Ivan trusted us with the following:
"There is nothing more thankless than having to write about myself.
I was born on June 17, 1934 in the Medja-vas, in the district of Natrežina. My home is Kras Region, where the river Timava is sourced, where the Romans had their port.
Medja-vas is just on 3 km from Timava, on the west, sunny side of the Grmada hills. The road built by Romans, and later other roads took no notice of the valley or its inhabitants. Combining of small villages left a pile of stones (rubble). In World War 2, the village was razed. The catastrophic World War 2 left blackened walls, which painted and covered after the war.
My parents were peasants - my father was a war invalid. There were five children, of whom I was, and still am, the youngest. My primary education, which is the foundation of future learning and of life, is almost non- existent. My first year and a half at school, I was in Italian school, then after the war ended, my education continued in Slovenian language. On completion of primary school, I attended the Slovenian St. Jacob's secondary school in Trieste, after which I enrolled to Teachers College.
In my second year, in mid winter, I was thrown off my bike by 175 km per hour gale force winds. I was almost killed. Doctors gave me no more that three days to live. They had also predicted, that I would only live for three days at birth! God decided otherwise! Recovery took a long time.
At the end of the school year, I didn't achieve good marks in Latin and in singing. In school holidays, my uncle found me work as a conductor on buses.
Unprepared I sat for my exams, failed, and so, goodbye school!
After three years of working, no work held any hope for a bright future for me.
As I had a brother in Australia, I decided to follow in his footsteps. That included causing suffering and sadness for my parents.
I boarded the ship Flaminia, and carried with me, unbearable homesickness, which caused a deep spiritual suffering. After a one month voyage, I arrived in Melbourne on September 2, 1956.
From here, we, younger ones, were driven to Seymour, where we were train for train drivers.
After a month of industrious study, I was invited to my brother's place in Port Campbell.
I had always loved to work and nothing was too difficult.
After three years on the railways, I found myself, one fine day, in the Snowy Mountains. I found work in Tantangara, where I drove a bulldozer, and where, when I finished work at the end of the day, I drank tea and philosophised to pass the time.
On one occasion, when Dr. Mikula, travelling Slovenian missionary visited, I was asked to write something for the religious magazine, Misli. So I began, and importantly, was supported by Fr. Basil, to publish some of my work.
Again, after three years of labouring in the Snowy Mountains, my troubled heart took me to the opal plains of Andamooka, then Coober Pedy, where I stayed with my family for three years. I then moved from Coober Pedy to Adelaide in 1973, where I worked in a glass factory until my retirement in 2000.
My wife and I celebrated our golden wedding anniversary on November 11, 2011. We have two sons and a cat, Cenc, who was given to us by Fr. Janez Tretjak OFM at this celebration. I had the cat tied up in the garden for two weeks, so he got used to our home. For this, he thanks me every day!
Poems and songs aren't songs until they become part of another.
In my autumn years, in 1991, I self published verses:
Fall Years - Jesensko listje, which were well received. Fr. Janez of the Holy Family, sponsored me in 1993.
A Handful of Change - Za pest drobiža, published 1995,
Hopes and Dreams - Upanje in sanje, published 1998,
Of the Spirit - , published 2008,
Cry Out To God - Klic k Bogu and
Stars Are Far - Zvezde so daleč, published 2012.
V zorenju duše - Poems in Slovenian
Short stories: Opaljeni Janez Janez and the Opals
Interview: Ivan Legiša, by Marina Lukšič Hacin (in Slovenian)
As a non- academic, I know very well, that my efforts are like a drop in the ocean. I have never intended anything that I have created, solely for myself, but to the glory of God. Here and there I have been silent, then, for the sake of my soul, I have continued, but under pressure . . .
For me, sweeping all before me, is important, and necessary, for my soul. I know I lack education, but 80 years of living is an open door to the universe.
All that has been created or worked for, is surely more important, and worth more than something that is easily acquired.
All I desire for myself, I also wish for you, readers. Amen."
Ivan Burnik Legiša – RADIO OGNJIŠČE
National Library of Australia Trove
Poems by Ivan Legiša, music by Adrian Vatovec
Slovenla, ljubim te poem
Slovenc Slovencu poem
Slovenc Slovencu poem
Jesensko listje poems
Za pest drobiža poems
Locutio - Slovenian Literary On-Line Magazine
V preizkušnjah ni nikdar lahko -- Ocvirki