White Pebbles Haiku Group

White Pebbles

 

Convenor: Beverley George

In the winter poem many of us are familiar with, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening , the poet stops on the darkest evening of the year, ‘to watch his woods fill up with snow’.  Like the poet, Robert Front, the White Pebbles Haiku Group stopped to watch the winter scene unfolding at  the Gosford /Edogawa Japanese Gardens on the Central Coast this past Saturday 15th June just a week out from the dark and shortest day of the year (Winter Solticies this year June 20/21st )

We all look forward  to our meetings and our winter ‘stopping’ was no exception.

This is our second winter walk together. ; with Beverley George our leader, present were Verna Rieschild, Marilyn Humbert, Maire Glacken. Samantha Hyde, Colleen Keating with a heart-felt apologies from Gail Hennessy and Kent Robinson.  

We began our morning with a welcome coffee and catch-up in the cafe sharing  some newly published work and thoughts from  our ‘homework,’  – a handout that Beverley emailed earlier to help us prepare.

 

 

We spent about forty minutes contemplatively moving around the garden, walking, sitting, pondering, jotting down thoughts and ideas for haiku writing;  Today the cheeky plowers were busy, their call ringing out continuously. Lingering leaves from the maple trees were  drifting down  many children were feeding the the koi , ducks were active catching most of the food and the light playful nature of the children reminded us winter is only a season not an age. 

Some of the group sat in the open tea room overlooking the white pebble beach, Some took advantage of sitting in the winter sun under the climbing wisteria. 

After our ginko  (season walk) we  are privileged,  each visit to enjoy a quiet working space in the Art Gallery and we gathered at the round table to share our writing and work sheets. 

 

 

Beverley  introduced the group to Haiga  inspiring us with her beautiful  greeting cards. We had all done our homework which was to bring a winter scene and our haiku to go with it  and at our sharing time it was enlightening to discuss our work . Next meeting we will continue to work with more haiga.

We marvelled at the rich and varied takings from our winter observations.  We are encouraged and affirmed by our sharing.   We left inspired in our haiku writing and look forward to our spring meeting Saturday 14th September 2019.

Just one final observation since our Autumn meeting  a new gengo (era) has been declared with the new reigning Emperor.  Reiwa was announced and  is based on the Manyo-shin – Japan’s oldest Anthology of Poems. It means that culture can grow when people sincerely care about each other. What beautiful sentiment  and hope for our world. 

Some stayed to enjoy the choices from the delicious lunch menu in the cafe.  

Colleen Keating  ( White Pebbles Haiku Group)

 

Les Murray Memorial at the State Library

 

An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow

The word goes round Repins,
the murmur goes round Lorenzinis,
at Tattersalls, men look up from sheets of numbers,
the Stock Exchange scribblers forget the chalk in their hands
and men with bread in their pockets leave the Greek Club:
There’s a fellow crying in Martin Place. They can’t stop him.

The traffic in George Street is banked up for half a mile
and drained of motion. The crowds are edgy with talk
and more crowds come hurrying. Many run in the back streets
which minutes ago were busy main streets, pointing:
There’s a fellow weeping down there. No one can stop him.

The man we surround, the man no one approaches
simply weeps, and does not cover it, weeps
not like a child, not like the wind, like a man
and does not declaim it, nor beat his breast, nor even
sob very loudly—yet the dignity of his weeping

holds us back from his space, the hollow he makes about him
in the midday light, in his pentagram of sorrow,
and uniforms back in the crowd who tried to seize him
stare out at him, and feel, with amazement, their minds
longing for tears as children for a rainbow.

Some will say, in the years to come, a halo
or force stood around him. There is no such thing.
Some will say they were shocked and would have stopped him
but they will not have been there. The fiercest manhood,
the toughest reserve, the slickest wit amongst us

trembles with silence, and burns with unexpected
judgements of peace. Some in the concourse scream
who thought themselves happy. Only the smallest children
and such as look out of Paradise come near him
and sit at his feet, with dogs and dusty pigeons.

Ridiculous, says a man near me, and stops
his mouth with his hands, as if it uttered vomit—
and I see a woman, shining, stretch her hand
and shake as she receives the gift of weeping;
as many as follow her also receive it

and many weep for sheer acceptance, and more
refuse to weep for fear of all acceptance,
but the weeping man, like the earth, requires nothing,
the man who weeps ignores us, and cries out
of his writhen face and ordinary body

not words, but grief, not messages, but sorrow,
hard as the earth, sheer, present as the sea—
and when he stops, he simply walks between us
mopping his face with the dignity of one
man who has wept, and now has finished weeping.

Evading believers, he hurries off down Pitt Street.

from
The Weatherboard Cathedral, 1969

I have let Les Murray speak for himself. And at the memorial they let his poetry speak for him. He was an excellent poet as the above poem shows. Many of us honoured him on Wednesday. It was a very special memorial for the poet Les Murray who died on 29th April 2019.and a fitting venue for his memorial.

It was held in the famous reading room at the State Library in the old Mitchel Library section. Only twice before has this famous beautiful room been used for memorials and that was for  the famous poet Henry Lawson (about 1922)and Mary Gilmore (about 1962)  now 2019 for Les Murray.

Listen to Les Murray read this poem (MP3)

Carried on the Wings of Time by Thomas Keating Jones

Congratulations to my Grandson Thomas, a wonderful young poet who received Highly Commended Award at the recent prestigious  Myall Creek  Memorial Day Poetry Competition.

This is the second year he has been awarded  a prize at at this poetry competition.

The Friends of Myall Creek Committee invite all school children from years K to 12 to participate in its annual ‘THOUGHTS AND DREAMS’ competition. The theme this year?

         ‘Living Lingo … International Year of Indigenous Languages’

CARRIED ON THE WINGS OF TIME.

by Thomas

As Languages fall through the air,

carried on the winds of time,

some fade, disappear,

become echoes of the way it was . . .

an echo we struggle to hear,

as we work on how it should be.

All the languages new and old hold power.

People learn and differ with them.

It is the lyrical key to the vault of volumes of knowledge,

kept in the magic of the voice,

in the retelling,

like a spell to conjure

…to learn.

You have to explore and engage

to find

in language is hope,

preservation

protection

tradition.

We need to speak out,

to be heard.

to keep it alive…

so life is not lost in translation.

Last year Thomas received a book voucher and an Australian book.

We are awaiting this years award.

Here is last years poem by Thomas.

Little Miss G and her first poem

My Rainbow

My rainbow is colourful

red green yellow blue orange

It has white fluffy clouds

I wish I could stand on the rainbow and dance

Little Miss G  sometimes called Bridgie for short gave  me her first beautiful poem to decorate my wall. She was so excited and of course I am proud of my little 4 year old, especially the way she looks after her baby brother and helps her Mummy every day.

#Edi The Adventure of my School Shoes

The Adventure of my  School Shoes

by Edison with a little help from his Mum, Jessica

Everything was packed.
We left straight after school, not even time to get changed.
We travelled to the farm where we met my cousins.
When we arrived the adventures begun.
But oh no! My mum has forgotten my shoes.
My school shoes would have to come on the adventures with me.
Most school shoes would have been kicked off into a dark cupboard and forgotten about for the weekend.
Not my shoes, they went bike riding, climbing, running. They played sports, they collected fire wood and kept warm by the fire.

They collected mud and got washed in the fresh water rivers.
Boy, did these shoes have a good weekend away camping.


They travelled back home with the adventures still showing.
But like Darcy and I, once they had a bath (and a polish from Dad)

all that was left were the memories.
On Tuesday as I walk into school nobody will know but us, the adventures my shoes and I have shared.

  

#Edi  writing his story,  with school shoes cleaned and ready for school. Thanks Dad.

#Edi with his brother and a cousin

Hildegard of Bingen Named one of the Most Loved Composers

Classic 100: Composers most loved of all time. 

 

Our ABC   classical radio, a few months ago, put out a call for  listeners to vote for their most loved Composer.  Well you know Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Handel  will be there as Vivaldi and Elgar and Chopin will be there too.

Of course  I voted for Hildegard as my No. 1 and Mahler as my 2nd most loved composer . We waited a few months for the tally and over last weekend  – a National Holiday Weekend in Australia,  we prepared to hang around house cooking, gardening, reading knitting , to listen to magnificent music as we counted down from 100. 

Many of the great names fell  all day Saturday. Their gorgeous music came lifted us and left.  Composers fell away  . . . Grieg, Ravel, Haydn, Wagner, Bizet  and  it took another sleep .

On Sunday with the count 40 and down . . . Hildegard arrived at 33. There was an eruption of excitement. There was cheering all around our apartment. . . friends were texting me and we popped the champagne ( a bit later) To think the people have taken her ecstatic, heavenly music to their hearts.

You can still hear it all on www.abc.net.au/classic – 100

To think her music was silenced by the hierarchy for nearly a year, the year before she died and now today, 900 years later she is listened to and loved by people all over the world and today in the ABC Classical Countdown of the top 100 most loved Composers of all time  Hildegard rates 33rd  and one of the few woman. 

It is extraordinary that the voice of Hildegard has returned at this time of history with her music, her health and healing , her understanding of the environment and her call for  our need to be stewards and custodians of our Mother Earth for she is our life line.  

For me Hildegard is a woman who sees through hypocrisy  and cannot abide with the patriarchy of church or state .  She acts as if she is doesn’t see it.  She acts on  her intuition and what her inner voice tells her. To do this of course she had to listen  and listen and listen.

Listen  to the heart beat of the earth and the thrum of the tree and the wind and the messages that are with us constantly in nature and in our very being.

My story of her life written in poetic verse is with the publishers Ginninderra Press and will be launched in a few months.  

And hence I am thrilled  to see  Hildegard of Bingen named 

and for all the world ,

well  for all of Australia,

(at least but I know my daughter in England was jumping up and down with joy and some Hildegardeans in America and a few in Germany were filled with joy )

to stop and listen to her exquisite music today.

 

A Poetry Morning – ‘full of beans’

Kissing Point Probus Ladies Group at South Turramurra  3rd June 2019

A cup of tea and delicious home-made date and walnut cake then we grouped for our poetry morning.

This was our second visit. In  2018 I was invited to the Kissing Point Probus Ladies Group at South Turramurra  by one of our neighbours Myra Fletcher and  introduced as an established local poet. It was a great session and Myra invited us  back to share some familiar poetry. Down Memory Lane. We noticed some of the group mouthing the poems as we read and enjoying the memory.

The session today was well attended and  from my take everyone enjoyed the time together. I worked along with Michael and the group responded to our enthusiasm.

We had a plan for 

a) Australian Poetry 

Dorothea Mackellar, ‘Banjo’ Paterson, Henry Kendall,  Oodgeroo Noonuccal (Kath Walker) Judith Wright, Henry Kendall.

b) General Poetry in English 

William Shakespeare, John Keats, William Wordsworth William Blake, Gerard Manly Hopkins Dylan Thomas

c) American Poetry 

Robert Frost  William Carlos Williams  Gelett Burgess 

Billy Collins  Mary Oliver

d) Finally, an iconic Australian humorous poem – 

We didn’t get through half of what we had planned. However that was probably a good plan in itself. They were very pleased. We had to  stop at a good time and they had material to take home with them.

Currently my favourite poet is the American Mary Oliver. (1935 – January 17, 2019) – Pulitzer Prize Winner in 2007.  She has just recently died and I was disappointed that we didn’t get time to tease her out. I quickly read one poem  of hers, good for birthdays as one  gets older and we all warmed to Mary Oliver’s sentiment.

Self Portrait.

Mary Oliver  (1935-2019)

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 roses, 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! seventy. And still
in love with life. And still
full of beans.

We finished off as promised with a narration together of an iconic Australian poem so appropriate for these times 

‘We’ll all be roon’d said Hanrahan’. by John O’Brien

The group went away with a handout of all the poems we planned to do and we felt it was  an enjoyable morning.

Launch of Mrs. Rickaby’s Lullaby by Julie Thorndyke

Congratulations 

to Julie Thorndyke on the launch of her novel Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby.

Celebrating the birth of a new book is always one of the great pleasures, after all the hard work in bring it to fruition.  It was launched by the well known poet and writers and mentor Beverley George surrounded by Julie’s family, friends and writing colleagues. And very enjoyable to share a glass of wine and some delicious cheeses while  we chatted with writer, friends old and new.

Hartog Bookshop at Macquarie Centre was a welcoming  space for just such an experience. 

Special  mention was made of Ginninderra Press and the invaluable gratitude many of us have for the support we receive from this publishing company. Thanks to Brenda and Stephen Matthews.  

Mrs. Rickaby’s Lullaby was a wonderful read, cleverly written with well developed characters and twists of story just like in real life.

 

 

 

SPEECH for the LAUNCH of BLOOM by DECIMA WRAXALL

 

 

 

LAUNCH OF BLOOM

Good evening everybody.  Thank you Sue for your kind words and I too would like to   acknowledge the land on which we meet and pay respect to the ancestors, especially  story tellers of the past, present and our future.

We are privileged to be sharing the Judith Wright room, named for one of our great Australian  women poets of last century,  an activist for indigenous rights, conservation and the environment. 

There are a few new faces here so I introduce myself. My name is Colleen Keating . I belong to the Women Writers Network which meets every Wednesday in the Henry Lawson room of Writing NSW. 

I feel privileged  to be standing here  to launch Decima’s beautiful poetry book BLOOM. As most of you know Decima has written many short stories. Her novel, Black Stockings, White Veil, celebrated the golden anniversary of her RPA hospital group, and was a Finalist in the 2014 Indie Book Awards fictional history  category. She has published two other historical fiction novels, with one more to be published by Ginninderra Press in 2020.

Since the poet in Decima burst onto the scene I have been amazed at the poetry that pours out from her. 

Decima draws on her nursing knowledge and on every day experiences, lives of people she observes . eg  pg 42  in the poem Private . . .

She uses the powerful concrete image.   and has found  the pared back to the bone approach  with its  the maxim. . . writing less is more.   eg  in Don’t call me Madam   (70)

shady lane/discreet sign /massage/my shoulder pain cries/step inside/ blinking i see/ skimpy-clad girls in a row/a hard-faced crone/man’s the desk/   Don’t you love that word man’s and you will have to red the poem to find the end.

Decima reminds us, the ordinary is poetic another way of saying that she finds the poetic in the ordinariness of life.  eg in her poem Bluff (11)  

“Dad doffed his sweat-stained het to the flies. Eyes closed he rested, dappled by kurrajong shade.”

She is a realist . . . takes day to day happenings and  experiences and paints her picture with words., leaving the bigger issues as an understatement .

Notice in her poem Hands  (16 )  col reads first 3 paras of ii.

The  poet Jean Maria Rilke says “everything is gestation and then ‘bringing forth’”

 and writing is a lot of that. 

Firstly the gestation  . . . . it’s a lonely trek, a long haul,  a footslog, an odyssey  sometimes lost in the bush,  sometimes all at sea, sometimes desert-dry, sometimes writing  energising but mostly it’s a solitary and gruelling chore  

and then the ‘bringing forth . . .

the birthing  sharing with the world, the unveiling  like opening up a secret diary and throwing away the key . 

and as a writing community we appreciate that and we are here to honour the loneliness of the long distance writer and here to  celebrate the  Decima’s very successful outcome

read fallen star pg.  130

When you write a poem, you write it for anybody and everybody. And you have to be ready to do that out of your single self.    It’s a giving. . . .always   . . . a gift. . . a gift to yourself but it s gift to anybody who has a hunger for it.   

I like to think we all have the hunger for poetry and we honour those who give us this gift .

Here is Decima’s gift to us .

A new poetry book in our world.  

 Like a seed in the moistest earth

 may it bloom and grow where it is planted . 

And together Decima and I declare 

BLOOM

              launched  and planted .