkness is cast over All the earth

But the idea of Path of Totality
Might be filled with foreboding
Some all-consuming threat
Dark menace encroaching

Totality excludes all else
Brooks no opposition
No rivals admitted
Defies competition

Totality’s path
A solitary track
A one-way route
No turning back

So what else in life
Might Totality imply?
From this exclusive sphere
Would our spirit fly?

Ken Fisher

Fumbling With Your Phone

Fumbling With Your Phone

Your mobile erupts with its jazzy ring
Into action your fumbling hands spring
You would think it easy to receive a call
To grab the phone, not letting it fall

But the modern mobile is a complex device
Quite often you find you need good advice
Its switches and buttons to easily master
To effectively use, avoiding disaster

In the past you simply lifted the old handset
From its solid cradle where it was at rest
But the mobile immediately a challenge presents
With a menu filled with diverse contents

Am I meant to speak or read a new text?
The question leaves me quite perplexed
Or is it just one of those alarm beeps
To ensure that I am not still asleep

When you want to ring someone like your dentist
Retrieve their number from the contacts list
This should be easy they are all alphabetic
But your fingers require to be quite athletic

Then suddenly find it’s the wrong number you are ringing
The disturbed recipient makes remarks quite stinging
And if you wish to send a text to someone
Find your digits are fatter than everyone

Mind you the mobile helps in a variety of ways
With facilities that will really amaze
It counts the number of steps that you take
And its compass and map help avoid any mistake

Your phone is a camera for videos and snaps
Indeed an endless array of functions through apps
With QR codes you can buy goods, pay your fare
And the pious can look up that new day’s prayer

If while sitting in the bus or a train
You need to know something very arcane
Inside the phone you can find the solution
To the price of fish or foul air pollution

The phone can monitor your health
Keep regular checks on fluctuating wealth
Take selfies of those who are quite vain
Give daily forecasts of impending rain

Your mobile is no longer for just ringing friends
Its capabilities simply know no ends
So fumbling to use it is a small price to pay
For a multi-functional aid in your hand everyday

Ken Fisher

Open Wide!

Open Wide!

This morning at nine I am off to the dentist
This lady is long past being an apprentice
I’ll jump up on the chair, she’ll begin the task
Of course not forgetting to take off my mask

The lamp shines down to light up the scene
Showing the gaps where some teeth may have been
There is no point in treating those that are lost
At least they won’t be added to the final cost

Before my last visit a large filling fell out
That’s what my appointment is all about
Apparently I am going to need a new crown
The estimated cost has brought on a frown

Next I am told you need an injection
Not from Covid is this one giving protection
Two Astra jabs are equal to none
When it’s my tender gums they need to make numb

X-rays can see things that no-one else can
I am surprised they don’t ask for a whole body scan
And such oral techniques are a regular feature
I am unable to smile as my gaping jaws they picture

To do the job they must take an impression
To ensure the new crown fits in the depression
I don’t yet know what expensive stuff’s being used
And such technical detail just leaves me confused

Now her face takes on an expression of gravity
As drilling begins to gouge out the cavity
Suction is applied to keep everything dry
If my mouth wasn’t blocked you might hear me cry!

While the dentist wields those whining drills in motion
The nurse is busy preparing strange potions
Sometimes to my mouth pokes in strange things
Perhaps timers, that give an ominous ping

Dentistry now has gone all high tech
Which I suppose we should not regret
Their approach is much more sympathetic
To improve our appearance it’s considered cosmetic

So if you want to impress with your gleaming smile
Be prepared to submit to their charms for a while
When they say to you, please open wide
It’s  to your bank balance this request is implied!

Ken Fisher