fromelles 2009

A battle in WW1  19th July 1916.

In 2009 – mass graves began to be exhumed, remains being identified and laid to rest with honour: it brings to the fore once again a story of the worst 24 hours in Australian history, july 19th 1916.

5,533 Australian casualties in one night and with no ground taken.


fromelles 2009
in no mans land !
stories shout
from mass graves

hell-trap stories
gallant stories
fear-filled stories

failure crawls
through fire
mud barbed wire
piteous writhing mates
drainage ditches
no respite

blinkers of youth
lure of adventure

an emotional cry
will you not fight for land your fathers died for !
and wars roll on
deafened with enterprise

now i ask how can cycles have an end

Colleen Keating from A Call to Listen

hiroshima sixty-five years on

Twice a year for just over a decade I had the privilege and exciting opportunity of working for a week at a time in Japan. I was invited by the School of Aromatherapy in Tokyo to give the Reflexology section of the Aromotherapy Diploma.
On one of my trips after the 30 hour course given over 5 days, I caught the Shinkansen, the High Speed Bullet train, to Hiroshima. I enjoyed three wonderful days and relived the sad story I read many times called Sadako and a Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr.
It was the  time of the 65th anniversary.  I headed to the Peace Park where I went each day and was there early morning on the 6th August 2010.

The photo shows Hiroshima Peace Park completed in 1954.  The park contains 66 statues, monuments and buildings that stand as a symbol of the nuclear abolition and the vow of humanity to pursue peace.




hiroshima sixty-five years on

sings a song of hope
cicadas have the upper note
the coo of doves
like tenors ground the sound
cooling water trickles
and children play

incense wafts from beds of sand
people bow as they pass
coloured cranes like prayer flags
hang on trees
and memorials

today is warm balmy
i sit by the river near the epicentre
it is 8.15 am

ring out across the peace park
and around the city

Colleen Keating    A Call to Listen       2014  Ginninderra Press.

going going

Ringtail possums are part of our night life.  They depend on the trees to get to their food source. After some beautiful old Bluegums were destroyed, cut down by a  horrible noisy roar of chainsaws,  and an even noisier greedy mulcher, that made the gracious bluegums into woodchip, the possum in my poem had to use the electric lines  to travel and the risk is so much higher. You can see I am very angry about the cutting down of the suburban trees and i love our Australian Ringtails and am afraid we are loosing our animals from the cities. On my walk one morning I found the Ringtail Possum  lying electrocuted at the foot of the telegraphic pole lying “like a sacrificial lamb to progress.”





going going

the chainsaws stop

with night
possums scurry across the fence
over the ivy into the last blue gum

tiger eyes
in the dark glow
white furry tails
curl flashes of light

they scramble
onto swaying melaleuca to feed
before they are off
for their night journey

on my morning walk
at the foot of a telegraph pole
a young ringtail possum lies
in sacrificial pose

in stiff smelling air
standing alone on the street
i look at the bare spaces in the sky
and rage
against the taking of our treescape

Colleen Keating   A Call to Listen  2014 Ginninderra Press

how to love a rock


This poem is part of my beach walking experience



how to love a rock


its a hard thing to love a rock

you need to receive it as gift spend time

touch and stroke
its smoothness
and grooves
flaws and imperfections
hold and ponder
imbue the magic of its radiating warmth !
wait upon it
allow it to seize your senses
listen for its whisper

consider where it belongs
maybe to spin joyfully back out to sea maybe a memory of a beach walk
or friendship
to adorn your book shelf or garden
or a bonsai pot
for a miniature fig to claim as its own

if it doesn’t inspire
let it go

at the nursing home






In 1998 when I began the double Diploma course on Healing at Nature Care the Health College at St Leonards in Sydney, Reflexology was one of the courses.It is a system of massage and reflex used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands and head (ear) which links to every part of the body
It is based on the theory that energy is moving through our body and it can become blocked and this is where health problems can begin. By working the spot that is pinpointed can assistin moving the energy or chi again. We all know what happens to a pond that becomes stagnant . . .imagine digging a channel to allow a flow again. Well Reflexology works mainly on the feet to do this.
One of the experiences was to visit a Nursing Home near by where Reflexology was very popular.


at the nursing home

i fill the foot bath
my elbow checks the tepid water

she sits like a goddess at an altar
regal and stoic

her face shows many lifetimes
lipstick defines the line she desires
white wavy hair swept with combs
into a tight bun
gives the air of holding it all together

gently i hold and massage her feet
in the lavender scented water
feel a trembling and look up

tears rundown her cheeks

she weeps the words
I haven’t felt touch like this
for as long as I can remember