Searching for Mushrooms by Colleen Keating

Finding Fungi

by Thomas Keating-Jones

Walking in the rain is terrible fun.
It’s terrible,
And it’s fun!

Searching for fungi makes it worthwhile!
I mean it’s not that you would choose a day like this
(Unless you’re my mum!)
We have to go slow . . . drip, drip
dripping along
drip, drip
dripping rain on my hair!

It’s like a song where we do the walking
and the mushrooms do the talking

I am listening to the fungi talking through my feet.
guiding me to the next discovery
camouflaged amongst the leaves
some under the trees.
some in the moss.

… magical mushrooms
I walk in the woods
I step carefully
listen . . .

Go quietly. . slow, slow
for underground stories are around each corner.
along with huge puddles
when you walk in the English rain!

We have to go slow . . . drip, drip,
dripping along
drip, drip,
dripping rain on my hair!

It’s like a song where we do the walking
and the mushrooms do the talking
listen . . .

Next time I plan to bring my goggles and snorkel!
Walking in the rain is terrible fun!
It’s terrible
And it’s fun!
Searching for fungi makes it worthwhile!


Finding a purple Mushroom for grandma her favourite colour.

How beautiful .  I saw the fairies  and the fairy ring when I sneaked up.

A little kingdom . We feel like Gulliver in Lillyput land


We have to go slow . . . drip, drip,
dripping along
drip, drip,
dripping rain on my hair!

Thank you Elizabeth and William, Thomas and Eleanor, your walk in the English countryside  was the incentive to go out into the Australian bush looking for  fungi and  mushrooms, the  little secrets of the earth.


a meeting

Colleen Keating

‘How shall I walk in the world
But looking for light and wisdom”  M. Oliver

you rise after rain
in autumnal mist
to walk out
and slow
not expecting to meet a prophet
calling in the wilderness
until you hear
a whisper of colour

Gulliver in Lillyput
you bend closer
your giant hands
part the grass
for secrets of the earth

stunned with humble beauty
the tiny  mushrooms
slight and lowly
strong and perfect
caps intact
have pushed up
from the dung of darkness
smelling earthy and dank
their miniture purple parasols
with ivory ruffled collars
nod slightly
very quietly

that moment
even eclipses the water lilies
that emerge from deepest mud

on return the next day
there is only soggy earth
brambles and mulch of leaves
as if they had never been

Colleen Keating




5 Write Answers: Women’s Ink by Colleen Keating



To read my poetry out loud and listen carefully for meaning and rhythm.

When I am stuck, I record it and play it back to myself. I know there are modern methods to do this on our iPhones these days, but I still have an old portable tape recorder on the shelf above my desk which I read into and listen back, checking out the lyrical bent.

I get so much insight from this process.


Colleen Keating is an award winning Sydney-based poet. She has four books of poetry including her latest poetry book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey, awarded the Silver Nautilus Award 2019 Better Books for a Better World USA.


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Further dotting and mentions I am proud of in Women’s Ink  from  the Society of Women Writers in recent months.

Desert Patterns

Colleen Keating

Ginninderra Press, South Australia

When we listen, this land sings to us, holds us, nurtures us. This land is the common ground that we share. This small blue planet is the common world of our existence.
Desert Patterns is a collection of poetry that touches the membrane between two worlds with the breath of wildness and our inland journeys. In its striking imagery, we have a revelation of the significance of the land and of the burden of our Australian history.

‘Colleen’s poetic journey invokes the deep spirituality of our landscape.
She immerses us in “a multitude of gorgeous images” as we stand in Tunnel Creek remembering Jandamarra, marvel with Monet at Kakadu’s “blazing-blue lilies” and dream with cicadas:

“is it a place the gods keep/to seduce the lost like me?”
Every step of the way, Desert Patterns will entrance you.’ – Pip Griffin


Mood indigo

Pip Griffin and Colleen Keating, shared poetry collection

Picaro Press an imprint of Ginninderra Press 2020

In days of uncertainty mood Indigo with its 24 succinct and lyrical poems gives the reader time to retreat to a pocket-sized poetry book with an inner covenant of peace.


My Congratulation note read at the 95th Anniversary celebration of SWW

I felt honoured to be invited to put together a few words   for the 95th Anniversary of  the Society of Women Writers .

It is said,  You have to know the past, to understand the present, and to informs the future 

The milestone of our 95th Anniversary as a Society of Women Writers, is a good moment to pause, acknowledge where we have come from , to reflect on our present and be encouraged to walk forwards.

We are proud of our story  from when a small group of pioneer women journalists banded together – united, to support and encourage each other and we can only imagine  the journey to now from 1925 .

We are at an impasse with the pandemic that exacerbates the reduction in funding for the Arts. This enables us to appreciate even more the line of Presidents and the women who believed  in our Society and have kept the flame burning  through depressions, wars, vacillation of funding  and many internal struggles. Pressing forward is a woman’s way. 

We are proud to say we are about lifting each other up.  Writing is a lonesome vocation and fraught with internal demons. Meeting monthly for lunch in the State Library, the heart of Sydney’s writing and research world, with workshops, guest speakers and sharing with like minded people encourages us with new incentives on our writing  journey . 

Then our writing competitions, our Book Awards, our journal  Women’s Ink,  our retreats, the annual Abbie Clancy award for the  encouragement  of young writers, our annual  Di Yerbury residency in England award for a member, outreach promotion of writer festivals and functions to encourage writers. Seeing opportunities to promote our story eg working to bring Eleanor Darks oeuvre together, giving Dorothea  Mackellar’s grave, the status she deserved    we women always look forward to be the best.  

Our past Presidents  have  picked up the baton selflessly and guided the SWW thru many  stormy seas. and now with the vibrancy of  Jan Conway at the helm taking us into 2021 we are here today through the technology of zoom  in celebration.

 It is good to remind ourselves  we are standing on a mountain from  which we can say  we are standing on the shoulders of the women who have gone before thru all the struggles every decade, every  age, brings up. 

Let it be known proudly we mark this occasion on Zoom 

All i am saying here reminds me of the  words in Josh Gobans song, 

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

In the years to come may our future members  look back, grateful for us here on our 95th anniversary in 2020. 

Colleen Keating, September 2020


 Some of the women of the Society on Retreat  in 2017

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Hi Colleen
I hope you’re getting the time to enjoy the beautiful spring weather. We are in the final stages of planning for the 95th and I’m looking forward to Wednesday’s ’birthday’ Zoom event.
Best wishes messages – from invited guests and members – will be read during the programme by an SWW member. Colleen, I’d be delighted if you are able to offer a few sentences (in text or poetry) about the Society. If you are happy to do so, I’d appreciate you letting me know. I would need the message to be received by the evening of Monday 14. Late notice I know – Sorry!
Janette Conway
The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc.
Est.1925 Incorporated 1987
Mobile: 0402 755 768