Mums the Word [for Mother’s Day]

Mums the Word  [for Mother’s Day]

 

‘Seal up your lips and give no words but mum’
Shakespeare Henry IV Part 2 (1590)

 

Mum’s the word for us today
She’s the one to hear our praise
She’s the one who gave us birth
She’s the one of endless worth

So today let all offspring
Of their Mum just shout and sing
For without Mum where would we be?
Of our success she is the key

‘Keeping mum’ suggests a secret
Surely that is not the treatment
Shout aloud for your dear Mum
Let none of us simply sit dumb

Ken Fisher

 

The Robot

The Robot

(Now republished)

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Is this the future of the human race?
Biscuit tin head with smiley face
Metal frame with cogs and levers
Up-shot of design endeavours

But let’s not jump to quick conclusions
This is not just some mad delusion
The pundits who predict ahead
Claim robot life will be widespread

They say that it makes common sense
With routine tasks we should dispense
And make the robots do our share
Even if that is unfair

But if we let them do too much
And they grasp all in metal clutch
Our own jobs might disappear
And for our living we will fear

The best way for our own survival
Creative thought will bring revival
Humans should do what they do best
And leave the robots to the rest

But are we sure what best we do?
Despite all the knowledge we accrue
We fail to show that human touch
Which yet might change this world so much

Ken Fisher

[The Boston Publishing Group predicts that by 2025
up to a quarter of current jobs won’t be performed
by humans any more. Also on 29 Dec 2016 a major Policy
Analysis group predicted that in the UK, within a few decades,
we may lose up to 15 million jobs due to developments
in artificial intelligence and robotics]

Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy

 

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Bureaucracy sometimes is given a bad name
And tempers have been known to burst into flame
By what for many are just petty restrictions
And particularly awkward terms and conditions

There is no doubt when submitting data on-line
One wonders whoever compiled the design
‘Cause often we struggle to enter the facts
Of our new Registered Car or our Income Tax

Forms are the lifeblood of all office systems
And it is pointless to offer them any resistance
And whatever the information that is demanded
If we don’t supply it we’re left empty-handed

So if it’s a job application or a benefit claim
Or on-line ticket booking, the response is the same
We need to tell them what they want to know
Or the simple reply will be ‘Computer Says No!’

But for those bureaucrats you should spare just a thought
Submerged deep in paper they get quite distraught
As they seek to respond to all we demand
From systems even they may not understand

Ken Fisher

Car-rot

Car-rot!

 

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What does one say about the Car-rot?
Perhaps right now just not a–lot!
In the past it made its mark
So bomber pilots saw in the dark
Coloured orange and with a shape that tapers
Ready to dance or some other capers
Sometimes linked with the proverbial stick
It’s meant to coax us to go quick
The stick instead being used to prod
Not something that we need applaud
The carrot is a root vegetable
The roots being eminently edible
The carrot is a biennial plant
It takes two long years its fruits to grant
But when it’s ready to eat or cook
It mixes well with meat or soup
But if you don’t fancy stewing steak
Carrots make a tasty cake
So although the carrot may not rise to fame
We should this humble veg acclaim
And if you want to stay alive
Count it in your daily five!
Ken Fisher

What We Think and What We Do

What We Think and What We do

[Belief and Action – are they a unity?]

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I am sure there are many who would claim that
Your beliefs DO make you a better person
And many too who would caution us that some beliefs
Can be the motivation for behaviour which
Is ANYTHING BUT GOOD and will never make you better

However I think at the heart of this pithy aphorism
There is an assumption that there is something
We can agree is ‘Good Behaviour’
Although religion is not necessarily its inspiration
But that by demonstrating that behaviour
In our daily living experience
We are therefore a better person

One other point
How do we know what beliefs a person holds?
More often than not their beliefs are shown in what they
Say and what they Do.
But we note that sometimes the words of their lips
Don’t match up with the actions in their life

So what to do?
Should we say nothing and avoid being a hypocrite?
Should we do nothing so that our behaviour is unjudged?
Surely not! Let’s just get on with life
Trying to ensure our beliefs yield actions for the greater good
And who knows – we might yet be seen to be a better person

Ken Fisher

The English Riviera

The English Riviera

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Torquay

 

This coastal gem, twixt Exeter and Plymouth
Since Victorian times beloved of pleasure seekers
And renowned for the healthful climate
Its atmosphere, that of a continental clone
Has long enjoyed the sobriquet of the English Riviera
Perchance a poor shadow of Nice or Cannes?

However in these modern days when all seek to maximize their air miles
Many more fly high over Torbay than ever sample its ground level charms
Thus its air of fading gentility not yet gone beyond maturity to terminal decline
But who knows – as this nation enters isolation mode over Europe
And foreign travel once again seems more of a risk than adventure
Let’s hope the resurging trend of ‘staycation’ will bring revival

But is this judgment on the delights of South Devon just too hasty?
On closer examination I was reminded that there is much to savour
On this southern coastline, whose strand encompasses tiny coves
Expansive beaches, garish promenades, and flotillas of shiny yachts
Bobbing at anchor, or riding the waves, under the eagle eye of the Coast Watch
And, even yet, throngs of holidaymakers, bent on pleasure come what may

So let’s not too readily dismiss this southern coast, skirted by
The reclaimed railway line as it speeds through Dawlish, Teignmouth
And onwards, via Newton Abbot, to Plymouth and far Penzance
Recall with affection the quaint village charms of Shaldon
Or worship the sun in sheltered bays at Babbacombe and Goodrington
A ferry to Dartmouth’s port, then Totnes, or see craftsmen work at Cockington

For those who still hanker for the Mediterranean shores
Should try just one more time to find their pleasure near at home
The English Riviera may conjure up an image less exotic
But the unbiased visitor will find that for food and wine,
For sport and leisure, and for stimulation of the mind and heart
No need to span the Channel, or escape these native isles

Ken Fisher

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I Thought It Was Only The Birds that Twitter

I Thought It Was Only the Birds that Twitter

 

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In days gone by the ‘dawn chorus’ would stir us from our sleep
But nowadays it’s not just the birds but other things that tweet
Our mobile phones and tablets too disturb our gentle reverie
Their attention-seeking messages, a modern kind of slavery

So relentless beeps emit from these devices electronic
And frantically hit the airwaves at speeds quite ultrasonic
Our message to our followers defying all resistance
No barrier to its progress, no matter what the distance

Social networking has re-defined the meaning of ‘society’
In the past, it was people, in all their wide variety
But Twitter has now garnered beneath its brooding wings
All that each myriad tweeter to this network brings

Our avian friends who filled the air with dulcet whistling sounds
Have been usurped by tweeters who now the world surround
Endless short messages replace those tunes melodious
Making the ‘mood music’ somewhat less harmonious

But I suppose there is no way of turning back from progress
From the World Wide Web there is no likely chance of regress
So enjoy our feathered friends and their morning serenade
And the electronic tweeters who daily us cascade

Ken Fisher

 

 

Making Sense of Society

Making Sense of Society

Or what on earth is it all about?

[Perhaps an even more pertinent question following the EU Referendum result]

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Each one of us, a soul alone
Yet life is no a solo performance
Born into a family – even if only ‘nuclear’
[perhaps nowadays dysfunctional]
Socialised through nursery and primary
Dragooned through the schooling process
Finished off in higher education
Launched out into “society”
Like debutantes of old seeking a good marriage

How can we understand this complicated world?
From infant’s baby chatter to literature’s lofty tomes
From simple fairy tales to the treasure chest
Of history, philosophy, all the humanities
And that pragmatic realm of science
Describing all from single atom to the universe at large
Then technology the mighty progeny of science
And all of these given order by the ideology of politics

How then do we make sense of all of this?
Is this not too much for our tiny mind
Perhaps the point is that we cannot
On our own make sense of society
Rather, the very existence of society
makes sense of us and of our place in it
And only as we play our part as citizens
Can society be to our mutual benefit

And so let us rather praise that we live
Not as hermits on some island paradise
But as valued members of some collective realm
Each contributing to the greater whole
Which is the blessing of civil society
Combining our efforts and our gains
And accepting some loss of identity
Within the larger whole and for the greater good

Ken Fisher

But what about Mrs Thatcher’s much quoted utterance:
“There is no such thing as society”

So why try to make sense of it anyway?

NOTE: IN THE 1980’S THE OPEN UNIVERSITY’S Social Science Foundation Course
had the title : Making Sense of Society

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice

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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 outside

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

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

Ken Fisher

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Barbecue Time!

Barbecue Time!

[In anticipation of the annual TRG BBQ]

 

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Once again it’s time for our annual barbecue
Cheer up, it’s no day to be feeling blue
Let’s hope the sun will shine this year
And bring to all some needed cheer

If all goes well it should be great
Make sure you don’t arrive too late
Tempt your tum with tasty food
The chatter helps you to feel good

This year the weather may be kind
Helping each of us unwind
No heavy agenda to discuss
No leader to create a fuss

So, as we now anticipate
The sizzling burgers on our plate
Meat or veggie, make your choice
Don’t be shy, let’s hear your voice

We’ll try to ensure you’re satisfied
At least you’ll realise we tried
To bring to you a feast that’s hearty
Amidst a joyous festive party

Ken Fisher

The Scottish Borders Abbeys

The Scottish Borders Abbeys

The West End Christian Walking Club recently re-visited the Borders Abbeys Way and while we meandered in this beautiful countryside we were reminded of the ancient history of these venerable sites. This poem I had written after an earlier visit to the area

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Melrose Abbey

 

The Scottish Borders Abbeys

 

The River Tweed meanders past these ancient piles
Whose history recalls their triumphs and their trials
Stretching back almost one thousand years
These now ruined structures testify to hopes and fears

Melrose Abbey, Scotland’s most famous ancient ruin
Built in 1136 this monastery a blessing and a boon
Founded by monks of the Cistercian order
Mighty King Robert’s heart it still doth harbour

In 1150 beside the flowing waters of the Tweed
Dryburgh Abbey was founded, God’s faithful there to feed
Premonstratensian canons-regular from Alnwick came
To build this great gothic structure to proclaim His name

Kelso Abbey’s ruins still stand proud
900 years of history thus endowed
Since 1128 when its founding monks first raised their prayer
Its now tranquil ruins witness to a life of love and care

Each of these rustic structures reminds us of the power
And steadfast faith which was their loving dower
To all who found within their halls
The sanctuary and peace of their protective walls

 

 

Ken Fisher

 

Better Together (Not in the political sense!)

Better Together (Not in the the political sense!)

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[A bad hair day!]

Shampoo and conditioner, a useful combination
Eliminates ‘bad hair days’ throughout the entire nation
Toothbrush and toothpaste used each morning for a while
Freshens breath, cleans the teeth, makes confident our smile

Motor cars need fuel or they never can go far
The humble jalopy or the sporty Jaguar
Fish tastes so much better accompanied by chips
I bet the very thought makes you lick your lips

Pens and pencils are of little use without some paper
If we want to leave a note for our helpful next door neighbour
A lamp without a bulb is a very dim affair
Left in the dark we surely would despair

Shoes without their laces are liable to fall off
But those fitted with Velcro make the youngsters scoff
Clocks with no hands leave you to guess the time
And for many, being late is something of a crime

When washing our face we need soap as well as towel
For if soap gets in our eyes it can sting us something foul
And for a snack what can better than tasty beans on toast?
Together these two will credit any host

So from these little verses I think you’ll get the notion
Some things in our lives are closely interwoven
They are quite useful on their own, and can give us lots of pleasure
But when partnered both together, can be ever so much better

Ken Fisher

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