Indigo Dreams by Oliver Fisher
A moment, as tense as taught string,
Has passed in an instant, not worth remembering.
But am I forgetting? Or are dreams
Materialised in such ways that make them Immune to remembrance, in the first place.
To find a place and call it home,
Where sinking deep is easy but drowning people scream and moan.
The rippled water waits adjourned
And slanted paragraphs reborn
As we find home in place: unknown
My phone is loud and trees are sprouting,
Kids are shouting, people floating-
Yet no peace.
No sense of equilibrium restored,
Half the population bored
And everyday, children bored
From weeping mothers, bound by cord.
The way the world is run has changed,
Days that come are rearranged,
Familiar faces and places estranged
As those we know escape their cage
For-longing they were but
Time has passed,
Seas coagulate and congeal so fast
Brighter days don’t seem to amass
When in the shadow of God, we turn to crass.
So roots in grass lay still and flourish,
Duck the radar, eternal internist,
And if you seek then you shall find
And hold a place with me in earnest.
Oh Zoom All Ye Faithful!
Will God be impressed by this method prosaic
With the worshippers aligned in this little mosaic?
Will He incline His ear as we offer our praises
Watching our lips to catch all the phrases
When communal worship is now so constricted
By Covid rules all our freedom restricted
We still feel the need to sing and to pray
Of God’s gift to the world on that first Christmas Day
We recall how at the inn they could find little room
If they could fast forward the Wise Men would Zoom
The Shepherds too need not leave their land
As long as they use fibre-optic broadband
Back to today, what are the faithful to do?
To voice all the old favourites and some that are new
How might we this year lift up our hearts
In communal praises, each playing our part
The answer is that we must just do our best
Aware that God all our efforts will bless
So let’s Zoom all ye faithful, give thanks to our Lord
Assured that on high our song surely is heard
Have you thought
How handy it would be
If we could reboot our life?
Like we do when our computer
Crashes and we are all screwed up
Of course with our computer
We have the expectation
That all will be restored
And we can start again
But life is not quite like that
The past has happened
It can’t be wiped out
And do we want it to be?
But hang on. I said we had “crashed”
How do we deal with the detritus?
Let it settle
Let’s hope we have not hurt
Too many others
And now reboot
We are not sure if this
Applies to computer systems
(Maybe in future with artificial intelligence)
But we have the self-awareness
To use the lessons of the past for future success
Perhaps not only reboot
But also rebrand!
These Faithful Eyes by Oliver Fisher
[A reflection on Faith]
These Faithful Eyes
There’s light inside your old stone furnace. To feel and think and pray and see.
To learn and hope and live in earnest. I am him as he is me.
My self composed upon those values. Accept these praises from my heart.
Though I may be struck with poisoned arrows. My skin is left without a mark.
My palms connect, My head is bowed. Ascending gently towards your light.
Our words and thoughts, our bond is loud. Humbly, happily blinded by sight.
My power and reason, please guide me still. And keep these weary wanderers safe.
I may grow old and tired and ill. But I can’t be broken if I’m made of faith.
My sins and wrongs have fuelled devotion. For you I can, I will be true.
Though many are called, few are chosen. For they are scared to come to you.
And in the end you shall decide. Will I fall or will we rise?
My soul is weighed, I can not hide. It’s time to judge these ‘faithful’ eyes.
– Oliver Fisher
Zilch is nothing and nothing is zilch
That’s what it means I’m told
The absence of anything, that’s what it is
Nothing that you can behold
What did you do today I ask?
Zilch was your prompt reply
Hours spent in tedious idleness
And assuredly time did not fly
Did you earn any money this past month
From your days of quiet contemplation?
Indolence rarely yields any cash
Paid zilch for your cogitation
On a strict diet zilch is all you can eat
Liquid supplements will have to suffice
These insipid drinks are all that’s allowed
Zilch tasty food seems the price
How many replies to your job applications
Have you received as you wait on the post
Zilch you admit, with eyes downcast
As your prospects are turned to toast
And so it goes on Zilch is rarely good news
In whatever context it arises
Except if zilch is your doctor’s reply
Saying your tests have shown no nasty surprises!
An algorithm as our route map to life?
As if every situation we meet
Is as simple as a T junction
Left or right – no in between
You might use
A robust algorithm for furniture selection
For buying a replacement light bulb
To choose a new insurance provider
For checking if it’s your turn to put out the bins!
As long as you can reduce every decision
To a straightforward binary choice
Yes or No, greater than or less than
If only one option of two leads on to another
You are directed down that route
Thus quite complicated situations
Are reduced to a series of logical steps
Ideal when performing calculations
Automated reasoning, data processing
Problems tackled in short coherent stages
But algorithms are now in the political arena
Blamed for the recent exam results debacle
What happens when the algorithm
For all its logic, doesn’t give the desired out-come?
Of course we scrap it
And resort to human sophistry
To bring us the result
That is expedient
That’s the realpolitik
Of modern life
Perhaps unsurprising in the midst of a pandemic
Curmudgeons Under Threat
In the current emergency state
Apparently it’s the fate
Of all the women and the men
Having reached three score years and ten
To limit their mobility
Whatever their morbidity
Because the pundits have decreed
We are too risky to be freed
I don’t think that’s really fair
To be tied to our armchair
Because many are still quite spry
Unprepared to say goodbye
Why force us into jail?
Our activities to down-scale
And while we can still breathe
Don’t present us with a wreath
There is life in the old dog yet
Curmudgeons are under threat
So leave us free to roam
We can find our own way home
All we want is a little space
To wander from home base
A journey without any tension
To the Post Office for our pension!
S W O T
No doubt you will have heard of this type of analysis
Intended to ensure no business is caught in paralysis
Strengths and Weaknesses we need to assess
Opportunities and Threats we have to address
But all this sounds like turgid ‘management speak’
Pointless obscure words concealed in mystique
To what does it amount? I hear you ask
Why waste any effort on this pointless task?
Well let’s leave the business world to its own devices
Might the SWOT analysis be for each of us decisive
Measuring our own strengths by a little introspection
Confessing our weaknesses in earnest reflection
Strengths come in a variety of guises
To realise this might provide surprises
Dormant skills and knowledge can be drawn into service
To compensate for weaknesses doing us disservice
Opportunities are the things that help us to advance
Sometimes we discover them as if by chance
But we need not just rely on luck to bring us progress
Exploiting new ideas often the hallmark of success
Finally there are threats – these can scupper our endeavour
But to negative thoughts or consternation we should not surrender
Each danger should be faced in the cool light of day
Problems thoughtfully overcome, we advance on our way
What on earth is a flexitarian?
What is the meaning of this neologism
Perhaps I should ask my local librarian
Before my weary brain suffers a paroxysm
Apparently it’s related to our dietary choices
Where the zeitgeist dictates we make radical change
Responding to the many strident voices
Who warn of the fact we can’t stay the same
But it occurs to me this need for flexibility
For other aspects of life might be a wise prescription
Perhaps we should be enhancing our capability
To meet its challenges no matter the description
For instance in employment, the one job for life is gone
Serial careers, like serial marriage, is the modern way
No use hankering for the past, downcast and forlorn
We have to be prepared for living, come what may
Multi-skilling is the message, get it loud and clear
Hone your talents, boost your languishing CV
Step into unknown territory, eschewing all fear
Be ready to become the very best you can be
Go with the flow, catch that tidal wave
Ready for each original movement of trend
In music, or art, cinema or theatre
Ensure that novelty becomes your best friend
To the world of ideas extend your embrace
Let these your prejudices quickly displace
Politics, philosophy, perhaps even faith
In your pliable thinking accord them a place
So just as the flexitarian’s choices in food
Are no longer rigid and tightly constrained
Make open living promote what is good
A lifestyle which therefore is quite unrestrained
I have downloaded Catalina which at first gave me quite a shock
I thought I had ruined my computer as it appeared to be in deadlock
Perhaps it was unfamiliar with the internal working of my old machine
But its initial response to my promptings was if anything not at all keen
But I persevered with my efforts and gradually it seemed to respond
But I did at the start suspect that all my saved data might quickly abscond
The problem I find with Catalina is that she prefers her own special ways
So that it looks as if mastery of the machine will take me many long days
But there is no doubt this new software will reveal her manifold charms
And if I just learn to tread softly I might avoid the need for alarms
I had soon to discover how my data now flies up to the cloud
With a will of its own it does this and doesn’t ask it that’s allowed
Anyway thank-you to the Apple inventors who design this super software
I am sure they mean to be helpful and never our progress impair
In the meantime I will keep up the practice and gain some more expertise
And instead of being scared of the system I might learn to use it with ease
If God is a woman how would we feel?
Would that idea have great appeal?
Would traditionalists be thrown into confusion
Or accept it as an advance in social inclusion
For a few this proposal is somewhat heretical
Contrary to earlier pronouncements prophetical
Where God as a man is always depicted
His gender thus never been contradicted
But others might say that God need not be man
Being all-powerful, to change he certainly can
And if to trans to a woman is the preferred choice
At least half of creation might well rejoice
After all in this age of universal equality
We need not be concerned with causality
If God has decided that he is a she
We must accept it I’m sure you’ll agree
Of course a womanly God can bring advantage
There are few things a lady can’t readily manage
I know an omnipotent God can multi-task
And being female could cope with whatever we ask
So if God is a woman let’s not be upset
A lady-God is as good as you’ll get
Let not male pride send men into despair
Male or female this God will still surely care
A highly regarded word
A word to warm the heart and cheer our spirit
Grace, the gift of God that we don’t merit
That sign of generousity and goodwill
An attitude that never bodes ill will
Grace, we recognize it when we see it
Thankful too whenever we receive it
Difficult to define grace’s essence
Yet conscious of its gentle presence
The quality of grace has many faces
Good manners are thus described as social graces
Elegance of movement thus refined
Manifold ways by which grace is defined
So let us seek in aspects of our living
Through word and deed and in our thinking
To demonstrate to all a gracious heart
And thus to them our loving grace impart