Bush Walk: Wyrrbalong National Park North

Whenever we  are out walking especially in the areas of beauty around our place on the Central Coast we pay tribute to the Awabakal and Darkinjung peoples and this makes us a little more aware  that we walk on sacred ground  and reminds us to pay attention and just ask and thank our entry into a place .

Spring is for stepping out and our local Wyrrbalong National Park

( gazetted in 1991) has the best of all worlds , the wonderful Australian Bush with its Red Gums and  Scribbly Eucalyptus,  the lingering of wattle and other Acacias, Hakea, Myrtles,  Banksia  and the odd siren of a red Waratah. This is  backgrounded by the coastal bird life with the iconic crack of the Whip Bird and the spectacular glimpses of the blue remind ing us we are walking in a rare piece of land where the bush meets the sea in our walk today as it curls around Tuggerah Lake 

We parked our car at a small car park off the road not far  along from Magenta. The first sign told us fox poison was laid . . . I felt sad after the wonderfully wild fox we saw in the past few days in the settling pond off Ibis Road.  But then if they are taking the birds and wild life maybe it has to be done. It reminds me of another walk I do  at Normanhurst in Sydney  where  signs appeared that they had laid baits against the rabbits . ( that saddened me too as I loved their little furry ears popping up and watching me as I walked. But I think the rabbits had the last laugh as they moved down onto the grass near the railway line and I travelled past they were hopping about everywhere. 

 The Burrawang Walking Track was the beginning and we walked taking in the fresh, unwithered air and breathing deeply to find an inner calm. 

Very quickly a divide in the road with  an unsigned choice . 

It had us standing and pondering Robert Frost’s Poem

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same, . . . 

The trees were amazing (as the photos show) but no photo can do justice to the awe  and magestry of the tree all with their own characters and the ferns protected by the higher canopy  were full of veriditas as Hildegard would say.

When we came to the signed junction  Red Gum Trail or Lilly Pilly Loop Trail .We chose the Lilly Pilly track which took us to a Tuggerah Lake Lookout. We took this track as time and energy seemed to prefer the loop. and left the Red Gum Trail for another day . Even so we saw some wonderful Red Gums.

There was a deep quietness and I think made even more so as our footprints were cushioned by the sandy track and it gave a great sense of wellbeing with the trees and ferns and lake.

. There was a deep quietness and I think made even more so as our footprints were cushioned by the sandy track and it gave a great sense of wellbeing with the trees and ferns and lake.

Story behind the poem The Gully, published in Mountain Secrets

Story behind the poem The Gully,  published in Mountain Secrets

 

 

The Gully  

the creek chatters with small rocks
as it slithers along    decanted
from a swamp    succulent
as ten thousand soaking sponges
fringed with ferns   lichens   mosses
sedges   with silver dew

the rustle of a lyre bird
singing the land back to healing
mimics a birdsong-world
and conceals a secret
a mountain secret  

there was a time in The Gully
when the lyrebird was silent
and the wind mimicked a deep howl
and the earth grieved and raged
for its evicted people
its ravaged concreted land 

today the lyre bird’s song rolls back
a many layered history
the Gundungurra and Darug people
lead us out of a amnesic fog
with a remember story –
               a redemptive pathway into now

by Colleen Keating

*The Gully, An Aboriginal Place in Katoomba. In the 50’s made into the Catalina Race track.

 

 

My poem The Gully is written on the history of an area in Katoomba which was a meeting ground for three Aborigine tribes before colonisation and after Warragamba Dam was build when their movement  was blocked many settled there on what was then the outskirts of the Katoomba town .  A Fun park was developed, a lake even a Catalina Plane was floated on the lake there and people were moved off from their homes  for a Race track which was built disturbing the head water of the Katoomba Fall that feeds the Jamison Valley . 

Now fortunately it has been returned to the and is very sacred to walk around and see and read  the history including remains of the track and where signs like Capstan Bend once hang.

The story is documented in a book called 

Sacred  Waters

 The story of the Blue Mountains Gully Aboriginal People 

        by 

Dianne Johnson 

 

‘Mountain Secrets’ A new Anthology published by Ginninderra Press

I am very honoured to be included in the new Anthology called ‘Mountain Secrets’  published  by Ginninderra Press  and I proudly read my poem ‘ The Gully’  at the launch.

Last weekend the Ginninderra Press family gathered at Blackheath amidst the pandemonium of the Rhododendron Festival  to launch their new book ‘ Mountain Secrets ‘  Thank you to the editor Joan Fenney for a a polished production.  It was a full and very rewarding day  and a great opportunity to put faces to names of poets that we only know through their writing, especially the many from interstate, South Australia, Canberra and Victoria.

After lunch we had a panel discussion on the Sense of Place in our writing and I had been asked to be on the panel. It was an honour being on the panel with two distinguished writers, my friend  Libby Sommer and poet John Watson.  I will post my reflection on my blog later today.

We then enjoyed afternoon tea and a birthday cake to celebrate Brenda Eldridge’s 70th birthday.

Next we had the pleasure of the launch of “Stories from Bondi Beach’ by Libby Sommer  launched expertly by Susanne Gervay. Congratulations to Libby. 

Thank you to Stephen Matthews and Brenda Eldridge/ Matthews, for bringing us together under the Ginninderra Press.

Hildegard gets a Mention in the Good Oil

The Good Oil

September 2019

Home    September 2019             Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey

Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey

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Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

Hildegard puts us in touch with ecology and a sense of wonder. Her visionary theology is both grand and utterly intimate, writes Colleen Keating. 

Colleen Keating has recently published a new book of poetry, Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey, which tells Hildegard’s story in 100 poems.

“Committing to ecological conversion” stands as one of the four areas of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan Statement of Directions. This collection of poetry explores Hildegard’s notion of viriditas – the greening – and the call to discover the interconnectedness of all life.

Below is an extract from her book.

 

It is around 1153.

Hildegard sits in the scriptorium with her scribe the monk Volmar and Sister Clara.

 Fiery Light of Writing

A Cosmic web of Creation

wings into Hildegard’s mind

her hand covers her heart

to cradle its ache for expression.

She breathes into the light.

All one,

sing the leaves of the trees outside

a choir of hosannas tremble along branches

their tracery gilded, fiery-gold against the sky.

All one

whirs each drop of water in the Nahr

as it gurgles along

to become one with the Rhine.

Eyes to the heavens,

Hildegard looks into the heart of light,

dictates to Volmar and Clara.

At times she steeples her fingers in thought

voice hardly audible,

at times she dictates from her wax tablets.

Empty parchments fill

like stars stipple across a night sky.

 

Eyes wide open she invokes,

The oneness of creation and humanity

demands justice.

We know fields will no longer yield their fruits

where human greed and injustice

have sought too quick a yield.

 

From the fertile fields of her mind,

Hildegard crafts words

to comfort, console, confront and castigate.

Under the stamp of Papal Approval

embedded in an era of superstition

her words have power.

Her strange pure tongue,

captivates Bishops and Kings,

filters through all social classes.

 

Her presence, her writings, her preaching

offers the hope of change,

a chance to make sense of the world.

 

 

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German literature scholar,

Dr Gisela Nittel will launch the book

on Sunday 13, October 2019

at the Sydney Writers Centre, Balmain, NSW.

All are welcome.

For more information: [email protected]

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey, visit www.ginninderrapress.com.au

Colleen Keating

Colleen Keating is a Sydney-based poet and writer. Through her work she “explores the paradox and wonder of nature, the harsh realities of life, of inequality, injustice and increasing threat to our natural environment”. In November 2017 Colleen published her second book of poetry, “Fire on Water” (Ginninderra Press), which recently won a silver Nautilus Book Award. Colleen’s website is colleenkeatingpoet.com.au

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Hildegard’s Feast day . Celebrated . . . Day 1 Ecology

 

 

Hildegard puts us in touch with ecology and a sense of wonder.
Her visionary theology is both grand and utterly intimate,
writes Colleen Keating. 

Colleen Keating has recently published a new book of poetry, Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey, which tells Hildegard’s story in 100 poems.

“Committing to ecological conversion” stands as one of the four areas of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan Statement of Directions. This collection of poetry explores Hildegard’s notion of viriditas – the greening – and the call to discover the interconnectedness of all life.

Below is an extract from her book.

 

It is around 1153.

Hildegard sits in the scriptorium with her scribe the monk Volmar and Sister Clara.

 

Fiery Light of Writing                       

A Cosmic web of Creation
wings into Hildegard’s mind
her hand covers her heart
to cradle its ache for expression.
She breathes into the light.
All one,
sing the leaves of the trees outside
a choir of hosannas tremble along branches
their tracery gilded, fiery-gold against the sky.

 

All one
whirs each drop of water in the Nahr
as it gurgles along
to become one with the Rhine.

 

Eyes to the heavens,
Hildegard looks into the heart of light,
dictates to Volmar and Clara.

 

At times she steeples her fingers in thought
voice hardly audible,
at times she dictates from her wax tablets.
Empty parchments fill
like stars stipple across a night sky.

 

Eyes wide open she invokes,
The oneness of creation and humanity
demands justice.
We know fields will no longer yield their fruits
where human greed and injustice
have sought too quick a yield.

 

From the fertile fields of her mind,
Hildegard crafts words
to comfort, console, confront and castigate.

Under the stamp of Papal Approval
embedded in an era of superstition
her words have power.
Her strange pure tongue,
captivates Bishops and Kings,
filters through all social classes.

 

Her presence, her writings, her preaching
offers the hope of change,
a chance to make sense of the world.

 

 

 

Hildegard’s Feast Day This is a Countdown . . Day 2, Care for the Earth

 

 

 

Hildegard’s Feast Day  This is a countdown  Day 2. Care for the earth

Why speak of the earth?

because we are of it,

because we are destroying it,

because we have  nowhere else.

Hildegard did not have the advantages of the 21st century, she did not  know the earth from an astronauts view as we do, she did not have the science we have today, yet she knew how precious this luminous pearl adrift in a dark ocean is.
She speaks of  oneness, unity . . .  the microcosm of the tiniest unit,  the macrocosm of the universe and how they are all one .

Here is a poem  from my new book, Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey in praise of the earth.

Listening

Amid the local gardener’s chatter
about plants and herbs
their culinary and medicinal uses,
and laughter of the young sisters
bubbling live with the world,
Hildegard listens.

She leans against her spade and listens.
Birds twitter
pecking at the scattered soil.
Hildegard gazes towards the hills
soft curved as a mother’s breast.
Is it the hills singing she hears?
Is it her heart surging with love?

Like a mantra she hears the words,
The earth is mother,
mother of all that is natural,
mother of all that is human.
mother of all,
for contained in her
are the seeds of all.

Hildegard looks about her.

The sisters at work, all is the same,
yet she is full of song
of trees and plants and flowers,
of herbs and ferns and stones.

Hildegard’s Feast day This is a Countdown . . . MUSIC

 

 

Hildegard’s Feast Day  This is a countdown  Day 3.

Three days until Hildegard’s Feast Day – 17th September.

In  this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A  poetic journey,  we see how important MUSIC and SINGING is to  HILDEGARD  and to the  LIFE OF HER ABBEY.  

 

 

 

Hildegard is is now the Magistra (meaning teacher.)   Jutta has died and Hildegard holds her sisters together.  She leads them  away from  the old monastery to begin the creation of their own Abbey. (the new Abbey in Bingen)

To lift their spirits  she composes music that carries them on the breath  heavenwards.  The year is 1151 at their new Abbey on the Rhine River.

Unearthing Heaven

Seamless fold of seasons.
Not so seamless, their daily struggle..
Life is still comfortless
harsh, rough.

Music carries them.
Singing gladdens them.

Hildegard is invigorated
by harmonies of sound
sees music in the dawn
light on the hills
in the caress of the wind
shape of the clouds
sound of the entwining rivers
the patter of rain
chatter of verdant tendrils of vine.

Music moves in her mind
fills her writing
defines her day.
She sings with her sisters.
Her sisters sing with her.

Singing softens their tired
discouraged hearts
like blossoms soften stone walls. 

In giving voice to her poetry
Hildegard bursts into song.  
Words of Divine Light, 
sounds from the heavenly spheres
echo in her,

O fleeting soul, be strong. 
Clothe yourself in the armour of light.
You are surrounded 
with the embrace of Divine mysteries.

She sees creation, a symphony of joy and jubilation,
a great chorus of the cosmos itself.

In the garden with her sisters
she draws lines with a stick on the earth
dots out the shift of sounds,
with the stick as baton and pointer
she teaches them her new music.
Their eyes shine.
Her antiphons and canticles
enrich the Divine Office.
Richardis leads, her voice ethereal,
the sisters join, words and rhythms soar,
breathless notes, higher and ever higher.

Their unfinished church
embraces their song,
a new heaven and new earth.

 

 

Photos of music scores fro around Hildegards time to show the beautiful calligralhy  and the second photo is of the author in the vicinity of where Hildegard is supposed to have lived in the anchorage at the Disibodenberg Monastery from 1112 – 1150

Hildegard’s Feast Day This is a Countdown . . . .

Hildegard’s Feast Day  This is a Countdown  Day 4

Four days until Hildegard’s feast day  – 17th September

In this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey

Hildegard is now a young woman. You may wonder how she, from a restricted beginning, could grow in learning and knowledge to became such a great influence on Western World music, medicine, ecology and environment.

 The young man is the monk Volmar. He is one of the few literate  monks and a Latin scholar. He is the scribe for the monastery.  It is 1120.

 

Getting of Knowledge 

Seasons fall one upon another.
Hildegard tends their courtyard,
a patchwork of green colour.

Pilgrims throng to Disibodenberg,
seek Jutta for blessing.
Jutta sits at her window                                                          
to the world.
Hildegard observes Jutta’s gifts
of healing and prophecy,
aware of the pilgrims, their fears,
their sense of longing.

After Divine Office
the monk Volmar taps the window,
gives them a vellum-bound manuscript.
He speaks softly,
This is my new work.

In dim afternoon light
Hildegard and Jutta sit together,
marvel at illustrated works
he has copied into German,
of the vegetation found sheltered
in woodlands and meadows,
herbs, ferns, moss and lichen

They pour over each page.
Illustrations shimmer
under Hildegard’s enquiring gaze.
They smell the hide, minerals,
ink’s oak oil, plant dye.
Hildegard’s hunger quickens.
Her hunger for the getting of knowledge.

 

 

 

PS The writing pictures are of mediaeval time but not Hildegard’s actual writing.

Hildegard’s Feast Day This is a Countdown . . . . .

This is a Countdown.

Five days until Hildegard’s feast day  – 17th September.

In this poem from my new book Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey,

Hildegard is a girl developing into a young woman.

In the intimacy of the anchorage Hildegard’s world of the early 12th century seems closed off.

Yet during the 20 years as a walled-in anchorite, Hildegard is preparing for the greatness of her expanding future as one of the worlds first composers, writers, environmentalists and healers.

Her voice speaks to us down the centuries.  Today, 840 years later, we are reminded to be wide eyed and curious, about our planet, other species and our fellow human beings.

Take your mind back over 900 years, Jutta, her Benedictine sister and Hildegard are living and learning in the anchorage attached to a monastery with around 60 Benedictine monks in a life of prayer, work and study.  It is about 1116 AD.

Wide Eyed and Curious

Under Jutta’s tutelage,
Hildegard writes out prayers.
Wide eyed and curious
she absorbs the Divine Office.
With the tablet and stylus                                        
Latin comes alive.

The ten strings of the psaltery
zither the air
as she sings the psalms.
She and Jutta stitch gifted fine silk
for altar cloths and vestments.

Stone walls, monastic chant
by osmosis, her world of music.
Sometimes her mind drifts back to home,
smell of the Bermersheim forest
and meadows in spring.
How she loved running wildly
that last summer
in the woods with her brother Roerich.

In moments of loneliness
she gazes inwards.
Was she a tithe to God
the last of ten children?
Or despite her mother’s warning
was she betrayed
by her secret?

Photos:

1. At top: Taken in March 2017  in our stay place. At work on the writing of Hildegard.

2. Spring just peeping through on the further bank of the Rhine River in Bingen.

3.This photo shows  late Spring the grapes greening up on the far bank of the  Rhine

Book review by Abbess Christine Valters Paintner. Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey

Affirming words from the Abbess Christine Valters Paintner   PhD

who lead the enriching 3 weeks Pilgrimage

of walking in Hildegard of Bingen’s footsteps in the Benedictine Way

which I was a part of with 30 other pilgrims in Autumn 2013

Christine’s latest book  Dreaming of Stones is a very reflective selection of poetry

 

“Hildegard of Bingen was a woman of extraordinary creative expression and this book approaches her wisdom through the gift of poetry which allows us to move into a more intuitive space. It is a book to slow us down, that invites us to ponder, and calls us to follow Hildegard toward a growing greenness in our lives.”

—Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, author of 12 books on spirituality including Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics

Blessings on your project!

Warmly, Christine

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

Abbey of the Arts:

Transformative Living through 

Contemplative and Expressive Arts