INTENSELY ALIVE

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INTENSELY ALIVE

What was it like when life just began?
on this planet we love,

When all was still,
yet, so intensely alive;
working in harmony,
A stillness hard to conceive.

Birds, animals and man
together in peace;
No need for dominance or strife.

As I head for my retreat in Sweden tomorrow morning I  realise that in today’s world it is close to the Eden we often seek.

I feel blessed to have come across this hidden gem and am sure I was somehow guided. It is in an area I hadn’t thought of, a chance word in a conversation caught my attention  and all was go from then on.

To give you all a taste of a still morning at my retreat I want to share with you the poem below which I wrote whilst having breakfast under some birches, facing the morning sun.

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MORNING MUSINGS

Whisper of pages turning
by the breeze,
untouched writing pad;
Pen lying idle beside,

just being is so majestic,
No word good enough.
The morning sun 
gently warms my face.

Delicious beyond description,
Blueberries and raspberries
bursting in my mouth.
Harvested this morning 
among forest trees.

Wagtail, Fieldfare delight 
on new cut lawns,
Picking, flitting,
Drinking dew.

Organ music 
through spruce woods,
Delicate whisper
through birches;
Sun teasing between
summer clouds.

Coffee tastes good.

I lean back, stretch arms to the sky,
Palms upturned;
Saying with a smile;
Thanks.
For an another day of Life.

© miriam ivarson

Winged friends

OSCILLATING SOUNDS

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Sounds; from the minute we are born they surround us. Comfort, lull and frighten. They will forever stay in our subconscious memory. Any trigger will set off reactions out of our control. Soothing, happy or frightening.

A loving voice, a comforting rhythm, hum from harmonious conversations can comfort and still a fractious spirit.

And so it is with lullabies. I remember my mother’s beautiful songs and lullabies as well as my father playing his mouth organ. As adult I would at times be blessed with them calling and play a duo over the phone. Tears would run with happiness. My poem below touches two sounds that still today work as lullabies for me. I would be delighted to hear from you about sounds that have made impact in your life.

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THE COT and THE TRAIN

What possible connection do they have?
except the effect of their sounds,
their rhythmic 
soothing pulse.

Embedded deep in my soul, my brain,
more powerful than lullabies.
Eye lids gently close 
as I drift with the chants,

of water against the hull
of clunks from the rails.

Tucked in a Cot in my father’s boat,
safely riding the waves
as he steers with steady hand;
The song lulled me to sleep.

On my first train journey at 15,
excited by all that was new;
the steady, rhythmic percussion,
carried me into Morpheus arms.

Gentle but powerful songs
grow firm roots in your heart.

© miriam ivarson

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Lit from within

Walking the garden this beautiful morning I felt the urge to share with you what I saw.

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It seemed lit from within
Lit by love
and by the sun above,
As it shared its nectar
with bees and butterfly,

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Its brightness and fragility
shining with joy and love,
Stream of healing flow.

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Bursting with life,
bright as the sun;
telling us to fill
our shadows with light.

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Next I chatted with Mr Blackbird,
so proudly showing off
a beak filled with worms;
Dinner for the family.

I told him he was handsome
and clever too;
He nodded his head vigorously,
losing one worm.

Please join me now for a drink,
sitting among them all,
Not even meditating;
Just breathe.

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Hand in Hand

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Hand in Hand

Through reading so many of your wonderful posts I have learnt
that the dream of travel and new experiences live strongly within
so many of us.
I feel comforted by this as at times I wondered if I really was a
nomad by birth. Seriously though, be it by air, by ship, by train,
the excitement is there like a fire within.

Travel experiences have changed though and today we have to exercise
a lot of meditative calm to go through our overcrowded airports.
I find them quite stressful and without going within myself in quiet
I believe the stress would be intolerable. However, the goals have so
far made up for the discomfort.

This leads to people watching which is a great source of learning and
at times entertainment. Images and conversations linger and might
later turn into writing.

The poem Hand in Hand comes from just walking the long way from the the plane to customs. A feeling that still lingers. The rest is from places I have been and that have given inspiration.

 

Hand in Hand

Come and walk at dusk
with me,
I whispered to you.
Let us watch the rising moon
stars and planets light the sky.

The day before I had seen
a couple walking, hand in hand;
Through long corridors
among crowds of an Airport,

In steady, comforting pace
They walked.

In a bubble of peace.

As you and I walk 
along the ocean shore,
Hand in hand, not saying much;
Just listening, feeling, being,
In tune with waves, heavens
With the Whole.

Humbly we accept this Gift
of plenty.
Undeserved perhaps,
Who is judge?

We turn to each other,
eyes bright,
joy bursting forth.

With light steps we return
to a drink on the porch.
Wanting to share the reverence
that fills us both.

Spreading ripples of wonder and serenity.

© miriam ivarson

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THE VEIL OF GREY

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Find your dream or a grey veil will forever blind you from seeing the glory of life. Life in its multifaceted splendour of which we are part. Like the atoms of our body, of the universe. We long for warmth, for love. Someone to share our dreams, failures and successes with. Our highs and lows.

Nobody can find all answers but the truth is, most of us have a choice. It takes courage, passion and will to leave the comfort zone – to find and realize our dreams.

So please, don’t throw this precious gift away. On a life just “good enough” – on drabness. A life lived in the colour grey.

THE VEIL OF GREY

I am fighting it hard,
the colour grey
at times almost black.

Around me nature erupts
in hues to silence any man,
yet, when I close my eyes;
The shadow of grey 
returns with stealth.

I pointed to the riches,
talked about living now;
not then or hence.

It doesn’t work, I am told
in reality
Working every day, feeling drab,

What do you want I ask
to do with your day,
your life;

I don’t know, he said;
This is when 
the veil of grey descends.

May we all listen
hear our dreams and truths,
Find joy in what we do;

Anything else is existence
Not Life.

© miriam ivarson

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The Copper Coffee Pot

I wouldn’t be surprised if you just look at the title
and think;  Coffee Pot!  What is there to say about such a
seemingly everyday object?
And I would understand you, but please stay with me a little
longer through this post.

In my About page I hint that there will be stories coming
that show vignettes of my life both in England and Sweden.

O.K. , I can hear your frustrated sigh, so why a Coffee Pot?

This Copper Coffee Pot is very old, goes back to my
Grandfather’s days. It was an important part of the men’s life
and I am now the caretaker, until such time that it passes to the
next generation. It has pride of place and I often tell the stories
that were told to me, hence giving my children a feeling of their
ancestors.

The poem below came to me as I was polishing it one day
and all was abandoned for the notepad and pen.

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Copper Coffee Pot

An inanimate object it might seem,
Yet, is it really so?
Emotions stirred by the Pot,
The Copper Coffee Pot,
say no.
Polishing this morning,
Its surface filled;
With lustre and life lived.

It had sailed the Sea, in storms,
in hurricanes,
Also in still, smiling swells.
For seven men it brewed every day,
Gave warmth and cheer,
clattered its spout lid to say;
Coffee ready, take a break.

Men with strength of body and heart,
with purpose and skill;
In tune with the elements each day,
feeling the mood of the Sea.
Respecting and honouring,
Its power, its gifts.

Their work was heavy,
cold, among waves,
Full trawls spread smiles.
No-one minding the tearing of
sinews, muscles and backs.
In this age old task.

These men were my ancestors,
part of who I am, and I of them.
Their lives, their hands had touched me,
Given me strength.

The Copper Pot in my hands
A cherished and vital part
of their days.
Here they met, found warmth,
succour and laughs.

An empowering friend.

© miriam ivarson

Vinga lighthouse

All photographs © miriam ivarson

Lavender Bear

 

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How many of us I wonder, have planned a post we really think will be good, only to be thwarted at the last moment? In “To a Mouse” Robert Burns says “ The best laid  schemes o’mice an’ men Gang aft a-gley,”

Well, I have a short record in this blogging world but so far three out of five planned posts have been pushed aside by another eager idea.  Amazingly powerful voices that play havoc with our schemes/plans.

This time it was for me a poem I had almost forgotten; it might start out sounding childish but it also has a deep question for so many of us in our Western society.

As to childish, don’t they all live inside us; the little child, the teenager, the adult and on we go. I find they are all  very alive and content together and I cherish them all.  One without the others would be a life in a box.

So it is that I today give you “Lavender Bear”.

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Lavender Bear

In the small hours,
when sleep eludes,
we sit together, Lavender Bear and I.
A candle lit, softening the dark
him doing exercises whilst I sip,
a warm drink, wondering;
Where did Morpheus go.

Has body and mind lost
the simple contact, harmony,
Rhythm between nature and man?
Does the brain suffer superiority complex?
When will it ever learn its place.
Universe just is and so am I.

Lavender Bear sleepily agrees.

So we look for the off button,
Together listen to silence,
soft hum of sphere’s song.
Without duality
Being its eternal self.

Gently we settle again,
Lavender Bear and I,
To listen, to learn.
From Cosmos itself.

© miriam ivarson

 

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THE NARROWBOAT

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My first holiday on an English Canal walked with simple ease straight into my heart and settled in. Gliding slowly through countryside and hills in an old Narrow boat was heaven that week, it still lives vividly in my mind.

For those who don’t know, I want to give a brief outline of how this wonderful Canal system came about, its original purpose before people like myself sought them out for peace and relaxation.

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The first Canal ( Bridgewater ) opened 1761; the golden era of the canals was 1770 – 1830. During this era most bulky transport took place on the canals, e.g. cotton, coal, steel. It was considered quick transport although even today the max speed is 4 miles per hour. Originally the boats were drawn by horses on the “Towpath” with long ropes attached to the boats.

The Canals were built by hardworking men with pickaxes and shovels. As you can imagine this was a very hard work; the photo below shows a typical scene of the time. Most workers were Irish.

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The network was originally called Navigations and the men working and digging these ‘navigations’ got called “navvies”. These very same “navvies” were also the ones digging and building the railway system that came to mean the death of the Canals as viable transport systems. Sadly the Canal owners lowered the wages to the “navvies” as the rail system grew, thus it came about that the navvies and their families started living in rather cramped conditions on the Narrow boats as money were short.

The rescue of the Canal system came from people who saw the potential of opening them to holiday makers. Today this is a big and very popular venue for holidays. The Lancaster Canal, which I had the honour to travel, was a have a haven to me and if you still have time; please find below my my poem from this trip.

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The Narrow Boat

Gently chugging through still water,
Pastoral countryside slips by
in green, yellow and gold,
cows, sheep and country pubs.
Magnificent mountains afar,
shimmering purple and blue.

A Heron following, so near
a beautiful winged friend,
Breathtaking as he lifts to the sky.
Powerful beauty at ease,
knowing itself.
With grace he returns.

The diesel engine’s comforting sound,
a counter point
The heart beat of the ‘Narrow boat’,
In harmony with nature’s own song.

Unveiling to me as we move on,
Clarity and light.
Chattering thoughts disperse
as onwards we both fly,

The Heron and I.

© miriam ivarson

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All photos except “the Navigation men” by miriam ivarson.

Enlightenment

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I promised myself to post only once a week and have
( what I think ) a good idea – alas, that one has to wait.

You see,  I was sitting out with breakfast in the garden
today, a most ethereally quiet and beautiful morning. Even the
trees and bushes were hushed. Only the odd tender branch
felt any breeze and fluttered. The birds sang Sotto Voce,
so enchanted was all and I know I was blessed.

So I want to share with you a simple poem called
“Enlightenment” that came to me early yesterday morning.
As often happens, the Impish being – I now call it “Water nymph”-
as I am so often interrupted whilst showering. In and out of the
shower makes for quite moist scribbling. I am not complaining,
after all I also like water.
Besides, this “Water Nymph” lovingly embraces my heart and makes
the sun shine in corners I didn’t know of.

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Enlightenment
Do we discuss too much?
should we just do,
Be enlightened as we go;
Feel the wonder,
Rejoice.

Memories of such fullness
flicker past;
Scrubbing home woven carpets,
laid out on granite rocks, by the sea;
scrubbing with green soap,
humming with content,

carpets my mother wove,
every colour, expressing her;
Her light spirit, song and love.
In their creation, she felt gladness,
Enlightenment;
she didn’t know the word
Just sang.

The same on baking day,
she just sang,
it rang out far and wide;
The bread rose golden,
enchanted we were drawn,

‘Enlightened’, with a smile,
she handed the golden fare,
with contentment we rushed out,
happily played as we ate.

She was enlightened,
but didn’t know the word.

© miriam ivarson

First lot out

LIFE ON HOLD

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Too often I hear the expression “my life is on hold”and it startles me. I can see this wall building up, a veritable tsunami wave. Life itself protesting as it can never be put on hold. Will always move.

Imagine the avalanche as the man / woman gets the job or moves home! Should life then crash down and drown us all?

Forgive my meandering and dramatic imagery but this is how I feel. The phrase “ Life is on hold” is a disharmonious chord.

It reminded me that today is tomorrow’s yesterday. With these thoughts I give you also a little poem about the flow.

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Forever Now

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