It Could be Worse

Despite the fuss on the national news

Last week’s earthquake brought hardly a bruise

Barely enough to make walls shake

But ‘quakes elsewhere, leave deaths in their wake

 

Classed as ‘light’; Richter 4.4

Even more slight than in ’84

When we swept up the kids and ran outside

If the earth moves, there’s nowhere to hide

 

Now, it seems, we’ve another ‘grave’ threat

The ‘beast from the east’, a new cause to fret

A Siberian blast, bringing snow and ice

At -5C, the Beeb says it won’t be nice

 

But some can recall the freeze of ’82

When staying outdoors wasn’t good for you

At -26C, that really was cold

It killed by degrees, especially the old.

Never Being Wrong

Know for certain this one fact

However surely you may act

There is a chance you may be wrong

Perhaps should sing a different song

 

Know this too, for it is true

Some about, loyal to you

Politely as you ply your view

Consider this as nothing new

 

A Toast

Come any who might with me dine
Of choicest foods and finer wine
And know full well that down the line
You too must share this cup of mine

Then do not seek to chide thine host
Instead drink deep that final toast
For that you have you forfeit most
Of what remains you cannot boast

The Threat from Artificial Intelligence

Many things have threatened our lives
War, disease, terrorists with knives
Humanity’s resilience on a world-wide scale
Brings overconfidence that we always prevail

Now, blindly, we seek our nemesis to grow
Racing to unleash a formidable foe
A holy grail with potential for good?
More, our undoing, not understood

For scientists strive around the globe
To create an electronic temporal lobe
The ‘AI’ juggernaut  is on its way
But let’s not wake to rue that day

Once created, how to hold it in check
To stop society becoming a wreck
Pandora’s box; lid open wide
Mankind swept away on tsunami tide

Computers manage our knowledge; they have a key role
In energy grids, finance, air traffic control
Vast infrastructures already in place
Black boxes communicating with their own race

Once these machines are able to think
Harnessing speeds faster than a lightning blink
With capacity to accelerate their own evolution
What regard then for our frail constitution

Not bound by ethics to consider our fate,
Would they preserve a welfare state?
Circuits and chips that become aware
May not accept that they need to care

For earth’s resources they will compete
Serving no purpose, we’d be obsolete
How soon before we are oppressed
If they turn off the lights, we’ll do the rest

Considering Cruising

To pass some time upon the boat
Observe your fellows whilst afloat
It’s human nature; you’ll soon note
Most are friendly; some more remote

In conversation, there are those
Who heedlessly tread on others’ toes
Forthright opinions they’ll impose
Deep-rooted bigotry to expose

Sunbeds on deck are a common source
Of tensions, as you wend your course
Early risers show little remorse
Placing towels before breakfast; their claim to enforce

Seasoned cruisers will often enquire
Whilst subtly inspecting your evening attire
The pecking order is their only desire
They’ve sailed more often, it will transpire

But don’t despair of having fun
It’s a perfect way to get some sun
Each day a new port to hit and run
Ticking off destinations, one by one

And FOOD!, such food, you can’t resist
Meals can become why you exist
So exercise regularly; in this persist
Or remove that cruise from your bucket list

A Brief History Of War

Some will recount from times before

That any countries wanting war

Sent soldiers to some other place

Engaging armies, face to face

 

Soon warships harried other fleets

And blasted forts on far flung seas

Then planes dealt death from out the blue

To faceless foes; and innocents too

 

Now leaders posture with sabres rattling

Distant missiles to do their battling

Madness called war; a button-press away

If inflated egos hold their sway