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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TOUCHING OUR WHOLE

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Have you ever stopped, looked at something so beautiful
it makes you hurt, bring tears to your eyes.
Equally so, been deeply touched by an encounter, a kindness
or simply something you observed during a busy day?

Physically, mentally and emotionally we will each day be moved
and stimulated by what we meet and see.
Body and soul in unison will sing a song. These are wonders that
fills and lifts me anew every morning.

This week I will simply share with you one of these wonder,
The Moors.
Having lived and worked many years in two towns situated
among these wondrous moorlands my heart sings in gratitude.

The Curlew

Walking the moors a spring day
This boundless, wild land,
emitting rejuvenating,
sublime and heavenly scent.

See the Curlew fly,
perfection on wings;
Hear their anthem, their call;
So clear and spiritual
in this expansive dome.

They come in spring,
build nests for their young;
feed on grasses, heather and fern.
In so doing they lift our soul,
to soar with them in song

Should I ever leave,
They will forever remain,
bright in my heart and mind;
They are part of me now,
like the ocean vast.

Beloved moors, so shimmering,
so changing each day,
I feel blessed to know you,
Your welcoming rolling hills,
colours and air forever crisp,

lest it be forgot,
I say it again.
Thank you dear Curlew
for your beautiful song.

A sound too sheer for a concert hall.

©miriam ivarson

Curlew
Although I have many stories about the mysteries
and magnetism of these rolling hills I will let the song
with Spinners  “ The Rambler”  tell their tale.

My Window

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My  Window

Some of my best friends are what popularly

is described as “Bloggers”.

Through following them I have been fortunate

to meet and care for many of their followers

and fellow Scribblers.

 

You are some wonderful and imaginative men

and women, ready to share your gifts. To dare

be open about your lives, your beliefs, travels,

there are too much to list.

 

After long and soul searching deliberation I have

decided to open my window wide. Let the invigorating winds and breezes flow.

To embrace people from around our beautiful planet.

To share with you.

As I dare take the step and cautiously open that window

I comfort myself that to create a symphony we need all the

instruments.  Be they big and small.

This is how it all started.

 

BUMP ON THE HEAD

I got a bump on the head

Walked around dizzy and confused.

A Muse walked in, took my hand,

wrote a poem with me.

I read it in surprise.

Bewildered I wondered,

How could this be?

The muse will soon leave,

When bump on the head has healed.

But the impish Being stayed,

at times I ask her to wait – whilst I finish

shower, call or a chore.

It has lifted my spirit to have

my Muse around,

Wise full of fun and care.

Is concussion a cheap price to pay?

Should I say ‘thank you’

to the lorry driver

who bumped the car?

He did after all,

open the door for The Muse.

A lesson to be learned,

In most difficulties

we will find,

The seed to wisdom and joy.

©  miriam ivarson