July 31, 2013

Keep calm and...

I have something special in my cubicle at work.  It must be special, because not a day goes by that someone walking past doesn't stop, retrace their steps and remark about a sign I have hanging on one of the walls.
The sign kept me strong when I had to endure an incredibly painful union strike a few years ago at my previous job, and I brought it along with me to my new position last year for good luck.  Only a few words, but it says it all.

I had read about the vintage WWII sign in an British magazine (you can read more about it here), and I was intrigued enough to order one from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  It caught my imagination, a sign put back and held in reserve by the British government for distribution in an "intense crisis."  The strike I endured was perhaps not as dramatic as a land invasion by Hitler, but still, don't we all have times when a gentle reminder to steady on, keep a stiff upper lip, and soldier on is just what we need to hear?  A year or so after my purchase, the sign caught fire with the general public and of course took on an unexpected life of its own. The sign below would be perfect for my Saturday mornings....
While my daughter, the cupcake queen, would probably enjoy this one:
She was home recently, and I couldn't help but notice that this is the screensaver on her laptop:
I'll vote for that!

At work the other day there was a discussion about what do we do after a hard day to unwind.  I love to sit down at my piano (my very first "grown up" purchase after graduating from college) and work my way through several Bach inventions.  The concentration and technique required frees my mind and lets the tension roll off my fingers.  Sure enough, there is even a sign for that!
But most of all when it's been a long day I love to go to my library, look through the stacks of books for an old familiar friend and curl up on the sofa while escaping into a fictional world where there are no work deadlines, computer glitches, excel spreadsheets and pressing reports.  And if I can't decide which author to choose, there's a sign in my library to help:
Can you tell I had a bit of an upside down day yesterday?  Here's a poem I found last night that helped slow down the frantic-ness of it all.  Unfortunately, I could not find a title or an author listed, but I hope you enjoy this lovely poem that slowed my racing heart   Perhaps I should read the poem while listening to Bach on my stereo, sipping tea from the cup below and eating a cupcake?!

A wisp of blue
morning mist
gently caresses
the mirrored lake
as a pale yellow sun
slowly filters through.
A pair of white swans
sail effortlessly by
in stately splendour.
Beside a stone bridge
built of mellow stone
a rivulet trickles;
here fieldmice
will find refreshment
through their busy day.
High above
a sycamore tree
not a breath of wind
stirs a single leaf,
and down below
a fly agaric
stands silently proud
like a miniature
red umbrella.
Sitting in his fold- up chair
surveying it all,
a lone fisherman
drinks in the scene,
and breathes
a contended sigh…
Here's wishing you a calm and peaceful Wednesday...feel free to stop by my cubicle and admire my sign if you feel the need!


  1. Beautiful poem, my friend. I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately - I've been very busy and am grabbing the chance to visit some blogs on a lonely Saturday night away from home. I love the Keep Calm signs (especially the original). There's something so stiff upper lip about it, as well as very brave. Hang in there, and I hope the end of the week brings you some ease and happiness.