Last Day of 2022: Making Peace with our Earth

Saturday 31st December 2022 into 2023


With the now departing year
May your cares &sorrows ease
May the new year drawing near
Bring you happiness and peace.  SC. Foster








 Making Peace

by Denise Levertov

A voice from the dark called out,
             ‘The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.’
                                   But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.
                                       A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.
                                              A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses . . .
                        A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light—facets
of the forming crystal.
PhotoS taken 29 th December 2022..
Thomas and Eleanor walking the cobbled lanes of St Ives, Cornwell.UK

December Days: Making peace with our earth for a new year by Colleen Keating

Friday December 30th  2022

Joan Chittister in The Monastic Way writes:


The Christmas message of peace
reminds us that resistance to evil
does not require power;
it only requires courage.

Then peace can final- ly come.
As Arundhati Roy says,
“There can be no real peace without justice.
And without resistance there will be no justice.”


Today on the morning air
the crows are restless
small birds are hiding

there is a frenzy of arkkkk king

we know thieves of the night 
broken eggs fallen from trees
a reminder  war rages
while we sing family joy
around our laden Christmas tables
while we celebrate what? 
we acknowledge our luck  our blessings
with family and friends
while we celebrate what?

Is it war we hide  from or peace?

So, are we simply kidding ourselves? 
Will the world ever really come to peace?
In fact, is there really any such thing as peace?
And, most of all,
what do we have to do with it? 
What are we singing about?

Is all of this so-called feast
nothing more than a too stark reminder
that Karl Marx was right
that religion really is
“the opium of the people”

replace religion with capitalism 
fuel  it with adds
for what everyone needs
confused with conspiracy
and fake truth or not
lull it with  sedatives
not just zoloft or prozac
the escapism  we sell to people
either to help them survive the worst
or to help them deny it?

For now with war raging in Ukraine,
with children dying of hungar as I write ,
with seventy million ( the pop of England )
adrift on a sea of the world with out home 
 some holding on to planks of charity
some with only air to gulp to call life
some sinking in the hunger, 
some in despair

fifty million in modern slavery
euphonize by any other name 
we have to  believe in the critical mass
like Peace Warriors who have gone before
in the Hope of Peace

Mary Olive again pulls me up 
and out of my well
of powerlessness . . . .

‘I Go Down to the Shore’ by Mary Oliver

 A Reflection
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall –
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

Mary Oliver 
from A Thousand Mornings, 2012

There’s no doubt about it, Mary Oliver has that gift in her poetry for keeping us on our toes. With a sense of ease she can draw us into an intimate setting, position us carefully, then without warning pull the carpet right from under our feet. One moment we can be lamenting our sorrowful lot to Mother Nature anticipating sympathetic response. The next, by means of a gracious but firm rebuff, we’re pushed back onto our own resources. The opening expectation in this poem is completely upended by the last line: ‘Excuse me, I have work to do.’ For a substance so fluid and supple, the sea’s character is yet unyielding and resolute. Whilst not rejecting our troubled, searching self, it courteously reminds us that to be fully human means learning to swim in all seasonal tides. This includes encountering really difficult undercurrents. The sea carries this knowledge in its own ebb and flow; communicates it via ‘its lovely voice.’

I love pondering the epigraphs, those quotes chosen by Mary Oliver to preface each volume of her poetry. They contextualise her work in a wider literary sphere, invite a lens from which to view the poems in each volume. These epigraphs also give us a clue to her own mindset at particular stages in her life. I Go Down to the Shore is from the volume: A Thousand Mornings. This volume has two epigraphs: The life that I could still live, I should live, and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think – C.J, Jung, The Red Book and Anything worth thinking about is worth singing about – Bob Dylan, The Essential Interviews

One of my favourites is the line prefacing her volume Evidence: We create ourselves by our choices – Kierkegaard

Both these volumes of poetry were published in the years soon after the death of Mary Oliver’s partner for over 40 years, Molly Malone Cook in 2005. Increasingly Mary Oliver’s poetry urges the reader to choose to live a life that contains empathy, connection, presence, this ‘only once’ experience of life. It also invites us to turn our attention towards those things which are sustaining, nourishing, offer beauty. Suffering is real, lament is necessary, but so too more life-giving is our capacity for joy and re-awakening. This happens when we intuitively identify with that ‘wild silky part of ourselves.’ Noticing, as in her poem Little Dog’s Rhapsody in the Night, the ‘expressive sounds’ a dog makes when ‘he turns upside down, his four paws in the air /and his eyes dark and fervent’ (Dog Songs p51), the motion of a swan over water, as in her poem The Swan, and their ‘miraculous muscles’ and ‘clouds’ of wings. (Owls and Other Fantasies p10) – by noticing such in the world we are then able to respond with gestures that are honourable, partake in dialogues that are loving.
Why do we go down to the shore? To seek consolation, to hear echoes of our own ‘miserable’ state? Or to be re-awakened into choosing to live in a way that may not be prescribed, but is signified by kindness, by singing, by empathy and connection? And therefore risk being reimagined, recreated into a more fully alive human being.

Reflection by Carol O’Connor

A Thousand Mornings: Poems by Mary Oliver

Evidence: Poems by Mary Oliver

Dog Songs: Poems by Mary Oliver

Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays by Mary Oliver



December 26: Our month to be at peace with the world by Colleen Keating

Wage Peace

If you want to see change in the world you have to be that change..

With this year coming to an end we look forward to another chance,
What can i do to be that change?
How can any of us BE that change?

A poem by Judyth Hill  speaks for today

Wage Peace

By Judyth Hill

Wage peace with your breath.

Breathe in firemen and rubble,

breathe out whole buildings

and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children

and freshly mown fields.

Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.

Breathe in the fallen

and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:

hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember your tools:

flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.

Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit, and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,

imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty

or the gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.

have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived.

Celebrate today.

Our month of December has come to its peak which for many is Christmas day, a festive holiday,  a coming together of family and friends,  a celebration of the Summer Solstice  with the balmy longest day of the year, or for some  asad lonely day or just another day with lots of hype and traffic and food .

After a  year  afflicted by terrorism and war we need a critical mass of ‘yes’  for a new year bringing in peace.  Let peace be the way of our world.

Gardeners of Hope by Colleen Keating

Gardeners of hope

Christmas beckons us to be the gardeners of hope, says Sydney poet Colleen Keating.
Gardeners of Hopeperhaps when we are caught
in the world’s tumultwhen we see the edge
falling away from under us

perhaps in time of overwhelm
in this wrecked and shimmering world

when we seem to be   in between  times
with hope   a misty horizon

we can wall our hearts
put on armour of fear
turn away complacently

yet it is “the tiny not the immense”*
Francis Webb reminds us
will teach our seeking eyes

Christmas beckons us
to be the gardeners of hope
tending the earth  nurturing the soil
with love  art  beauty  poetry

it calls us
to be the ones waiting
for the miracle to come

by Colleen Keating

* From “Five Days Old” in Collected Poems Francis Webb

Previously published in The Good Oil  journal SGS

December Days summer gardens, friends, parties, art galleries by Colleen Keating

Decembers Days

 Making peace with our earth, our world of humanity and ourselves

A friend who is in Assisi for Christmas sent this photo. A reconstruction of the simple story of The Nativity. In the darkness of the shortest day of the year when we wait . . . .in  the dark . . .   the new light
 rises and begins its return. ‘And the Light shall overcome. That is our Hope that the Light shall overcome.  Nature shows us over and over that life conquers death . And so we believe.  On the shortest day and the longest night may this blessing make its way into our hearts. However that being said we are here in Australia so we have to turn it all around and find another story  of symbolism.


We have always had to imagine the deep dark cold of Christmas night here in the Southern Hemisphere.

Our Kind of Peace

One kind of peace is a state of life that is free from chaos and turbu- lence, from violence and institutionally le- gitimated death. That kind of peace happens often enough in histo- ry to show us that such a thing is possi- ble. But don’t be fooled: that kind of peace can be achieved as easily through force as well as through jus- tice. In that case, little is gained by it.

But there is another kind of peace. This kind of peace does not come either from the denial of evil or the ac- ceptance of oppression. This kind comes from the cen- ter of us and flows through us like a conduit to the world around us.

One kind of peace is a state of life that is free from chaos and turbu- lence, from violence and institutionally le- gitimated death. That kind of peace happens often enough in histo- ry to show us that such a thing is possi- ble. But don’t be fooled: that kind of peace can be achieved as easily through force as well as through jus- tice. In that case, little is gained by it.

But there is another kind of peace. This kind of peace does not come either from the denial of evil or the ac- ceptance of oppression. This kind comes from the cen- ter of us and flows through us like a conduit to the world around us.

Summer Days



Art Gallery: New Modern extension

Inspirng Art for Michaels  A story that he is fond of  still chokes up tlking of it.





Vale Robert Adamson May loving arms hold Juno through this time

December 18th 2022

Vale Robert Adamson.

One of Australia’s great poets and  poet of our Hawkesbury River. An inspiration to so many of us. My friend  asked me to share this poem with all who mourn his loss. She wrote it in 2013 when she was reading on a platform with Robert. She sent it to Robert and he replied with his thanks and affirmation. Now our love focuses on dear Juno for the empty space will take time to reconcile.
Enjoy Pip’s poem:
The poet redux
(for Robert Adamson)
Love is what he’s about
this gentle man
who draws birds
writes poems about them
and the woman
who told him once
to choose between
the drugs and her.
Whatever he was then
she could see
the love in him.
He gives it now to us
words dancing
from his fingers
from his lips
and from his generous poetic heart.
©Pip Griffin 22 September 2013
Clear Water Reckoning
I write into the long black morning,
out here on the end of the point,
far from my wife in Budapest –
as the river cuts through a mountain
in Sydney a poet is launching
his new volume Under Berlin
and I feel like Catullus on Rome’s edge
but this passes and I turn to face
the oncoming dawn, the house
breathes tidal air as the night
fires outside with barking owls,
marsupials rustling, the prawn bird
beginning its taunting dawn whistle;
I burn the electricity
and measure hours by the lines –
I have strewn words around the living room,
taken them out from their
sentences, left them unused wherever
they fell; they are the bait –
I hunch over my desk and start to row,
let the tide flow in, watch
the window, with the door locked now
I wait – hear satin bowerbirds
scratching out the seeds from bottlebrush.
Dawn is a thin slit of illuminated
bowerbird blue along mountain lines,
in this year of cock and bull
celebration the TV goes on unwatched
upstairs, I hear it congratulating us
for making Australia what it is –
the heater breathes out a steady stream
of heated air – I go deeper
into my head, I see the Hawkesbury
flowing through Budapest, the Hungarians
do not seem to mind, they are bemused,
the river parts around their spires and domes,
I see other cities, whole cultures
drawn from territories within,
though with this freedom
comes a feeling of strange panic
for the real; so I get on
with it, writing out from this egg
holding my thought in a turbulent knot,
a bunched-up octopus. I steer
away from anything confessional,
thinking of Robert Lowell crafting
lines of intelligent blues,
his Jelly Roll of a self-caught mess
deep in spiritual distress.
Outside the river pulls me back,
shafts of light disintegrate into clues,
flecked symbols shine with order –
the bowerbirds have woven colour
around the house, through
bushes blue patterns of themselves
traced about the place; half
the moon can topple a mountain,
anything is possible here
I remind myself and begin to hum,
flattening out all the words that were
impossible to write today. I hum
out all the poems I should have
written, I hum away now also
the desire to write from memory –
there is enough sorrow in the present.
I look out over the incoming tide, dark racks
of oysters jut from its ink.
– Published in The Clean Dark 1989




DAY 17

I found the following quote for peace on google while wanting  to read some of the lyrics of Bob Dylan
on my December theme  Peace.  IT WAS A DOONA DAY FOR ME.

Jimi Hendrix famously said,

“when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
That was over fifty years ago, and the world hasn’t moved on much since then.
A glance at the news and you’ll see there’s still far too much suffering in the world.

We still have poverty, wars, famine, corruption, etc., despite massive advancements in technology.
We still have to fight for peace, though.
We can’t give up. “

My 11 year old Grandson who lives in England and who has just completed year 7  has read a Michael Murpugo book  called Private Peaceful ,which involved him in the life of Tommo who confrounts the execution of his brother for being a coward  and refusing to go over the hill into the fire. 

Thomas has written and reads here a poem in response to his English set text.$cAAAAAHOxGauLNrxY82FBXKKKnqXq&thread_id=583285485$cAAAAAHOxGauLNrxY82FBXKKKnqXq&thread_id=583285485




DECEMBER 16: December days by Colleen Keating

Friday 16th December

Day 16   

We took a picnic and did a lovely reflective walk around the lake today.

The card I had received when we arrived  was called NATURE; AND THE INSTRUCTION “TAKE A WALK . LET THE BEAUTY OF NATURE FEED YOU”

And that’s what I did today. 

The Black Swans were close up on our side of Tuggerah Lake . They graze the wrck and reeds as do the cormorants and herons and ibis  but they realise there is enough for all, 

There is a poem here but it has not come as yet,

However  sitting here , reflecting,  watching the pelican, cormorants, black swans and lots of other birds on and around the lake demonstrates a peacefulness .  

List of remembered birds on our walk to the lake today:  ducks and cute ducklings, magpies, willy wag tails, butcher birds, native miners,  ibis , swallows, wrens, raven, kookaburra, plovers  and mudlarks . 

Accepting each other and letting be is one way to peacefulness. 

Live and let live.  



Thursday 15th December

Day 15 

The peace dove is a birthday gift from my sister. How special for this month of being in peace . . .another symbo, the dove, birds on wing that speak to us of being in peace.

Today it was a beach walk allowing the balmy ocean to wash and wave  over my sandy bare feet .

Attending to the SWW work I need to do and to send 3 poems to Blue Heron Review.  

If you are depressed you are living in the past,

if you are anxious you are living in the future,

if you are at peace, you are living in the present.

Lao Tzu

When things change inside you, things change around you.


And Mary Oliver tells us:

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.



Wednesday 14th December

A year older today . Happy birthday to me. Above is  Michaels gift  –

A new White Peace Lily 

Day 14

It is not enough to have peace. We are meant to extend it to others,
to increase the amount of it in the world,
to be signs of the quietude it brings to those who spread it.

And from Mary Oliver something I often share with others
just the perfect poem for a birthday
it is not too much
not too little
it is the goldilocks birthday poem  . . .  just right.


I wish I was twenty and in love with life
and still full of beans.
Onward, old legs!
There are the long, pale dunes; on the other side
the roses are blooming and finding their labor
no adversity to the spirit.

Upward, old legs! There are the fo and there is the sea
shining like a song, like a body
I want to touch
though I’m not twenty
and won’t be again, but ah!  in my seventies  And still
in love with life, And still
full of beans.

Mary Oliver from Red Bird

This day, my birthday was set down as the last SWW meeting with a workshop with Jan Cornell, and a Book selling market . I took 3/4 books of the two verse novels and only sold 3 books all up as there was as many sellers as buyers. At least it was great to see all the books we as a group have written.

Pip at our selling table                    Jan Cornell giving the key note address