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 






Olive Muriel Pink by Colleen Keating, runner up and Highly Commended in SWW competition

At the SWW Gala Luncheon  on Wednesday I was  thrilled to receive two highly commended awards.

The first for my book Olive Muriel Pink, awarded the Highly Commended in the Society of Women Writers Poetry Award 2022

The second is a Highly Commended Award for my poem in the National Womens Writers Competition for Poetry. Giving Women Writers a Voice




After so much research, reflection, writing, editing and critiquing with my poetry groups and later with the publisher Ginninderra Press to bring my epic poem Olive Muriel Pink to the world it has finally been given the Highly Commended Award in the Society of Women Writers Poetry Award: a prestigious award and no small feat as it was up against many deserving books Short Listed.

Congratulations to all who made the short list , and especially big congratulations to the winner, my poet friend Pip Griffin for her well deserved book, The Secret Diaries . Virginia and Katherine.

It is a long lonely journey to get a literary work to this point and everyone deserves the recognition that comes their way this day at this rewarding and affirming Gala Luncheon

A great turnout of many amazing fellow female writers for the Gala Luncheon with the key note address given by researcher and writer Anne Summers. A sobering address in which Anne gave us much of the detail of a recent research paper she has researched and written on  Domestic Violence titled,

≠ Violence or Poverty;

The dire choice faced by nearly half a million women




The  Society of Women Writers NSW   Biennial Poetry Book Awards 2022 

 Highly Commended

Colleen Keating’s Olive Muriel Pink: her radical and Idealistic life.

A poetic journey transforms meticulous research into vivid images 

and crisp, engaging writing, bring to light an extraordinary pioneering 

Australian woman’s life and achievements in this substantial 

biographical poem. 

Colleen Keating’s biographical poem brings to fresh attention, and in a new form the life and work of an extraordinary Australian, an anthropologist, committed to working with and bringing to the awareness of colonial Australia, the deep knowledge and connection to the land of the Warlpiri & Arrernte peoples. During her life, Olive Oink worked to disturb the ‘Great Australian Silence’ about the Aboriginal people and Keating’s engaging work restates and re-envisage this important work for modern day Australians.

This biographical poem is a sustained accomplishment. It is a complete narrative, rich in detail and authenticity that captures not only the board and more nuanced details of Olive Pink’s life, but also the landscapes and people in which /with whom she moved. In addition, the poem is a skilful evocation of the times (including both world wars), of loss, of prejudice, of misogyny, of dedication to a cause /a belief. Always lucid in detail, at times the blank verse lines are like sketches and paintings that Pink loved – accurate, but sparse like the arid desert in which she moved – and imbued with the vivacity and splashes of colour that characterise Australia’s land/outback.

Thank you, Colleen, for the opportunity thread your poetry .It was a privilege. Best wishes with your work in the future.

Dr. Carmel Bendon

Dr. Carmel Bendon is a writer and presenter  on  “all things medieval, “ lives in sydney, Australia. She has a 
phD in MedievalLiterature and lectures in English  literature, Medieval Studies and Spiritual. She is ye author of Mysticism and Space , Grasping at Water and more recently  The Mystics Who Came to Dinner.