Night Watchman

Entrances all locked and fast

Bolts checked around the back

Windows secured to the last

Holding, at bay, attack

 

Family safely stowed abed

Enjoying well-earned sleep

Though heavy hangs the weary head

The watch still his to keep

 

Guttering lamp gives meagre light

Cold gnaws and gathers round

Corner shadows hold close the night

Time passing without a sound

 

A few more rounds; he might then rest

Wolf kept safely from the door

Dawn’s rays reveal its sad bequest

His burden he’ll carry no more

One Day

One day I will be gone.

That is not a day I fear,

nor one I want others to feel sorrow or regret.

If, on that day, you think of me, do not regard the how or why;

but note, if you will, the when

Remember, if you can, any smiles and laughter,

not frowns and sadness

Mark any things done passing well;

not the failures

Those were my burden, one I no longer bear

Do not pick up any part of that; let it die with me.

Knowing you, in some measure,

you will have been a part of my life, and I am grateful for that.

Loving you, know that you made my life all the better to live,

and I love you the more for it, for all eternity

Go forward, then, positively;

live your own life as well as you can

Be happy and try to share that with others.

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.

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

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