Everywoman by Colleen Keating


The Walk

after the  deluge 
the track was heavy  hard-going 
shoes muddied  bogs to be side-stepped 
yet there was grace in the morning walk

light was breaking
through unzipped clouds 
making the bush smile
 a thousand welcoming smiles
 dazzling  and  bright eyed  

a slow waltz shimmered through leaves 
vibrant red gums  stood friendly sentinels 
mossy rocks verdantly green
palms washed clean 

i leant against the familiar trunk of a gumtree
reassured by its sturdy cool presence  
a shadow crossed my path
i looked up –
a yellow-crested cockatoo 

ferns caught my eye  dripping with dew
 as tears 

 * * *

they are walking too today
along cold corridors 
on frozen earth
they can’t hurry although it’s urgent 
a matter of life and death 

they are pressed 
no time for a last glance back
their homes their precious things
surrendered  for  desecration

the air cries silently
for their wounded homeland 
they are slow 
burdened with babies children elders pets 
 no comfort of saucepans tea pots  books music

 a shadow crosses their path
they cower  huddle  whimper

 * * * 

she is walking now
not like me
she is walking for her life 
and the life of her child
her track is short to safety
but it ‘s not 
she sees a welcome sign just ahead
but she doesn’t      let us imagine
people welcoming her with warm soup  hot bread
reassured by soldiers like sentinels 
many who reach out to help

let someone kind ease her burden
let smiling eyes greet her 
tired  and sad 
and give her shelter

when a shadow crosses her path
let her and her child be safe
and its noise not exacerbate her fear

her words i cannot decipher 
but i understand the language
she is  everywoman

Ukraine by Colleen Keating

This photo is not 1942. This photo is taken this week in Ukraine March 2022 with the colour taken out.
Thank you to a brave war journalist who I will research to find the name.


“ . . man learns nothing from history”   Hegel

“I think it better that at times like these
we poets keep our mouths shut
for in truth
we have no gift to set a statesman right “
W.B. Yeats 
from (‘On being asked for a war poem’ 1919)


can’t help being pessimistic but
but. . .I cannot be silent
in this sorrow of war

the enemy has risen its monstrous head again
where human decency  gives way
to rage that leads to war that leads to rage 

 . . . and this too will end
leaders will  make deals shake hands
some will put aside vicious propaganda
and become allies

once again trenches filled in
old war tanks disassembled  
in time they will build a cenotaph
engrave the names of heroes
not the women  old men  children
displaced and broken
not victims who paid the price

as the English FTSE and Russian MOEX
surge with share holder profits
and each trumpets themselves

no-one gains land
for there is nothing to gain
it’s all an illusion that sabotages despots
yet there is a lot to lose  
mostly humane values   sadness in a mother’s eyes
fear in a child’s heart  
hate and revenge replacing a teenager’s dreams 
the loss of human decency  in the soldier.

meanwhile the sun anchors
this tiny dot in the ocean of sky
and its lens blinks
another ‘lest we forget’


When war kills the dreams of the future – by Colleen Keating

Sending spirit of peace,  of bright starlight over fields of barley 

These are horrible, tragic times and my heart and love go out to the people of Ukraine,
and to the many people of Russia who have the courage to stand up and oppose this brutal invasion.

The  tragic  and unnecessary invasion, which has already displaced more than 2 million people that have fled across Ukraine’s borders with neighbouring countries, is not only killing and wounding the lives of so many -but also attempting to kill the dreams of a future that so many hold dearly. 

Former U.S president Barack Obama’s 2011 speech before the British Parliament said:

‘the longing for freedom or human dignity is not English, American, or Western,
but universal, and beats in every heart’.


We are all Ukrainians.  Our destinies are intertwined with the destines of all others on the planet 

as monk and social activist Thomas Merton once observed:

“we do not exist for ourselves alone’.”

A friend has researched and shared Ukrainians icons that are very touching and I would like to share them here 

‘Nativity’ by Ukrainian  iconographer Ulyana Tomkevych

Sending love and hope to all the pregnant women and mothers caught up in the atrocities of war

* * * * * * * * * *

‘Crossing the Red Sea’ by Ukrainian iconographer Ivank Demchuk.

Sending safe passage to all those trying to find safe passage through
and out of Ukraine  May you be sheltered in this exodus. 

* * * * * * * * * *

The Visitation  by Ulayana Tomkevych 

Sending love to all women in Ukraine who are looking after older parents
and young children and having to make decisions of staying or leaving their beloved war-torn homeland.

* * * * * * * * * *


“The Protection of the Mother of God”

by Ukrainian iconographer Ulyana Tomkevych . How can we imagine what it would be like to live in a n ancient and beloved and beautiful city and be told it is going to be bombed and destroyed for no reason. How does one cope with this?


* * * * * * * * * *