The Struggle to Understand

To raise and flatten mountains

To fill and dry up seas

To choose when each leaf lifts

On a softly stirring breeze

 

To mark the fleeting eons

Yet dictate a cell’s decay

To hold the world in orbit

Spinning to pass the day

 

Power wrought by nature

No conscience or regrets

Entropy increases

Obeying laws it sets

 

Is this universal

Across worlds we cannot see?

Begs another question

How can all this be?

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

BBC Anticlockwise Forecast for Seas around the British Isles

Thames, Humber, German Bight;

Fog remaining overnight

Fisher, Dogger, Tyne and Forth;

Strong winds abating from the north

 

Stormy soon in Cromarty and Viking

Continued, rapid lightning striking

Further west to north Fair Isle;

Visibility steady at over one mile

 

More north west in the Faeroes

Pressure falling; a strong gale blows

Contrast this south west in Bailey

Pressure is increasing daily

 

For those south east in Hebrides

Expect to sail on heavy seas

In Malin and nearby Rockall

Westerly blizzards are to fall

 

Further south into Shannon

Blasting winds like cannon

Calmer waters in Fastnet

Should provide a safer bet

 

Expected shortly across Lundy

A high of 1050; Sunday

Storm force 10, now in Sole

Building 11, on the whole

 

Further south across Fitzroy

Sunny spells to enjoy

But further east, in Biscay

Rougher seas and blowing spray

 

Plymouth, Portland, Wight and Dover

Temperatures rising, hurricane over

This concludes today’s forecast

Dear Auntie Beeb, may it long last

An Unexpected Caller

A caller rang the doorbell

Straight way my heartbeat skipped

Who can this be a-ringing

With no visitors on the script

 

The house is so untidy

I haven’t combed my hair

Fish smells linger from the kitchen

The timing’s so unfair

 

No chance to try addressing

The mad jumble of concerns

Again the bell rings threatening

To open my can of worms

 

A moment’s hesitation

Safe this side of the door

Jumping with surprise as

A note flutters to the floor

 

Then footsteps gate-ward tread

As I guiltily scan the card

‘We tried to deliver a parcel today

You must collect it from our yard’

 

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