Jacaranda

Jacaranda

it seems everything this year

challenges the Jacaranda

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IMG_9416In spring its hidden buds 

endure a drought

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then whipping winds and rain

inflict a thrashing 

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today in the foyer of summer

in regal glory it stands

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its clusters of purple

touch the deep blue sky 

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passers-by halt as if they hear it speak                   IMG_9455

a language they seek to decipher 

**

and there is a communal nod

for the earth’s generosity

Colleen Keating

 

jacarandas out our window

Visit to Cairns and writing poetry with the Grandchildren

Having a  few days in Cairns with the Keating, 

being there for Josh’s birthday, and having time 

with the family especially Lachie and Cammie was fun  

and one of the highlights of last month.

My Christmas poem for 2018 was seeded there  (on next post)

and I had great fun writing poetry with the boys.

One of our highlights was our walk through the Cairns Botanical Gardens 

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Cairns

by Lachlan and Grandma

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Cairns

By Lachlan Keating

 

The thing I like about the tropics

is the vegetation

The coloured leaves amaze me                                                            IMG_8936

pink, red,  purple and white 

mottled, patterned dotted and striped 

so you think leaves are only green

with chlorophyll to catch the sun

well come here with us all of you 

to the tropics and have some funIMG_8985

and you will be amazed too.IMG_8799

 

 

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Two to three

by Lachlan Keating

From our balcony

in the palm tree

last night we saw a nest

With two eggs

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This morning 

the mother was on the nest

but when she flew off

to sit on a nearby branch 

there were three eggs!

 

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( The story didn’t end there.  Lo and behold the next morning there were four eggs.

When we did our research we discovered she is a Friar Bird. Friar birds lays one egg a day, laying  from two to five eggs. Yet five eggs is very rare.  Did we have a rare bird?  We waited till this morning and when she left her nest to sit on a nearby branch and sing her morning song there were still four. So she is special but not rare . Now she will sit for many hours a day to incubate the eggs and they will hatch in about 28 days.  I wish we could stay in our Air B&B till then but we have to leave this beautiful sight at the end of the week. Maybe the next guests will enjoy the developments )  

 

 

The Blue Balloon

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The Blue Balloon                                    

by Lachlan Keating

In the poo IMG_8720

we had a blue balloon

we blew it up

got the end 

and pulled it down

half way under the water

and we let it go

wham!

it flew up into the sky

we got a shock it went so high!

 

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Tricking Grandma

by Cameron Keating

When Grandma was resting 

on the towel

I snuck over to the pool

and filled my balloon up

with water and air

then I crept back

over to Grandma 

and squeezed 

the balloon really hard 

and sprayed water 

all over Grandma.

 

 

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Waterfalls

by Grandma,  Lachie and Cammie

We swim in the cold wet gorges

and it is fun,

diving and jumping off rocks, 

playing in the sun.

Splashing under waterfalls 

resting on warm ledges

we listen out for bird calls.

The sign says no crocodiles

for miles and miles and miles,

but we still look out 

and keep our eye about.

When you swim in gorges 

in the month of May

the splashing water falling

is lots and lots of fun

jumping in in such a ball

but later, some say

when the dry comes in 

and there is a very hot sun

it would be a miracle

to see a cascading waterfall 

 

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Territory Day

by Lachlan and Cameron  Keating

edited and typed by Grandma

Alice was on fire

on Territory Day.

Boom buzz bang

wham whiz whirl

kabam pop bomb

surprises

twist and twirl

the sky lit up 

red like fire

purple like blueberries

green like grass 

and blue too

it was such fun

all colours of the rainbow

orange and yellow too

like stars and balls of sun.

****

Both boys having been learning about Haiku 

( A small poem originating in Japan.)  It consists of three lines

Line 1 has a beat of 5

Line 2 has a beat  of 7 and 

Line 3 has a beat of 5  

This is good for the boys as they learn to count the number of beats 

and to think of a story and have the discipline of the  form. However Modern Haiku like to write less then 5 –  7 – 5. 

The first two Haiku were written by the boys for their home schooling.

 

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Birds

flocks of colour glide

wings flapping swooping diving

flying feathered friends

Lachlan Keating

 

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Water

deep pools of water

floating  flowing  tingling skin

cold splash kicking fun

Cameron Keating

More haiku by Cammie and Grandma having fun 

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blue Cassowary

in the Daintree National Park

walking on our track

 

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Cassowary bird

you surprised us in the bush

with your tiny chick

 

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munching little fish

an humongous crocodile

while we were watching 

 

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vicious crocodile

with sharp teeth and scaly skin

we won’t swim with you 

 

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scary crocodile 

we know you are hiding

in that swimming hole

A Book Review of One Woman’s Journey by Ramah Juta

 

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It is a tradition for members of the Society of Women Writers NSW to send their published books to the Editor of Women’s Ink (Judith O’Connor),for review. I was honoured to have my poetry collection Fire on Water reviewed by Judith in the Winter Edition. Now I have been invited to review Ramah Juta’s book One Woman’s Journey Published in the Summer Edition Women’s Ink November 2018

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A REVIEW BY COLLEEN KEATING

Women’s history has been almost invisible. Up till this century, the stories of women were seldom included. Virginia Woolf opened doors for women by telling her stories – she helped women to get in touch with the impact of being marginalised, exploited, and invisible. She said “As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world”

So it was with delight I received Ramah Juta’s book ‘One Woman’s Journey’ for review.

The King Protea filling the cover with its soft pink-grey petals caught my attention. This incredible flower from South Africa is an apt symbol , its name coming from one of the gods of the sea. Ramah’s story captures the reader. Through her personal story of grit and resilience, she weaves the history of a disturbing and inspiring time – the final upheaval of India, and Gandhi, the British indentured Indians to Africa, ‘Passenger-Indians’ to South Africa, Indian brides, apartheid and the hope of Mandela on the horizon, finally migration to Australia.

J. K. Rowling says : “ There is always room for story that can transport people to another place” And Ramah transports the reader of her journey with rich detail.
As a young Indian bride in South Africa she writes of her mid-wife,
‘A deep vertical furrow ran down the centre of her forehead. Wrinkles fanned out from the corners of her eyes and curved on to her cheeks. A good set of teeth was stained from chewing betel leaf. Prominent veins snaked their way down her forearms to her hands. She smiled, held my hand in her rough work-worn palms.’

We are present in India, in her formative years and also in South Africa with her sensual descriptions of colours, sounds, smells and tastes.
“ . . the green of the mango contrasting against the reddish, yellow oil. The smell of the spices lingered in the air for nearly a week.”

“I took a big sharp knife and cut the formidable fruit. i peeled its free knobbly skin , cut it into cubes with gravy, frying the onions in oil, adding tomatoes, spices, ginger and garlic. Then i added the jackfruit and let it simmer. Kripa guzzled it down.”

“Chaya flitted around in the kitchen plying him (Taroon) with fluffy dokra which he gorged with dollops of tongue tingling tamarind chutney”

I always find cultural and religious words add colour to a story and ‘One Woman’s Journey’ is no exception. The glossary at the back is valuable.

Raman quotes Khalil Gibran,
‘The entire earth is my homeland and the human family is my clan’ 

And this is as it is. With the slow transformation of the closed world of the family as the younger generations embrace a wider world – yet a rich chameleon of culture and religious ways are still embedded deeply in the psyche. An important reminder that new arrivals must never be discouraged from being their unique selves as they embrace the land of the bight red King Protea, the Waratah .

Colleen Keating is a published and award-winning poet.

 

United: A poem by Thomas Keating-Jones

 

I like this apple photo that mum took. 

It was fun as I wrote some lines to inspire me 

waiting for apples to fall on my head like Isaac Newton. 

 

 

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United

Atmosphere of earth 

pulling us all together,

all the countries together,

uniting us as one big planet,

making us stronger 

in wealth and hope.

 

 

Uniting us all as one

wealthy in hope 

wealthy in wonder 

wealthy in friendship 

never to be broken. 

 

 

All is one, 

all are special.

Everything we believe 

is alive in our hearts. 

 

 

So fill your hearts with wonder, 

fill your hearts with joy.

 

 

Always believe when others may not.

All your thoughts and wonders 

go to God . . .  he collects them

and marvels at them.

They have power 

They master your destiny

It is all about the right path 

Thomas Keating-Jones

Workshop: Finding the Poetic to make our Writing Shimmer

 

FROM WOMENS INK

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OCTOBER WORKSHOP   

Finding the Poetic to make your writing shimmer

COLLEEN KEATING

Lots of inspired sharing and laughter filled the room as a passionate group of writers 

explored ways of using the poetic to make their writing shimmer.

One of our learnings was that when our writing is lucid and perceptive it shines with meaning, something all of us wish for our work. 

Together we reflected on the power of awareness, bringing us always back to the present moment. We discussed how our mind is being colonised all the time and came up with constructive ways of decolonising our mind to become listeners to the breath of the universe.

We looked at the maxim:  Lessons from a Tree  

1. Stand tall and strong  2. Go out on a limb. 3.  Remember your roots

4.  Drink plenty of water  5. Be content with your natural beauty 6. Enjoy the view.

Together we collaborated to listen and hear the advice from the tree for our writing.

Our exercise on Active Seeing brought our room in the State Library alive with new insights to energise writing.

We listened to the words of poets for their poetic sense that shines the light. Mary Oliver ’s poetry, the exquisite metaphorical writing of Edna St. Vincent Millay and Emily Dickinson , the sustained metaphor in ‘Surender’ by the Blue Mountains poet Vanessa Kirkpatrick, the felt sound in Robert Frost and Adrienne Rich with her powerful poem ‘Diving into the Wreck,’

in which we mused over her words, “I want  the wreck itself not the story of the wreck,  the thing itself and not the myth.’

We  talked about a writer always cultivating a sense of wonder, as Alice says in Alice in Wonderland “curiouser and curiouser!”  We discussed the magic of language and closed with a writing exercise To create fresh metaphors. Our sharing had us marvelling at how metaphors strike unexpectedly and how they work to help our writing shimmer . 

Resignation Syndrome – Poetry in Eureka Street

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EUREKA STREET

Excited to have my poetry RESIGNATION SYNDROME published in Eureka Street .
Hildegard of Bingen said her quill was her sabre,
Judith Wright said her pen was her sword.
My laptop is my weapon to inspire, to encourage, to remind people to wake
as the poet Christopher Fry writes in his poem A Sleep of Prisoners
“What are you waiting for?
It takes so many thousand years to wake ,
but will you wake for pity’s sake ?”

ARTS AND CULTURE

Resignation syndrome

  • Colleen Keating
  • 22 October 2018

4 Comments

The concurrent symptoms for this poem: vague staring into mid air; taking to their bed; not eating or drinking regularly; not toileting; not responding. Imagine a child without light in their eyes. It is not a flash back. It is now. It is the Australian people.

Resignation syndrome

4 Comments

 

exaltation against despair

and the world is a wobbly stool
and spindly trees grow to the light
against all the odds
of walls and overcrowding
and where there’s a tree in your heart
a singing bird will come
and we write of hope
with nothing to write
yet urgent to write it

 

resignation syndrome

this poem is a repeat
written over and over
a story told again and again

 

the one thing different it has a revised title
two words
‘resignation’
meaning uncomplaining endurance of sorrow or other evil
‘syndrome’ — a set of concurrent symptoms.

the concurrent symptoms for this poem:

vague staring into mid air
taking to their bed
not eating or drinking regularly
not toileting
not responding
imagine a child without light in their eyes

it is not a flash back

it is now

it is the Australian people
it is us the wealthy nation
wanting our cake and to eat it too
what a cliche

using humans as a deterrent

fearful of fear

how many times do we need to tell it?

how many times do we need to hear it ?

how many times
until our hands and legs unshuffle
until hearts fire
our country blaze again
until we can imagine the human faces
staring through the bars
until we see eyes
children eyes
come alive again
until we know
it is our fears
that stifle the light

 

we want to know
goodness prevailis over evil

 

humanity is a breath of us
we are all in it
one breath
we breathe each others air
we are the people attempting to breathe

 

we are suffocating

 

in depriving breath from one human
we hold it from ourselves

 

silence is the power
secrecy is the power
yet humanity demanding to breathe together
is enough
is the power

 

after the massacre

when we wake to truths
that make our hearts beat fast
and walk the blood-red gravel track
that draws us down
to write the story on our heart
needle on our skin

to pin our bones into its frame
and stand

 

with Milton’s fear
of blindness and denial
then grope and touch
the blood-stained earth
with spines of ironbark
and smell the stench of burnt flesh
where only eucalypt should waft
we weep
grapple in the dark
find that so tender song-line of truth
stirs a nations womb to birth
and know
there is no going back

 

 

Colleen KeatingColleen Keating is a Sydney poet. She has two published award- winning collections of poetry: A Call to Listen and Fire on Water. She is also co-editor of two anthologies on behalf oft the NSW Women Writers network.

Topic tags: Colleen Keating, poetry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Residential Masterclass – exciting news

Poetry Residential Masterclass  VARUNA National Writers House

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At Varuna Writing Centre set in reflective gardens on the edge of Katoomba

 

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Colleen,

Congratulations, we would like to offer you an invitation to participate in the Poetry Residential Masterclass with Vanessa Kirkpatrick.  There was significant interest from a diverse range of poets to participate in the week and we were delighted with the range of creative proposals submitted.

The dates of the Residential Masterclass are Monday 3 December to Sunday 9 December.

Your residency week includes accommodation, meals, workshops and private writing studio..

Please confirm that you are able to accept your invitation by midday 26 September. Once you have confirmed your place Vera Costello will be in touch with further details.

I look forward to seeing you at Varuna soon!

All the best,

Amy

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Varuna, The National Writers’ House is Australia’s national residential writers’ house in the former home of writers Eleanor Dark and Dr Eric Dark. In 1989 their son Mick Dark gifted their home to the Australian public through The Eleanor Dark Foundation. Due to this extraordinary act of philanthropy, Varuna has become Australia’s most eminent residential program for writers.[1][2]

Since 1989 Varuna the National Writers’ House has inspired the creation of new Australian writing and provided support for a thriving writing community and growing Alumni. Along with its Residential Program, Varuna also has a lively literary program, including the Varuna & Sydney Writers Festival, Varuna Open Day and various workshops and consultations.

Located in Katoomba two hours from Sydney, in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales Australia, Varuna is a short walk from the centre of town, and a short walk from the edge of the escarpment looking down into the magnificent Jamison Valley.[3][4]

Fire on Water: Highly Commended in SWW Awards 2018

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The SWW  Book Awards were announced in the Historic State Library at a packed Literary Luncheon on Wednesday.

I am thrilled to announce Fire on Water has won the Highly Commended Award in the Society of Women Writers Biennial Poetry Award  2018.   Thank you to the SWW of NSW Inc. for running this Competition . It is very affirming to be acknowledged and i felt very proud to be standing on the podium with a group of talented poets and writers. Congratulations especially to Susan Fealty for her book Flute of Milk that was the 2018 Winner and to the other runners up, my friend Beverley George for her Tanka collection Only in Silence  and Kathryn Fry for Green Point Bearings. 

Thanks to the  acclaimed  poetry and children’s author Judge Libby Hathorn, and especially thank-you to Stephen Matthews and Ginninderra Press,  who must be very affirmed by Ginninderra’s achievements in this Competition.  Thanks to Family and friends who have wished me the best for Fire on Water and all who are buying this well Awarded book through Ginninderra  Press.

 

 

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FIRE ON WATER -Short -listed for prestigious SWW Award

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Fire on Water has been short-listed for the prestigious

Society Of Women Writers Poetry Book Award 2018

So exciting to receive the letter below,

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The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc.Established 1925     Incorporated  1987

 Affiliated with the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, London

 GPO Box 1388   SYDNEY  NSW 2001

www.womenwritersnsw.org

Colleen Keating

Dear Colleen,

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that you have been shortlisted for an Award at the 2018 Society of Women Writers Book Awards (Poetry category) for your book:

Fire on Water

The Society invites you to the presentation ceremony to be held at the Gallery Room in the Mitchell Wing of the State Library of NSW on Wednesday 10 October from 12 noon to 2pm.

Please book in, with Lynda Calder swwlunchbooking@gmail.com no later than Friday 5 October. You are welcome to invite friends and/or family to attend.

If you are unable to attend the Awards, it would be appreciated if you would send/nominate a representative. 

Best wishes,

Gwen Bitti

President

The Society of Women Writers NSW Inc.

Est.1925 Incorporated 1987

http://www.womenwritersnsw.org/

https://www.facebook.com/The-Society-of-Women-Writers-NSW-Inc

Shared Footprints: Ginko A Walk for Spring

Two Sets of Footprints

by Michael and Colleen our Spring Beach Walk

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MK spring sunrise

soft curl of cloud

cushions a mild sun       IMG_8087

 

CK morning song

tracks and swash

pattern the sand

 

MK velvet canvas of ocean

sparkle of IMG_8162sunlight

kindles welcome  

 

CK spring

our shared walk

follows familiar ways  

 

MK crisp horizon

we watch and wait

new day  

 

CK dolphin dreaming                      IMG_8160

presence of whales and dolphins

just beyond our gaze  

 

MK season of enthusiasm

coastal world bustles

kites fly 

 

CK a beachcomber

delights in treasure 

gifted by high tide                  IMG_8118

 

MK at the edge

on wet sand  

seaweed glints   

 

CK spring swimming

two women rugged up 

take the plunge            IMG_8139

 

MK paddle boarders

muscles in balance

expands our vision  

 

CK surf club air vent

two baby swallows

chirping  

 

MK swallows skate the air

good-time harbingers

tease us                              IMG_8174

 

CK a ‘heart’ on my coffee        

soaring swallows 

flirt over seaweed                       

 

MK spring air 

the hairs on our arms

tingle  

                                             

CK sipping coffee                    IMG_8130

our illusive  heron 

glides onto the lamp post  

 

MK winter is over

sun races south

my energy surges   

 

CK morning sun                     IMG_8134

silhouettes 

beach yoga 

 

 

MK new buds  

a sheen of colour

defies the breeze 

 

CK red geranium 

trails down sandstone

beach restoration                    IMG_8151

 

MK rock fishing

enough for all 

pelican waits  

 

CK stabilised sand dunes

butterflies and bees

delight         

 

MK mid morning

clouds corral

warmth seeps in                              IMG_8147

 

CK spring

our hearts 

blossom with colour