I had this poem ready to publish on Saturday morning but suddenly
found myself in my very doubting Thomas mood.
What am I giving? A sweet story from childhood.

My spirit got low and I got a feeling of meaninglessness when I 
listened and looked at events in the world.
This planet we say we love but yet destroy.

If it was lack of scientific knowledge we could be forgiven but can 
complacency for the sake of earning more money be forgiven.
Consequences are known but hidden in strongholds. After all, we will 
all be gone when the worst events take place. Our children, grandchildren and future generations are left to deal with the result.

Then, for some unknown reason I read a poem by “Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
‘To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards out of man”
Reading up about this woman I was in tears and you can understand why
I felt doubts about what I am writing. Although I have attempted poems on this subject in e.g. “Flower to behold”, I feel we all can say it stronger and with passion. Believing so matters.

Meanwhile I will after all post my peaceful poem as we also need to know what is important in life. 



I remember him clearly, my gamlefarfar
though I was only five, six and seven;
First memory to enter my conscious being
is one of happiness and warmth,
His eyes glinting like sun on sea, with mystery,
as they rested on me. 

I was told he is my gamlefarfar,
that didn’t mean much to me;
It does mean he is my kin.

I know I will find him in his treasured workshop,
slowly I open the door, he waves me in;
On the workbench are placed
some matchboxes,
I know they are for me,

excited I walk forward
give a curtsy, as our eyes speak,
His with humour and love,
mine shy and happy.

He has tought me to build
out of match boxes,
furnitures for my tiny dolls;
he left out paint and glue;

Happily I set to 
using fantasy and dreams
all the while feeling his warmth.

He smokes a pipe ever now and again
whilst creating woodwork so grand,
I am in awe and keep quiet
as not to disturb,
but often I catch his eyes on me, with that glint.

As his pipe burns out,
we work together 
in total harmony,

I hope he also will tell me a tale.

© miriam ivarson

gamlefarfar = great grandfather


50 thoughts on “THE MATCHBOXES

  1. Utterly beautiful again Miriam. Your words soar to the heavens as you write about your childhood on the Island and leaves me with the feeling you were brought up in a magical realm, and maybe that is a place all children should be at some point. As I read this I imagined you treading along a songline to his workshop. Thank you for the smile you’ve given me today.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you so much Nigel and if one gives a smile it is a gift from above. I am sure my gamlfarfar would tell us.😊 .
    You are right, this was a magical place to grow up and so free. All adults kept a look out on the children running around…finding their songlines. You are right
    I would skip along exactly the same short cuts – songlines – without thinking.
    Just excited. Rarely walked…..skipped.

    p.s. Sadly I haven’t got any physical picture of his workshop so the picture in the post is a free image one.


    • Thank you so much Roland for your kind response. I didn’t myself
      realise how much of the memories about him included the feeling of
      being seen, being loved. What bigger gift can anyone give.
      It is said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bernadette, just a big thank you is how I feel. A balm for the soul, how wonderfully put. How we all would like to be that.
      Isn’t it odd how memories like this just sit there until one day you tell someone, in this case my daughter.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad you did post this Miriam…there is so much encapsulated in these memories that I would hope continues in this world and also inspires a rejuvenation of our way of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thank you Janice, how beautifully said. Funny that, you are right, today
      it has been like an avalanche of thoughts around the life out there and how
      genuine and happy people seemed.
      I will stop here before I write another post.😊🦋

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful emotions, Miriam. I can just imagine your gamlafarfar’s workshop; that of a true craftsman.The simple things in life. His workshop, his pipe and the smiles of his barnbarn’s barn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Peter for your comment. Yes, the emotions and memories we carry like
      warm glow within. I feel so glad that I was surrounded with so much warmth as I grew.
      An oldfashioned place maybe where all generations lived naturally together and felt respect
      for each other.


  5. What a dreamy memory Miriam…nostalgia is so persuasive, it carries us into those alleys that magically come to life the moment we enter! Your words have a strange pull as they carried me along to visualise your carefree days of dolls and their fun furniture!
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem…just because the world is witnessing some appalling events, we can’t take our eyes off from the positive aspects of life. Keep inspiring hope dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Balroop for your warm comment. The memory is one of many who carry strength and light and I somehow now feel are a guidance to what is right for us all. To live and share.
      Be it being with the elders or your parents…
      I was quite a tomboy as well and would equally beg material from my father to build hideouts among the rocks,. With friends.
      Thank you for saying this poem inspires hope, that makes it worth while. Maybe that is what is needed in a world that could otherwise turn cold.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A sweet tale from your childhood makes people feel happy and smile, Miriam. That is a miracle in itself. I give cans of meat to six beggars and make cakes for charity events but I also sometimes feel as if it makes not real difference. We have to remember that our small gestures are worthwhile to the recipients even if they seem small to us in the face of so much poverty and sadness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robbie, thank you for your warm comment. To give help as you do and many of us one way or the other
      is not as little as we think. I used to feel that hopelessness when I was little and realised how big the earth was. Now I comfort myself with the trust in the ripple effect . If there are millions of us giving from our
      hearts and purse it will matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful, Miriam. Thanks for sharing. I, too, have doubts about posting some of my reflections on life. The positive feedback is always heartening.

    Western society tends to put older people into matchboxes, following retirement. Yet, we have important roles to play in preparing young minds – our grandchildren or great-grandchildren (as in your story) – to find their place in a hectic and oftentimes heartless world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Rosaliene, you are so right about positive feedback.:)

      I couldn’t agree more with you about putting the elders into “match boxes” or so called homes. All tribal cultures have shown the importance of honouring their elders and everyone helping each other. The elders having time for the young and often wisdom to share. I grew up on an island that was quite isolated and hence kept the old traditions at least a generation longer. It meant a lot and I am grateful.


  8. This is a beautiful childhood recollection Miriam, and I am so pleased you overcame your doubt and posted it. There are so many good things passed down through family generations and each poem and story we write becomes something for future generations. It shows not all of the world is focused on power or profit. This is a wonderful poem to start off the week and set it off in good spirit. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Davy, thank you so much for your warming response. You are right about passing on to future generations. Isn’t that just what much of bygone literature does….and poems.:) we all have them I am sure.
    Yes I overcame my doubts this time. I wonder how many feel similar hesitation before posting. Glad it made your spirit light.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Tina, how lovely your comment. I smile at quelling doubting Thomas. I wonder how many of us needed to do that at times. 😊 .
      My great grandfather and many others in my young life are each worthy of
      my tribute to them. I wish for all to have people like that in their lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Miriam, I’m with you the child here, surrounded by the warmth and love of your gamlefarfar, watching you both create, seeing the glint in his eyes! 😀Wonderfully descriptive and capturing a moment of purity! Never doubt for a second about posting and sharing your poems … they all touch us, make a difference.

    I’ve never heard of Ella Wheeler Wilcox but off to explore as I’m so taken with this quote and the work of a woman who reduced you to tears. Hugs xxxx❤️🌻


  11. Annika, you are a again shining your loving comments, this time I am the lucky one. I am so very glad that I could convey this moment of love and happiness between the girl and her Gamlefarfar. I have a feeling you might have experienced something similar as your words express deep understanding.
    You have twisted my arm 😊 , so I will continue publishing poems and stories as they come along. Hopefully finally understanding that it is in the sharing we gain, not in hiding in the bushes.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a wonderful nostalgic poem, Miriam. It makes my heart song to read of your memories of these lovely days spent with your Great grandfather. These memories are so precious and this is a beautiful tribute. ❤


  13. Thank you for your beautiful comment Sarah. How glad I am that it made your heart sing…maybe it reminded you about happy memories.
    We are lucky when there are strong and loving people around us as we grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What a wonderful memory, and you’ve shared it with us. Your words reminded me of my own grandfather (I never knew my great-grandfathers). Treasured times with him. Another beautiful poem, stirring memories of my own family members who have passed on. Have a great week, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Miriam for your warming comment. I am glad I could make my
      great grandfather come alive and his big capacity for love.
      I realise how many memories of various strong charachters from childhood that afterwards started tumbling out. Wow, so much richness.💕🦋

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you JC for your deep and wonderful response. I like the words
      About all that is sacred in this world. It is a simple story but I guess you are right. Such true and honest love is sacred and part of what is good.


  15. Thank you Adrienne for your wonderful comment. All the memories and events in our life that just burst into light by some little thing. I saw a matchbox like the one in my first picture and memories just tumbled and I felt warm.
    Life is always worth our gratitude.


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