The Massive Indifference of the Universe

The Massive Indifference of the Universe

One of Thomas Carlyle’s characters describes a
“Universe…..Void of all life, of Purpose, of Volition,
Even of Hostility………”

Have you ever thought whether the Universe cares
about us, or is massively indifferent to our plight
and predicament?

Of course you might respond by saying that
most of the time most of us humans
seem to be totally indifferent of the Universe

We might vaguely realise that here we exist on one
tiny planet, a satellite of our star the Sun, set within
our Galaxy the Milky Way whirling round within the
infinite void of space. But so what?

It seems to me that the issue of Indifference
is a human response. It signifies a lack of concern
or sympathy

Yet humans have indeed shown much interest in
the Universe – particularly through scientific
exploration or philosophical and
even theological musings
but have we noticed any reciprocal speculation
from the void?

So humans may not be totally indifferent but is
The Universe?

I suppose this matter of Indifference or concern
might be related to whether there is any Purpose
in the Universe. Why was it created [if indeed it
was actually created] and what is it for?

It seems to me that it is Humankind [in however limited
a way] which has taken the intiative to make sense
of what the cosmos is all about, and as a result
of such hypothesising has begun to wonder
what’s the point? Are we the only ones that care?

But humans don’t give up hope.

 

Ken Fisher

 

 

White Noise

White Noise

That mysterious hum
Is it from outer space?
Indeterminate
It’s source we cannot trace

Some say it’s what we need
A soothing calm vibration
Balm to the troubled soul
Removes all agitation

White noise apparently combines
All frequencies of sound
Blended thus emitting
‘Near-silence’ quite profound

Sometimes white noise
Signals an interruption
Connection lost, line gone dead
Zoom conference disruption

At other times this ‘absent’ sound
A very welcome aid
Its reassuring hum or hiss
Heartens those afraid

In theoretical science
And practical technology
White noise is multifunctional
Not least in space cosmology

White noise is so much more
Than something non-existent
That audible inaudible
Mystery quite persistent

Ken Fisher

Radio – The Listener’s Window on the World 2022

Radio – The Listener’s Window on the World
Re-Posted for World Radio Day Feb 2022
and as a plea for peace at this time of
great international tension

 

For the genius of Guglielmo Marconi we must truly all give thanks
Among all his contemporary scientists he was in the very front rank
On the shoulders of Heinrich Hertz who found waves electromagnetic
Marconi built a method to send out these signals energetic

Marconi concocted a plan most cunning that avoided telegraph wires
And thus sent out his ‘wireless’ signals above all those church spires
As the 19th century reached its close his experiments came to fruition
When with magnets, coils and dancing sparks he made his first transmission

From such primitive experiments by these wise men of invention
Flowed a cascade of ideas yielding endless innovation
Hence crystal sets and thermionic valves (which frequently got hot)
Transistors followed next and radio sets did then shrink a lot

As the years took their course and broadcasts grew universal
Transmitter networks worldwide ensured signal dispersal
Initially wave lengths were short or long and sometimes just medium
For local sites we had medium and long, for distance, shortwaves gave a premium

Sometimes people would complain of AM interference
Then along came VHF giving much more coherence
And in latter days, in a world of instant communication
Quality transformed as satellites beam o’er the nations

But the radio scene was much enhanced not just by technology
Its programming stretched wide spanning all ideologies
From off-shore pirate ships to internet radio delights
Broadcast output unceasing by day and night

So today we have radio which is quite all-pervasive
It’s in our cars, on our phones, perhaps too invasive?
Where e’er we roam in this wide world its waves fill the air
We get it live, by DAB, or pod-cast, no matter when or where

And radio for each listener is a window on the world
Its masts like nations’ flags are everywhere unfurled
And if the aim is that ‘nation should speak peace unto nation’
Then those early pioneers assured its true foundations

And at this time of great international tension
We pray that this ingenious invention
Might spread words of diplomacy and peace
From this fiendish stranglehold adversaries be released

So we have come a long way from that first pulse ethereal
Art by invention sent from masts to aerials
A world-wide enterprise to educate, entertain and inform
The broadcast media have all our lives transformed

Therefore acknowledge the debt we owe those pioneers of the past
Without whose achievements we could not amass
Such bounteous gifts as come winging by the air
An inheritance rich that is quite beyond compare

 

 

Ken Fisher

 

People, Planet, Profit

People, Planet, Profit

In the world of sustainability
There’s a new Holy Trinity
And for those who would invest
An enterprise that’s best

For magnates in the past
Profit came first, not last
People did the work
From labourer to clerk

The planet is our Earth
Exploited for its wealth
We gave nothing in exchange
No thought of climate change

But now we realise
This strategy unwise
Resources are finite
That’s our human plight

So changes must be made
With rising centigrade
And floods that inundate
We can not tolerate

A new vision is required
Sustainability much desired
The planet we must nurture
That people have a future

But for profits that’s unfair
About them, who will care?
Perhaps everyone would care
If with clear conscience all could share

So People, Planet, Profit
Together we must cosset
That all obtain their legacy
A fourth P – Prosperity!

Ken Fisher

 

 

 

 

 

 

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