Unearthing Heaven in Music





“Hildegard’s music is not easy. It is demanding with the breath…there are even a couple of songs that have two and a half octave ranges, which is extreme for music. In our day, we don’t even have most music like that.” ~ Linn Maxwell on Saint Hildegard’s music

This poem is set in Hildegard of Bingen’s new Abbey at Rupertsberg near the town of Bingen at the junction of the Nahr River and the Rhine in 1151. It is before her new Church is completed and before her sisters sing in flowing silk robes their Opera Ordo Virtutum  written by Hildegard (believed to be the first opera written by a woman in History. This poem is an extract from my up and coming writing on Hildegard of Bingen: A Poet Journey




                                                          Unearthing Heaven in Music
Unearthing Heaven in Music

Seamless fold of seasons
Not so seamless, human endeavour.
Life is still comfortless,
harsh, rough.

Hildegard is invigorated
by harmonies of sound,
sees music in the dawn,
dance of 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 sings in her mind
fills her writing
defines her day.

In giving voice to her poetry
Hildegard bursts into song.
Words of Divine Light,
sounds from the heavenly spheres,
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.
She sings with her sisters.
Her sisters sing with her.
Singing softens their tired
discouraged hearts
like blossoms soften stone walls.
In the garden with her sisters around her
she draws lines with a stick on the earth
dots out the shift of sounds,
and with the stick as a 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 sister join, words and rhythms soar,
breathless notes, thin higher and higher.

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


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Two Sets of Footprints by Michael Keating and Colleen Keating


by Michael and Colleen on autumn  beach walk


CK            on the horizon
shelf of thick cloud
dawn lingers

MK            edge of the ocean
elements in balance
cone of awareness

CK                autumnal sun
catches the wet sand
our mirrored world

MK             gulls saunter
pattern the sand
we ease past

CK            olive-green seagrass
buzzes with insects
fresh from the ocean

MK             warm touch of sun
gossamer seaweed
dart of swallows

CK               the blue-grey heron
forages alone
we curve around

MK              photographers in position
board riders at play
wait for the moment

CK              near the headland
hang gliders colour the sky
autumnal breeze

MK            step through this autumn morning
extras on stage
accept our transience

CK               with incoming tide
two sets of footprints
are gone



no footprint





Even in the darkest of times there is always hope

there is always possibility of a new day.

Words that speak of justice, that work towards peace,

that give  hope lifts all of us and we are then  truly human.





when i hear words like this
there appears to be new texture
even bird song seems elevated

when i hear words like these
it occurs to me the dawn has an aureate glow
that the ocean sings in celebration

a heart on mute   beats again
on pause   wings again

from heart to heart like music in a round
into every dark corner like sparrows in a thorn bush
people will feel the chalice of humanity again
that is their gift to the world

Fire on Water

Fire on Water  is the first section in my new poetry book of the same title.

The first poem I dedicated to Michael .

The first photo is of our wedding day Saturday 24th September 1973.

The second photo is  breakfast Saturday 24th September 2018 45th Anniversary.







for Michael

caught by the gossamer of the moment

wrapped in seductive arms
we yarned and sang ate marshmallows
danced soaked in laughing rains and played
with rainbows frolicked naked in the sea
loved setting suns drank wine to the moon
thought this is forever

and dared a skerrick of doubt to creep in

black swan event






black swan event

see on a lonely stretch of water
a wind choreographed dance
of black swans
noble stance
elegant moves
they dabble in brackish shallows
close in amongst the reeds

was it a shifty wind
that blew them in
was it the algae and duckweed
that`lured them
rare on this side of the lake

they dip their red beaks
then their long curved necks
like question marks
lift and stretch

sometimes not so elegantly
they up-end
bottoms in the air
black tutus flounced

some lift off fleetingly
with a wonk wonk wonk
running on water across the lake
their wide white-tipped black wings
bellow-beat the water
and with a whistling sound
like ballerinas glide back

how I’d like to get closer
even for a moment
let them know I am their friend
they are aware of me
and with each of my forward steps
they languidly glide further out

Colleen Keating

the black-shouldered hawk




the black-shouldered hawk

with dawn
into my view
on the wing of the ocean breeze
up-wind riding
came an air-faring mariner
wingspan in full command
on the lightness of air
with tail fluting ripples of gold
a frisson of dawn-light
it hovered like a sky-cheetah
in search of its prey
and held me

then away on air currents it soared
leaving me lead-footed
in wet sand

tokyo train

tokyo train

on a train
in cramped and swaying space
grey suited brief case smells
stuffy conforming silence

Speed shifts the strap i grip
feet rock in time to its rhythm
a dark blur of mean-shaped high-rise
corridor the tracks

blank faces caught
in alien worlds of electronics
outside flashing neon shout at numbness

we the night commuters
a brace of anonymity
breathe each others air
and pretend we’re not there

only my eyes out the window
beam as i glimpse the moon smiling on me
as she does on you in a distant land