Light

Light

 

Mysterious alchemy
In its absence
All is darkness
Sight rendered impotent
Unless this radiation
Stimulates our eyes

Sunlight brings
Warmth and illumination
The nurturing of all life

Artificial light
Chases away the darkness
Defying its terrors
Allaying our fears

From guttering candle
To light gantries on stadia
Searchlights and dazzling TV studios

Spot lights, tube lights, headlights, side lights
Torch lights, lamp lights, street lights
Incandescent and fluorescent
Up-lighters, down-lighters
Fairy lights on Christmas trees
All conspire to dominate the gloom

Ancient light
A right to light
not to be obstructed

The speed of light
No matter can exceed

Light

Both wave and particle
The photon a quantum of
The unknowable phenomenon

Ken Fisher

Survey Monkey!

Survey Monkey

 

Get the facts! Count the numbers! With these you can’t go wrong!
And “facts are cheils that winna ding, and downa be disputed”*
So to prove the case with solid facts surely won’t take long
Our source of truth and accuracy cannot be refuted

But having taken time and effort the data all collected
Collated all the inputs, calculations duly performed
We find our conclusions in reality not reflected
As if our research still leaves us misinformed

Could this be because the questions make no sense?
Or our analysis contrived the real results to distort
We shouldn’t really need to offer pleas in our defence
As the numbers surely will our case support

Pollsters’ forecasts now result in consternation
Apparently unable to accurately predict
Despite all that deep interrogation
Somehow reality they fail to depict

So when to the results of surveys we appeal
We surely ought to exercise due caution
The answers given may not mirror how people feel
Rationality given way to emotive reaction?

Ken Fisher

*”Facts are chiels that winna ding “ = Facts are fellows that
will not be overturned. From A Dream – Robert Burns 1786

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!

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

Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

[Monday 21 August 2017]

As we look up towards the skies
[And don’t forget to shield your eyes]
The moon will block light from the Sun
As its shadow will our globe o’er run

Not everyone will be in shade
So you need not really be afraid
But parts of the U S A
Will find that night replaces day

I think that those who will be in shadow
Won’t miss the daylight they must forego
Because if they observe with care
They might catch the Sun’s coronal glare

I suppose there is a kind of magic
To experience this shade fantastic
And all fear of the dark will be dispersed
As in the gloom they are immersed

Eclipses make us all aware
Of other objects ‘way out there
And just as shadows cross our path
We should not let them prompt our wrath

For the moon’s shadow will progress
Renewed light will its power repress
And in due time the sun’s bright rays
Will penetrate another day

Ken Fisher

The Singer Clock

The Singer Clock

 

Singer is a name you won’t easily forget
For decades this brand ruled supreme in
the world of sewing machine production
from treadle power to sophisticated control

Even today you will find Singer machines
in Asian sweatshops and chic fashion houses
But in Clydebank, Singer was also renowned
for its massive factory clock on a tower

For miles around, this monstrosity could be seen
Signifying industrial power and market domination
But like so much of Scottish industry it met with decline
And even the clock gave its final tick in March 1963

When the clock first appeared in 1885 in Clydebank,
then the European headquarters of this early multi-national
It signified the wealth and importance of the enterprise
And its enormous timepiece was a symbolic crown on success

Unfortunately this chronometer probably hung like
an albatross around the neck of the business
It was powered by massive cast iron weights
driving the mechanism that required twice weekly winding

Over the years of the 20th century several changes
were made to the clock. The dials and numerals
were redesigned and various forms of illumination
were employed, inside by gas, outside by spotlights

None of these was very successful, being too dim
or casting unwanted shadows from the internal machinery
In 1928 a total of 145 lamps were attached to the hands!
Then World War II snuffed out illumination and almost Clydebank

After the war, when some normality was restored
The clock came back into service with new enamelled
“Singer” signs re-lit for all to see from far away
But the fate of the clock was on the horizon

In 1963 the clock was finally ceremonially stopped
“As part of area reorganisation in the interests of
production with a smaller labour force”
The aluminium hands were made into souvenir ashtrays!

This was before smoking (and domestic sewing machines) became much less fashionable!

Ken Fisher

Background material from International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society website.

200 Years of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens

200 Years of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens

 

Congratulations to this old friend
Providing such pleasure and satisfaction
For two centuries you have been our pride and joy
Playground and classroom for successive generations

Thanks to those whose foresight became our legacy
Benefactors and botanists who nurtured this grandiose project
The City Fathers in their own time too
Who promoted the development of the gardens

History tells of the sub-terranean railway line
And the old bandstand at the crown of the hill
In more recent times the Kelvin Walkway
Arboretum and Bard in the Botanics

In the wide pathways and greensward
Now liberated from restrictions of an earlier age
Children of all ages cavort quite uninhibited
While others meander along riverside walks

Surely the crowning glory of this renowned parkland
The glasshouses, Kibble and Main Range
Custodians of exotic plant species
Promoter of science and art together

Past venue for political diatribes to sway our views
And religious rallies to stir the heart and save the soul
Meeting point for horticultural aficionados
And platforms for booksellers and plant societies

Couples newly wed parade quite unabashed
Along the main pathway’s wide expanse
As photographers like the paparazzi
Seek the image that will surely flatter

And tiny tots with their attentive guardians
Flex youthful muscles while learning how to balance
In the play areas especially designed for them
A kindergarten for growing minds and bodies

Behind the scenes at the Botanics
Much serious work is undertaken
While visitors refresh themselves in cafes
The cultivation of the plants is centre stage

So thanks to those who had the vision and the will
To establish this treasure trove in our green space
We salute those pioneers and innovators
And pledge to do our part to honour their generous legacy

Ken Fisher

Summer Moon

Summer Moon

Summer moon hanging lofty in the sky
Its dappled face almost asking why?
Seeming so near and yet so far
Neither quite a planet nor a star

Constant companion of her mother earth
From whom she may have received her birth
Waxing and waning as the light reflects
But ne’er revealing her dark obverse

On summer days she emits a discreet glow
An unobtrusive presence to us below
At night her modesty is cast aside
As she besports herself with pride

We gaze with wonder at this mysterious sphere
Her facial features to our distant eyes made clear
We marvel at the enormity of endless space
And man’s insignificance in that vast place

Ken Fisher

 

See also:  https://thebardofkelvindale.com/2017/01/17/moon

Green Energy

Green Energy

The need for energy that is said to be renewable
A utility whose worth is doubtless invaluable
Has prompted the search for this holy grail
Manifest in the breath that moves these sails

As the invisible air-flow traverses the land
The pressure exerts its powerful hand
Forcing these mighty blades to rotate
Driving the dynamo as they twist and gyrate

We are able to steal from the atmosphere
By subtle legerdemain it would appear
And simply by raising up these metal arms
We have beguiled the wind to yield its charms

So thank goodness for this mysterious spell
Green power from this wondrous carousel
And as long as that breeze continues to blow
Such bounty on us it will surely bestow

Ken Fisher

Photograph Albums

Photograph Albums

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The digital age has brought new tricks and techniques
But one thing from the past which is fairly unique
Was the photo album into which we could slide
Our old printed pictures of suitable size

In those earlier days the pace was much slower
To pursue the hobby demanded some rigour
First on film we needed the image to capture
And thus a selection of shots we would gather

Then the film had to be developed and printed
A complex process not done in an instant
Through a chemical mist the images emerged
Up from the fixer where they’d been submerged

Most of us passed on our films to the chemist
Or a processing wizard who could handle them best
Days later back came our prints all shiny or matt
Colour or mono from their magician’s hat

We always hoped that there had been no disaster
Of photography we had proved we were no master
Yet lots of striking images were often portrayed
To pop into the album to augment our display

Of course modern photography is instantaneous
Image capture and output are just as spontaneous
With Wi-Fi we transmit the result of our clicks
Any problems, with Photoshop we can easily fix

But perhaps these modern techniques have come at a cost
Despite electronic wizardry something surely is lost
The leisurely thumbing through those albums quite classic
Brings back such fond memories and emotions nostalgic

Ken Fisher

Saturn’s Rings

Saturn’s Rings

Bobbing and diving between those multi-coloured rings
The Cassini probe will be playing hide and seek
Sending back more pictures to make NASA sing
Somehow dispelling strange Saturn’s mystique

This intrepid space adventure, extraordinary mission
Initiated as far back as nineteen, ninety-seven
Was for many long years the controllers’ ambition
Tracked at each stage on its endless progression

But now this robotic spacecraft is near the end of the line
Having scored many targets, new knowledge discovered
Moons observed and recorded as in first design
Its all-seeing instruments new secrets uncovered

But the mission has not yet reached final conclusion
In September its flirting with rings will eventually end
Cassini will take one final plunge to its own self-destruction
But its lifetime achievements will all our losses transcend

Ken Fisher

Quote:

Thursday April 27

8.25am BST: NASA tweeted: “The gap between Saturn and its rings is no longer unexplored space – and we’re going back 21 times.”
The spacecraft has survived the first-ever dive between Saturns rings.
The team is now planning 21 more dives before the space probe does a death plunge into the planet.

Iconic

Iconic

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 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 faculties leap into action
So in this case the icon is a symbol representing a function
The graphic 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, Coke or Dyson
Stimulate in our minds a sort of anticipatory frisson

All this is good for the salesmen and marketing gurus
But I wonder if the term ‘iconic’ they have patently abused
Indeed we seem to hear that label used so often in these days
It has long ago begun to sound like an inconsequential phrase

So perhaps we should resolve to give the word ‘iconic’ a well earned rest
As a description of anything that we extol as being the very best
And find some other words to refer to artifacts exceptional
And avoid hinting at ideas that are really undeliverable

Ken Fisher