Ts & Cs Apply

Ts & Cs Apply
[Terms and Conditions]

Just sign here please, Sir/Madam
And in no time at all it will happen
You get possession of these shiny goods
Or a sumptuous hamper of tasty foods

With modern methods of instant payment
The banks acting as our willing agent
We meet our contractual obligations
Paying up without hesitation

But in the realm of rapid settlement
There may be issues to our detriment
We’ve overlooked while doing the deal
Which in the end prove not ideal

Whenever we wish to place an order
From household goods to bricks and mortar
We cannot avoid the obligations
Of which these terms are its foundation

Unfair terms may be hidden in small print
The seller giving not a hint
Thus you, the public overlook
And thereby you misunderstood

It may be false to claim it was deception
Perhaps just a different perception
But sometimes the unwitting consumer
Is at variance with the retailer

So the message for us all who would contract
To avoid the need that we redact
To satisfy our doubts or suspicions
Before you sign check Terms and Conditions

So in future don’t be swept away
By the greatest offer of that day
Ts & Cs could surely change your mind
So read them well before you sign!

Ken Fisher

As a Revolutionary, Guy Fawkes was Relatively Tame (2017 version)

As a Revolutionary Guy Fawkes Was Relatively Tame!

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Who can doubt the treachery of Guy Fawkes in days of yore
As audacious as any revolt that had come before
To kill King James and those then sitting in Parliament
Was the purpose on which these bold plotters were bent

But the plotters were ‘foxed’ when the cellars were checked
And their malicious intentions did not go unchecked
Thus failed the plan to divert history’s direction
With the death of those who foment disaffection

Fast forward from those events of 1605
The desire for reform is still much alive
Perhaps gunpowder no longer the agent of change
Other forces at play can  our lives rearrange

Politics, the modern weapon whereby changes are wrought
Citizens express their desires through the ballot box
So elections now ignite the volatile spark
Resulting in changes that may be quite stark

The referenda can trigger demands quite explosive
As feelings are stirred making tempers emotive
Demands for freedom from the yoke of the oppressor
Those perceived of our rights to have been the transgressor

And so on the  European Question there was little doubt
Deeply divided opinion on whether IN or OUT
Brexit is bound to bring far-reaching change
Who yet knows if these will be losses or gains?

While at this time of year Guy Fawkes may be fondly recalled
By contemporary scandals we are not quite so enthralled!
But one thing is sure, changes will come, and we’ll have to cope
So keep your powder dry and don’t give up hope

It is odd to reflect that the prestige of Westminster
May be tarnished by the new sobriquet ‘sexminster’
Let’s hope MPs can revert to propriety
And I don’t simply mean maintaining sobriety!

Ken Fisher

The Wonders of Wales – revisited

The Wonders of Wales – revisited

Llandudno

Once again we have headed for the coast of North Wales
Whose attraction for us never seems to pale
Most of our time was spent on the Isle of Angelsey
In a little hamlet, well suited for rest and for play

It is interesting that even in the modern world of today
The Welsh language is spoken here every day
And reading the multi-lingual road signs
Can quite often be a bit of a bind

However this is a minor irritation
And Wales on the whole is a generous nation
Across the Isle of Anglesey and from shore to shore
There is much for the holiday-maker to explore

The eastern gateway to Anglesey is Telford’s mighty Menai Bridge
And not far way the Britannia crossing spans the Strait’s wide ridge
At Holyhead in the west you can escape overseas
And take the Irish ferries with the greatest of ease

Having exhausted the pleasures of Angelesey’s beaches
The short trip to the mainland makes it easy to reach
Llandudno, Penmaenmawr, and royal Caernarfon
And Snowdonia’s mountains there to be climbed on

Llandudno is a seaside town you really need to see
Its pier, long promenade where Punch & Judy still brings the kids much glee
There’s the Great Orme tramway, Happy Valley and even some copper mines
Shops to spend your money and restaurants for food and wine

For the tourist North Wales offers many attractions
Scenic railways, slate mines, Bodnant Gardens bring much satisfaction
And wherever you go or whatever you do
To have chosen Wales you will never rue

Ken Fisher

 

[See my previous poems on this subject:
The Wonders of Wales – Sept 2015
North Wales – A Holiday Treasure – July 2016
See also my Poem – Dublin’s Fair City – Aug 2017]

The Glasgow Fair

The Glasgow Fair

I didn’t know this, and with respect, I doubt if you did too
The Glasgow Fair has its origins in the 12th century
When in 1190 Jocelin of Wells, Bishop of Glasgow
Requested permission of King John to hold a yearly fair
For the trading of livestock, and goods. The first fair
Was held within Glasgow Cathedral!

By the 1800’s the Fair had grown into a full fort-night holiday
Although it was only when holidays with pay arrived
That people might truly enjoy a break, either at home
Or increasingly ‘Doon the Watter’ on the Clyde Coast
‘A rer terr at Ayr at the Fer ‘ (A rare time at Ayr at the Fair)
Not forgetting Largs, Saltcoats, Troon and Prestwick

This Fair weekend brings back personal memories
For it was just after Fair Monday that I started work
Some 60 years ago as an ‘enthusiastic’ office boy
As far as I am concerned, happy days, although I doubt
If many would take the same view in our modern world

Anyway, enjoy the weekend, whether on the banks of the Clyde
Or in some far flung exotic corner of the globe
And whether the sun shines or not (probably not in Glasgow)
Don’t let it damp your enthusiasm or zest for life
And why not capture again the spirit of the fair ground
With all its joy and hurly burly

Ken Fisher

 

Teflon or Velcro

Teflon or Velcro

 

Human personalities vary to a great degree
To describe them all is really quite beyond me
But a shrewd observer has summed it in one phrase
Are we Teflon or Velcro in the manner we faze?

If life’s problems and trials simply bounce off our back
If everyday irritations don’t turn our mood to black
Then we’re more like Teflon that can easily repel
And cast aside the issues that would our peace dispel

On the other hand some of us simply can’t let things go
More like Velcro sticking fast to each new-found woe
Every change and chance in life’s daily grind
Ensnares us with chains that forever bind

But perhaps these labels are really far too neat
The Velcro types do not always taste defeat
Teflon champions cannot always win the day
‘Cause life isn’t black or white, it’s often rather grey

Can we learn anything from these categorisations
What principle of action, what helpful application?
Teflon and Velcro, both useful innovations
But of personality, surely not  complete summation

We each are born with characteristics quite unique
Some bold and confident, others shy and rather meek
So we must work with what we have and try to do our best
And branded role models should not be the only test

So thank you Teflon, you’ve shown us to resist
Testing times and challenges that seem still to persist
And Velcro, you’ve warned us not to let all things stick
And perhaps to grow a hide that’s just a little thick

But in the end, no matter what life may become
Full of excitement or even quite hum drum
Help us in all things to steer the middle course
Whether Teflon our Velcro be the dominant force

Ken Fisher

[I published an earlier version of this poem in September 2015]

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