Autumn Fruits

Autumn Fruits

[Newly harvested from our garden]

 

Caressed by raindrops
Chilled by winter frosts
Kissed by sunbeams
Cooled by gentle breezes
Coaxed to maturity

Month by month
From bud to fruit
Bramleys burgeon
Until they can no longer
Defy gravity

And their goodness
Cascades down on us
To titillate the palate
In tasty tarts and
And crunchy apple crumble

Such joy!

Ken Fisher

 

 

Golden Glow

Golden Glow

[On a sunny July day]

Sunlight’s golden glow
Accosts our sleepy eyes as we awake
Dawn’s shadows scattered
By the radiance from the east

The prospect of a sun-filled day
Fills us with anticipation
Active hours in the great outdoors
Or lazy languishing in some shady arbour

Our spirits lifted by the vaulted sky
Azure blue with tiny wispy clouds
Flowers standing proud and tall
Bees teasing their alluring petals

All’s well with the world
As temperature mounts towards noon
No place to be out abroad in such heat
Siesta time surely has been called

From its apex the sun tips gently downwards
But still much joy in parks and gardens
As tiny tots cavort in paddling pools
And barbecue sets called into service

Throughout the afternoon’s long sun-filled moments
Absorbed in a novel’s world of imagination
Or transported by some majestic symphony
Brought to our senses by head-phones

Gradually the sun inclines toward the west
Daytime pleasures stretched into twilight
The glasses shared bring greater conviviality
Until the chill of dusk chimes benediction

Ken Fisher

The Cicada

The Cicada

[A model in ceramics]

I have often thought that this resounding vibration
Was produced by some birds having an altercation
But when travelling on a recent holiday abroad
We were subjected to the noise that cannot be ignored

I am referring to those all-pervading continental insects
Engulfing the plane trees, making such noise to great effect
As they suck the sap which seems them to intoxicate
The males produce a high-pitched drone, all other sounds to dominate

The noise seems to increase as the temperature rises
And the fact they are seen as a pest does not surprise us
But in nature every creature no doubt has some purpose
And if we don’t bother them. Surely they will not hurt us

Apparently the “singing” of the male cicada is not stridulation
typical of the cricket, but rather a different kind of resonant vibration
By contraction of its muscles it produces those loud clicks
Thus commanding all the world around to be transfixed

One wonders if they would not by and by desist
But for hours on end they continue to persist
And eventually the clicks become as background music
A little less pervasive, if not completely muted

The cicada has been immortalized in local folklore
In French Provence it is difficult to ignore
And models in ceramics are now a major feature
Thus runs the fame of this noisy little creature

Ken Fisher

Summer Solstice 2017

Summer Solstice 2017

A glimpse of sunshine warms our heart
Flowers and leaves reflect the light
The gentle rays caress our brow
Our lips widen with a smile

For now the daytime stretches out
Filling each hour with gentle light
Dark days of winter long forgot
We rejoice in life outdoors

From this ‘crows nest’ of the year
We scan the horizon fore and aft
Behind long hours of winter gloom
Then spring pregnant with promise

But this year we feel melancholic
Mood saddened by tragic events
We pause at this solstice moment
Praying that fortune may have turned

Ahead the prospect of summer warmth
And autumn’s gold and russet tints
But winter’s spectre lurks beyond
Vaguely threatening summer’s calm

Ken Fisher

The Bee

The Bee

 

We have a lot to learn from the humble bee
Who works ever so hard for you and me
Their principal role is pollination
Which is vital to the crops that feed our nation

Most of the bees are social creatures
Being together is a quite distinct feature
Up to 50 thousand Honey bees inside a hive
It’s amazing they all manage to stay alive

Bumble bees also like to congregate
But apparently they want a bit more space
So we find about 150 under their roof
Perhaps they prefer to be somewhat aloof

Both types of bees depend on their Queen
Who lays all the eggs, this seems rather obscene
But thanks to the efforts of that sovereign so fertile
All that hard work of the drones is not futile

Indeed I am told that one third of all the food that we eat
Relies on the pollination of bees – that’s surely some feat
One out of every three bites that we munch
Is thanks to the bees – if we lose them, then comes the crunch!

So my message is this, if you hear a bee’s buzz
Don’t be tempted to create undue fuss
For on that bee depends your food supply
Better it lives to ensure you don’t die!

Ken Fisher

Fifteen Miles on the John Muir Way

Fifteen Miles on the John Muir Way
[North Berwick to Dunbar]


Routemarker – the John Muir Way

In the shadow of Berwick Law we set our easterly course
A happy band of ramblers, eyes fixed on the road ahead
Steady is the pace, chat comes easy, spirits high
As we tread this walkway opened to commemorate
The 100th Anniversary of the death of John Muir

Our first objective is to reach East Linton and the Preston Mill
An ancient structure , still preserved, for grinding grain to flour
Powered by a waterwheel fed by the speeding flow in the lade
An energy efficient method – so long as the rainfall does not fail!


Preston Mill

Enlightened and refreshed by our visit to the mill
We continue our rural ramble, encouraged by brightening skies
Through open country our journey takes us inexorably toward the sea
But not before meandering through fields of wheat bordered by woodland

Among the joys of walking with friends is the chance to
Tune in to the natural world around. The birdsong,
The flowers and trees of infinite variety, the differing landscape
And times of animated conversation or moments of silence and solitude
To wonder at creation and breathe it in to our jaded souls

We eventually enter the John Muir Country Park at Belhaven Bay
This extensive sandy inlet changes with the tides’ ebb and flow
And as our eyes are drawn outwards from the shore line
We catch a view of the steep volcanic sides of the Bass Rock
Featured in works of fiction, including Catriona by R L Stevenson


The Bass Rock

And so our steady progress continues, our faces weathered
By the changing conditions, the cobwebs of the city blown away
Our hearts inspired by the heady mixture of fresh air
And recognition of the beauty of life, we press on gratefully

As we near the town of Dunbar we skirt a verdant golf course
Then the coastal path reveals vistas below of the rocky shoreline
Notwithstanding our weariness, we have to descend
And then ascend several stone stairways which brought back childhood memories
Of scenes in some of the adventures of the intrepid Rupert Bear

At last, like pilgrims on a journey, we reach our final destination
Weary but contented. Happy to have completed the distance
Happy to have communed with nature, happy to have been in
Each others’ company. Grateful to share in  John Muir’s legacy

Ken Fisher

 


Dunbar

Drenched

Drenched

Surely it can’t last long. But a few minutes is enough
Cotton T-shirt soaked through, Shoes saturated
I didn’t come prepared. This is meant to be summer
At least it might please the flotilla of ducks

What began as a gentle meander through the park
Suddenly transformed into a battle with the elements
Blue skies overwhelmed by foreboding dark clouds
The galvanizing flash followed by the distant rumble
Where to run for shelter? – definitely not that chestnut tree!

I don’t know what the chances are of being struck
But this is not the time for statistical speculation
I feel I have entered on a game of Russian roulette
Do I run for cover or trust myself to the open ground?

A few more electric pyrotechnics, echoed by muffled roars
The torrential downpour siphoned into a mighty spate
No escape. Grass, flower, trees all inundated
And then a strange calm descended, and the sun peeps coyly through

Leaving the forces of nature to restore my composure
I found myself content to sit on an abandoned bench
And gradually, as steam rises from asphalt paths and verdant grass
Evaporation transforms my soul like the waters of baptism

Ken Fisher

 

Dawn Chorus

Dawn Chorus

Today there was a celebration
Of music heard throughout the nation
When birds awoke from restful sleep
As in field and tree their watches keep

Around the globe as light returns
Each line of longitude in turn
From darkest night to radiant day
The gloom of night is chased away

Earth’s eyelid is slowly teased awake
As rays of light announce daybreak
Consciousness returns to the globe
From the shroud of night disrobed

And gradually with illumination
Awakes the avian congregation
And as the dawn chorus our ears caress
It’s melodius sounds our hearts will bless

This harmony surrounds our world
Like in each land a flag unfurled
And we awake to this new day
All dark foreboding cast away

Ken Fisher

Spring in The Trossachs

Spring in The Trossachs

Nature’s beauty revealed in all its glory, sensation uninhibited
Delights for the eye and ear and nose, even touching the heart
A whole spectrum of colour, bird-song of every pitch and rhythm
Sweeping panoramas to trigger our emotional response

This tract of Scottish land might be mistaken for Swiss grandeur
Its steep rising hillsides scale the heights above the lochs
Lomond, Katrine, Archray, Ard, and Venachar
And even our home grown lake, Menteith

Here forest tracks and lochside paths meander
Revealing at each turn of the way some secret of the wild
At springtime new life emerges from the gloom of winter
And everywhere the stirrings of rebirth

Ben A’an and Venue rub shoulders with Ben Lomond
To dominate the skyline o’er the glens
Romantic tales surround Rob Roy the outlaw
John Ruskin and Millais captivated by this terrain

The geography and geology yet another source of fascination
And history has added its own insights to the tale
Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Victoria and Sir Walter Scot
All play their part in the allure which is the Trossachs

Ken Fisher

This is the Way – Walk in it

This is the Way – Walk in It

(Some advice to all walkers)

[Isaiah 30:21]

Le Chameau Aubrac Walking Boot

Perhaps when meandering in the rural hinterland
Beyond our city’s sprawling network of residential streets
We find some purpose and direction by knowing our intended way
Our leader’s instructions might echo the words of the prophet
“This is the way. Walk in it!”

Of course it can be pleasurable simply to roam without restraint
And indeed there may be occasions when this is by far the better choice
But mostly we feel the need to have some purpose, some aim in mind
Thus a route will have been planned, to provide order and direction
‘This is the Way. Walk in it!”

I wonder if our life can always be so structured?
At the outset, in infancy control is not yet delegated to us
And o’er the early years of childhood our family points out the way
It is not for us to dictate to our elders or our betters
“This is the Way. Walk in it!”

But as the years pass and we gain a measure of maturity
We seek to acquire more autonomy over the choice of the way ahead
And indeed it is expected of us that we will find our own direction
Having in the meantime striven to acquire the skills for self-advancement
“This is the way. Walk in it!”

Thus throughout our life we will seek to follow a meaningful course
But it will not always be possible to see a clear way ahead
We will be assailed by all manner of challenges and problems
And as we are buffeted to and fro we will search for a voice to say
“This is the way. Walk in it!”

And it is then that we will yearn most earnestly for the prophetic call,
The voice in our ear, the steadying hand to seize our own
But in this modern sophisticated age, to whom will we turn
To receive that word to guide, to direct, to reassure?
“This is the way. Walk in it!”

Ken Fisher

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Maps

Maps

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Maps, our bird’s eye view of the world
Miraculously we soar on high drone-like
O’er the expansive land and sea
Towns and countryside in microcosm

Maps compiled for different purposes
Physical maps to show the hills and valleys
Rivers and lakes, forests and fields
Contour lines trace shape and elevation

Maps political claiming who owns what
The boundaries of the nations
The states therein and cities all identified
Motorways, roads, canals and railways

Maps economic show the sites
Of natural resources, farmland and mines
Factories, mills and fisheries
So much of manufacturing now museum pieces

Maps that let us dive below the surface
Sensing the contours of the ocean floor
Vast trenches and ridges there detected
The conflict of tectonic plates

Maps that are more like diagrams
Zoomed in we confront the details
The London Tube, the airlines’
Skyways to sunshine on exotic shores

Maps of larger scale to take us under streets
Channels and tunnels for our utilities
Power and gas, water and sewerage
And fibre optics for the internet and phones

Maps are not just tied to location
They are also a snapshot in time. There and then
Thus maps can unite geography with history
Depicting the past in time and place

So give thanks for Maps and the work of all cartographers
From the pioneers of the Ordnance Survey
To those who deploy todays drones and satellites
From canvas sheets to GPS the world laid bare

Ken Fisher

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Atlas

Danger – Chilly Water

Danger – Chilly Water

images

I went for a swim in the public baths
I thought it might do me good
But the water felt like an icy blast
And my swearing was quite rude

Nobody warned me of the shock I would get
As I plunged straight into the water
It was an experience that I cannot forget
In future I’ll wait till it’s hotter

So if by an urge you are suddenly seized
To leap into some lido or pool
By this temptation do not be deceived
Or you may seethe while trying to be ‘cool’

Ken Fisher