White Pebbles Spring Meeting and Ginko 2023

White Pebbles Spring Meeting and Ginko 2023

Thank you  Kent Robinson for the following write up .

White Pebbles haiku poets gathered at the Edogawa Gardens at the Gosford Regional Gallery and Arts Centre on Saturday morning, 16th September, 2023. Present were Maire Glacken, Marilyn Humbert, Gwen Bitti, Colleen Keating, Beverley George and Kent Robinson, with apologies received from Samantha Sirimanne Hyde and Michael Thorley.

A glorious spring day greeted us. Ducks and koi carp shared the pond and water features of the gardens. As they fed the ducks, children’s laughter echoed among the beautifully manicured flora. Spring blooms of every hue brightened the walkways.

We met in the Gallery’s cafe for a catch-up before a stroll through the gardens. Over coffee, Marilyn Humbert, advised us that, in order to refine our sense of observation as we strolled, we look into the small spaces – distill whatever we saw, and trust ourselves and our senses as we composed our haiku.  We strolled the garden, feeling the warmth of the spring sunshine on our faces. The scent of blooms bursting all about and the joy of being immersed in birdsong were intoxicating.

Now it was time for a round table meeting in the niche beneath the art gallery. At the beginning of the meeting our dear friend and valued member of White Pebbles, Gail Hennessy, who sadly recently passed, was remembered fondly. The round table about which we gather is extremely significant to our group. Around it we may share ideas and each single poet is as one with all others. How fortunate we feel, that White Pebbles is such a mutually supportive group!

Beverley George distributed for purchase “under the same moon”, the Fourth Australian Haiku Anthology, in which several White Pebbles members have haiku. (Many thanks to Vanessa Proctor for furnishing Beverley with copies of this fine anthology in advance of our meeting.)

Echidna Tracks 11 was spoken of, with congratulations to all White Pebbles poets who feature therein.

We then moved on to the business of the day. Beverley had asked that we each bring a haiku that had inspired us in the early days of our haiku journey, as well as one of our own that we had composed in those early days. Matsuo Basho featured strongly as an early influence to many.

Next, we considered the haiku and images that had been gathered on the garden walk earlier. This proved an extremely productive exercise. Beverley presented some haiku that Michael Thorley had sent in. Thank you, Michael. Your sensitive haiku were a fine addition to our meeting and very much appreciated by all.

Marilyn Humbert had prepared a presentation entitled “The Art of Discovery”. She advised us in composing haiku to observe light and shade at different times throughout the day, different seasons, different weather conditions, different sounds and different moods. And to be aware of the ephemeral things – feathers, stones, bird calls, the shapes of twigs and leaves, tree trunks and bark, rough and smooth. To trust our senses. Helpfully, Marilyn supplied a number of examples of haiku written from different points of view. Many thanks to Marilyn for a most informative and thought provoking presentation.

At this point, towards the end of our meeting, we acknowledged our members who have recently had books published.
* Gwen Bitti has had a novel entitled “Between Two Worlds” published by Ginninderra Press. Gwen spoke of the writing of “Between Two Worlds” and furnished each White Pebble poet with a sachet of fragrant herbs, a snippet of silk and one of hessian to enhance sensory perception, as she spoke.
* Colleen Keating’s carefully researched book, “The Dinner Party” was also published by Ginninderra Press and we enjoyed hearing about it.
* And we recalled that only recently, in 2022, Samantha Sirimanne Hyde’s book “The Lyrebird’s Cry” was published.
Congratulations All!

This concluded the White Pebbles Spring meeting 2023. The general sentiment was all are looking forward to our summer ginko.

Kent Robinson




Spring Walk in Wyrrabalong National Park by Colleen Keating


In the bush I hear the trees
ferns, palms and moss
whispering their wisdom
renewing my being
healing my soul
– Colleen Keating

After winter

Still dark enough to note the morning star
she walks again the bush track. A few magpies
fossick in frosty grass for first feed. Swallows dart

among the insect motes off the dandelion spent heads
and fly back to perch on telegraph wires.
It is still cold. Apple-crisp and silver.

The clouds open as silk fans, their bone
displayed like veins of a feather. The magpies
sing now from branches above, and she thinks too

how their morning song is her Delphian oracle.
She walks the track that’s a bracelet of charms
taps a branch watching a spangle of diamond–

dew drops light the way while the early light captures
a scarred tree trunk hollowed black like Munch’s Scream.
A cockatoo perched above glints with the gold                                      

of a mohawk fiend, soon in flight it will have the air
of a Tiger Moth in a opal-tinted sky. She has always loved
the walks here, the brush turkey stepping from

its scratchy music of an old LP, the whipbird checking
on its mate from the high river gums, the wrens chirping
from the safety of undergrowth, yet today it is a rupture

of spring that sings a rhapsody of song: purple milkwort
ravishing attention, pink wax Eriostemon, wedding veil
showers of boronia and orange pea plants sitting

in their spiky foliage. There is joy in watching the earth
re-awaken, the inevitable journey out of a winter
segueing towards summer. Ahead she can see

why she came – a wild display of flannel flowers. Petals
still mostly closed – their green tips a rising choir ready to sing
an Alleluia chorus. Open petals like earth-bound stars have                                                

the velvety feel of a childhood dress and sparkle in the shifting
light. She loves those Banksia trees that shade the groves
flamboyant with rough bearded seed pods like sleepy-eyed owls

wisely peering down: with the zephyr of a breeze there’s
a shuffling sound as if feathers are being ruffled or a yellow
skirt swinging through dried grass. The sun now on the shoulder

beams into the canopy of green and she will walk back
her mind pianissimo as a gentle Brahms largo passage
alert to nature watching, her enlivened step. 

Colleen Keating



In Search of Hildegard goes from strength to strength by Colleen Keating

I am thrilled to learn my original poem  In Search of Hildegard goes on  from strength to strength. Originally short listed and commended by the Society of Women Writers  Giving Women a Voice National Poetry Competition in 2019, then included in  the amazing new book Hildegard Speaks by Dr. Annette Esser for the Hildegard Pilgrimage in Germany, translated into German by the talented Dr. Annette Esser, the founder of the Scivias Institute  for Art and Spirituality See below  . . (love to hear it spoken in Hildegard’s mother tongue) and now short listed as a short film in the Bogota,  Columbia Short Film Festival “I Am Peace.”

All exciting as the Pilgrimage is on at the moment through the Pilgrims Way to arrive at the Benedictan Abbey overlooking the Rhine River and Bingen . on Hildegard’s Feast Day 17th September.



in search of Hildegard of Bingen

I take a train out of Bingen
through the Rhine Valley
on this sweaty summers day
trek up a steep hill
relieved to find an old sign klosterruine
which points to a verdant track
into a cool shady grove

here remnants of the twelfth century monastery
moss-mottled stone walls
mostly buried by vines
and embedded tree roots
is Hildegard’s world

standing in this moment
with the outlines of another world
time is shapeless
the divide of centuries a blur

only my mind’s eye can see
a spirited young woman
flourishing herb gardens

she prepares salves and tonics
attends the sick
listens to the breeze
and finds God in the hills above her

kairos time
for her visions writings mandalas and music
later a powerful feminist voice
against corruption patriarchy and senseless war

the earth is our mother she would sing
revere and care for her
if we exploit and savage her
she will be out off balance
and the price will be high

then silence for nine hundred years
in our time
the scales are tipped loudly out of balance
the all ords and the dow are the measure
a daily intake of massacres crowds our entertainment
soul mutilation makes soldiers unable to cry

I lean against the wall marked Hildegard’s cloister
in the lush shade of an almond tree
hanging fruit voluptuous now
is falling to emptiness
the void
the nothingness
how human to fear the waiting
for fullness to return

scattered around me
are rotting almond fruits
flies enjoying their feast
the decay fodder for the soil

my eyes scan for her presence

a maiden hair fern
grooved into a crumbling niche
catches my eye
delicate and tenacious
I feel a quickening
like a first flutter of new life

too often the fragile the intimate whisper
the lightness of touch
the flicker of a sanctuary lamp
like the breath are portals and easily missed

I ponder the rise and fall of my breathing
listen to the rhythmic heart beat
hear veriditas chants in the crumbling walls

veriditas murmurs hildegard

hildegard is here
I do not flinch i expect her

nothing like the grey statue at the abbey
holding the orb and feather

her presence is intimate
light glows luminous
her arms full of herbs from the garden
and her muddy hand-made sandals
make me laugh


Congratulations, Michael Conti!

Your talent and enthusiasm for our initiative are heartwarming and changemaking.  We have reviewed your film submission and appreciate announcing to you and our world that your film, In Search of Hildegard of Bingen, is part of the Official Screening Selection of the I AM PEACE GAMIP Global Short Film Forum 2022.
Michael Conti, Colleen Keating
In Search of Hildegard of Bingen



Colleen Keating translated by Annette Esser

in search of Hildegard of Bingen

… auf der Suche nach Hildegard von Bingen

… ich nehme einen Zug aus Bingen

durchs Rheintal

an diesem Sommertag

steige auf einen steilen Hügel

erleichtert ein altes Schild zu finden Klosterruine

das auf einen grünen Pfad führt

in einen kühlen schattigen Hain

Überreste des Klosters aus dem zwölften Jahrhundert

moos-gefleckte Steinwände,

die meist von Rebstöcken bedeckt sind,

und eingebettete Baumwurzeln

das hier ist Hildegards Welt

in diesem Moment 

in den Umrissen einer anderen Zeit zu stehen,

Zeit ist formlos,

die Einteilung in Jahrhunderte unscharf.

nur das Auge meiner Seele sieht

eine lebendige junge Frau 

und blühende Kräutergärten

sie bereitet Salben und Säfte

steht den Kranken bei

hört auf den Wind

und findet Gott in den Hügeln über ihr

Kairos Zeit

für ihre Visionen, Schriften, Mandalas und Musik

später eine mächtige feministische Stimme

gegen Korruption Patriarchat und sinnlosen Krieg

die Erde ist unsere Mutter sie würde singen

ehre sie und sorge für sie

wenn wir sie ausbeuten und über sie herfallen

gerät sie aus dem Gleichgewicht

und der Preis wird hoch sein

dann gab es neunhundert Jahre Stille

zu unserer Zeit

ist das Maß lautstark aus der Balance geraten

das wer bietet mehr und der Dow sind die Maßstäbe

ein tägliches Reinziehen von Massakern trägt zu unserer Unterhaltung bei

Seelenverstümmelung belässt Soldaten unfähig zum Weinen

Ich lehne mich gegen die Mauer, die als Hildegards Frauenklause bezeichnet wird

im üppigen Schatten eines Mandelbaums

hängende Früchte nun lustvoll

die Leere

das Nichts

wie menschlich das Warten zu fürchten.

dass die Fülle zurück kehrt

meine Augen skandieren nach ihrer Gegenwart 

das ferne Haar eines Mädchens

eingefercht in eine zerbröckelnde Nische

zieht meinen Blick an

fein und zäh

Ich fühle eine Erregung

Wie ein erstes Flattern neuen Lebens

Allzu oft sind das zerbrechliche intime Flüstern

die Helligkeit der Berührung

das Flackern einer heiligen Lampe

Tore, die wie das Atmen leicht übersehen  werden

Ich sinniere über den Anstieg und Abfall meines Atems

Höre auf das Murmel n des Herzschlags

viriditas murmelt Hildegard

Hildegard ist hier

Ich zucke nicht zusammen ich habe sie erwartet

nichts wie die graue Statue an der Abtei

die Globus und Feder hält  

ihre Gegenwart ist intim

Licht glüht leuchtend

ihre Arme voll Kräuter aus dem Garten

und ihre matschigen handgefertigten Sandalen

lassen mich lachen