White Pebbles, Autumn Meeting 2019

 White Pebbles, Autumn Meeting 2019

The poet of ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, John Keats, would be proud of our group of Haikuists taking an autumnal walk around the Gosford /Edogawa Gardens on the Central Coast this past Saturday 9th March 2019.  We were aware of the concept of ichi-go ichi-e, the Japanese idiom ‘treasuring the unrepeatable nature of the moment.’

Our happy band meets four times a year for our ginko; with Beverley George our leader and present were Kent Robinson, Verna Rieschild, Marilyn  Humbert, Maire Glacken. Samantha Hyde, Colleen Keating with an apology from Gail Hennessy

Beverley commented how lovely to see our group growing and developing over the past year.

white pebbles march 2019
L to R: Marilyn Humbert, Kent Robinson, Maire Glacken, Beverley George, Verna Rieschild, Colleen Keating, Samantha Hyde

We began our morning with a welcome coffee and catch-up on the café patio 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; some of us lucky enough to have a haiku readily unfold to us.

beverley in park

A quiet moment, Beverley George

Lovely to sit in the open tea room overlooking the white pebble beach, the koi and ducks performing in the pond as usual. Cheeky peewees and plovers and a solitary whip bird added to the delight of our morning.

We are privileged each visit to enjoy a quiet working space in the Art Gallery precinct and we gathered at a great round table to share our writing. We marvelled at the rich and varied takings from our observations.  I feel sure we all feel encouraged and affirmed from our sharings.

We left inspired in our haiku writing and look forward to our next winter meeting.

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

Report by Colleen Keating

Stop Press; Hildegard is journeying well.

 

tulip bud in Liz garden

The birth of my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey  like this  fresh bud moist with morning dew is being birthed.

 

It was exciting to receive the manuscript from Ginninderra Press for my first read and edit.

Stephen and Brenda Matthews, from Ginninderra Press have worked very sensitively with my  manuscript, that was accepted by them last year for publication.

Every step has its mix of excitement and challenge.

Now for the decisions about cover and blurb.

hildegard

Hildegard receiving  one of her visions .

 

IMG_2801

This photo is taken in the ruins of Disibodenberg where Hildegard lived for nearly 40 years, firstly in an anchorage which opened up to become a convent  as more girls and women even widows asked to come and live.  Michael took this photo of me sitting in the area which is thought to have been Hildegard’s Kapelle.

IMG_4230

Some of the items from Bingen that helped to inspire me on my writing journey.

Love is Powerful by Thomas Keating-Jones

There is hope.  Just read Thomas’ s latest poem .As a poet myself, I am so proud of my Grandson  7 1/2 year old Thomas.      His poem is a healing for our planet. I think you will agree with words like this, there is Hope . 

Love is Powerful

When rage is too powerful to overcome

Love is the one who steps forward to take its chance to change.

The universe greets life with the most powerful force –

Friendship and unity 

As together they create something that’s alive.

It cannot be replaced

It cannot be destroyed.

It can be forgotten and that is the danger!

So power up what you love most

to bring the Earth to health.

Power up your green heart.

Power up your blue heart.

Power up together to face the rage and destruction.

Our planet is worth it to protect our nature and its wonder .

Thomas Keating-Jones

Image 18-2-19 at 3.20 pm (2)

 

 

 

 

A New Review of Fire on Water in Tamba: A selection of poetry and prose

         tamba_logo

                           Book Review                

                                               Fire on Water by Colleen Keating

                                               Published by Ginninderra Press, 2017

   Winner of silver award for Poetry 2017 Nautilus Book Awards

Highly commended, Society of Women Writers Society Poetry Award 2018

 

 

Keating Cover

The poems of Colleen Keating are divided into seven sections, yet when I read Fire on Water the 84 poems came together, as if each  held a link to the other.

Darginyung, a short poem at the beginning drew me into anticipation of a follow up on the indigenous story and the understanding of that story by the poet, as evident with: 

the didgeridoo    its spirit/ circles the hollowed wood’.  In  forgotten warriors, in the section titled ‘Lie of the Land’  Colleen asks: is it a dark forgetting’ and the important question  ‘dare we disturb our complacency’.   Other poems on the subject make it clear that the poet is not complacent.

A meditation – in search of Hildegard of Bingen takes Colleen deep within herself to discover the presence felts so strongly amongst the ruins.  Not a cared-for monument but a place for a true pilgrim, rough, so personal to the writer, ending with joy, as: ‘her muddy hand-made sandals make me laugh’.   I didn’t read the back cover or the acknowledgements, to stay fresh for the poems, so that I would not be influenced in my responses, but it didn’t surprise me to find that in search of Hildegard of Bingen was a finalist in the Dame Mary Gilmore Award, for the 90th Anniversary of the Society of Women Writers, NSW 2016:  Hildegard is here/ I do not flinch I expect her’ 

I went to the internet to search. I found Hildegard and knew that the poem had already told me her story.

farewell beautiful home is written about a time of life- style change, where down-sizing is the next step.  Nostalgia, questioning, thoughts of the sounds of the surrounding bush and the: ‘conversation’ of each room in their family home of forty years .

As with many of the poems the last line is positive : ‘now space for a new story’.

The process of decluttering , the brutal choices of what to throw away, is shadowed by a sudden strange idea that the writer would ask nothing more of her poesy.    It wasn’t the first time.   In out of a black sea looking through her window into the darkness, Colleen: ‘questions the point of writing anymore’.    The sun then slowly rises and reaches out to her ‘with tiny blissful pieces of inspiration’ .   Doubts may creep in, but i can see and hope that there will always be new poems waiting to be revealed to Colleen Keating , that she can share with us all.

Reviewed by Helene Castles – Shepparton East Vic.

Summer 2018    Goulburn Valley Writers Group Inc.

IMG_0791

Thank you Tamba and thank you Helen Castles for a very affirming Review. Your dedication to poetry and writers is very much appreciated.

 

VARUNA WRITERS’ HOUSE – Poetry Residential Masterclass

Poetry Residential Masterclass  VARUNA  WRITERS’ HOUSE

IMG_0070shhhsign

 

As I roll my car into the Varuna Writers Centre, a sense of tranquillity settles. 

Leaving a hot, busy, noisy city and winding my way up into the Blue Mountains is in itself for me, a meditative journey, even inhaling the mountain air is a reminder of what breathing is all about.  

My excitement hardly contained to have a one week writers residency. 

IMG_0212 IMG_0136

The poet Vanessa Kirkpatrick is our convenor for the week, with four other committed poets we look forward to an enriching, rewarding time of learning, writing and sharing. Vanessa shares three stimulating WORKSHOPS,  that make us think both of the structure and content of our poetry.  Having two sessions of ‘one on one’ with Vanessa crafting our words helps us step up to a new level.  Vanessa is so generous with her time and sharing her expertise.

 

For those who are not familiar with Varuna,  this Writers’ House was the home of Eleanor and Eric Dark,  who bought the land in 1923 and built their home over the next years with the piece de resistance  The Studio set in the garden built for Eleanor as her writing studio.

IMG_0040 2studio IMG_0003 IMG_0007my desk in studio for a week

Varuna is surrounded  by a mature rambling garden of a few acres in Cascade St near the beginning of the Katoomba Falls.

IMG_0028 2 IMG_0065 IMG_0035 2 IMG_0029 IMG_0157 IMG_0033

 

A bush walk takes you to a lookout to enjoy the falls and a vistas of The Three Sisters and the majesty and solitude of the Jamison Valley. The Scenic Skyway glides silently between cliff tops.

IMG_0132

IMG_0203 IMG_0021

Eleanor was a  prolific writer and Eric was a medical doctor .

DARK-Eleanor

 

Eleanor is best known for her trilogy  The Timeless Land  which was on the School Curriculum for some years and which was made into an  ABC series   Her books:

The Timeless Land (1941) 

Storm of Time (1948) 

No Barrier (1953)    these 3  make up the trilogy

Slow Dawning  (1932) 

Prelude to Christopher  (1934)  

Return to Coolami   (1936)

Sun Across the Sky (1937) 

Waterway (1938) 

The Little Company (1945)

Lantana Lane (1959)

 

content

After their death, Mick Dark ( their son) established the house  as a Writers’  Centre in order to protect the land from possible sub division and to allow the literary spirit of the space to  continue. Writing residencies began in 1989 making next year 2019 the Centre’s 30th anniversary.   It is a  space of solitude, silence called for rom 6am to 6 pm and then writers gather to share their day and writing  over a beautifully prepared meal by  the wonderful chef Sheila. ( Her Varuna recipe book is coming out in the next six months ) 

 

img_4596 IMG_0096

I believe all places are filled for next year. How vibrant and healthy is our writing world .

IMG_0061

 

Our writing world, our poetry world might be grass roots but that’s where the real growth begins and spreads.  Thank you Eleanor Dark Foundation for your contribution to this.

 

 

.IMG_0069

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 

IMG_8936  IMG_8986

Cairns

by Lachlan and Grandma

IMG_8935IMG_8799

 

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

 

 

*********

 

 

 

IMG_8681

Two to three

by Lachlan Keating

From our balcony

in the palm tree

last night we saw a nest

With two eggs

IMG_8993IMG_8714

This morning 

the mother was on the nest

but when she flew off

to sit on a nearby branch 

there were three eggs!

 

IMG_8990

( 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

IMG_8738

 

The Blue Balloon                                    

by Lachlan Keating

In the poolIMG_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!

 

IMG_8730

 

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.

 

 

3975327707_549d93915d_o

 

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 

 

Unknown

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.

 

IMG_8680

Birds

flocks of colour glide

wings flapping swooping diving

flying feathered friends

Lachlan Keating

 

3975327707_549d93915d_o

Water

deep pools of water

floating  flowing  tingling skin

cold splash kicking fun

Cameron Keating

 

 

 

More haiku by Cammie and Grandma having fun 

 

blue Cassowary

in the Daintree National Park

walking on our track

 

***

Cassowary bird

you surprised us in the bush

with your tiny chick

 

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

munching little fish

an humongous crocodile

while we were watching 

 

***

vicious crocodile

with sharp teeth and scaly skin

we won’t swim with you 

 

***

scary crocodile 

we know you are hiding

in that swimming hole

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

 

IMG_9300

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

IMG_6406

 

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. 

 

 

IMG_9170

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

IMG_5264

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 . 

Poetry Residential Masterclass – exciting news

Poetry Residential Masterclass  VARUNA National Writers House

varuna-0122-600x450

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

 

image001

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

image001

 

 

writers_at_work  house-lounge house-garden

 

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]