On Wings of dawn

On Wing of Dawn

Thirst drove me down to the water
where I drank the moon’s reflection
Rumi

Tuggerah lake spreads open
the flounce of a bridesmaid skirt
amongst the pink tulle of cloud
a singular pelican
disturbs the moon bobbing along
its reflection in perfect balance
a narcissus moment
especially when it goes down for a fish

a silken sheen
wide expanses of blue
with dark patches –
sway of grasses
from which a snake long neck
of black cormorant
rhythmically dives

what we find: time plays waggery
in the still quite
of a dawn-lake our mind
is seduced to giddiness
like the caprice of a merry -go-round
with its jangle of lights and robotic tune

what we find: frivolity at the edge
as the day works itself
into a frenzy time is not kind
the lake becomes all fire
the plovers on the jetty protest
whip-smart at our approach

what is at stake: when the world
shatters into a million shards of glass
the shimmer on the lake
for our grandchildren
the beauty of the flocks of gulls
going south to feed
how they share the wind
in their formation

the death knell rings out
past the horizon
where the hills are softened
in the curl and swirl of mist
time thrusts its body
a superficial rush
but it cannot catch the present
that hums like a Tibetan bell
long after it stops ringing

we are always putting ourselves
together again
in a broken world
like humpty dumpty
who sat on the wall
after the fall
we have to pick up the pieces and go on
this is the journey
knowing only death is paralysis
and as Frost tells us
we have miles to go
before we sleep

Earth Day. A Celebration – Saving the Jacaranda- copy

To celebrate Earth Day I choose to reprint a poem  I love from my  first poetry collection,  A Call to Listen.   It is  a true story of a group of workers in our local council.  A model to save trees wherever you can for the life they support, for the beauty they give, for the fresh air they make, and for their healing presence in our lives.

Thank you Mary Reynolds Thompson for your inspiring email  . . . a reminder for me to act today.

It was on an autumn walk I learnt the old Jacaranda tree that I loved was under threat. It was in the way of new pipes. The pipes about 2 metres in diameter were being dug in and the gorgeous old Jacaranda was in the pathway. The next day there was an arborist directing the men down amongst the roots gently digging out the soil. The pipe was placed in underneath the roots. Then in November, 6 months on there it was, in full glory . . thanks to those who had worked to save it.

jacaranda_tree

saving the jacaranda

the line for the new concrete
drainage pipe
runs under the massive old jacaranda

meticulous to protect its roots
day after day the council men
ratty and mole in fluorescent yellow
dig a man-made warren
wide and deep

exposed roots
stretch and coil like dark bearded monsters
from a tenebrous underworld
smelling earthy airless damp

then overseen by an arborist
a crane lowers the pipe into place
and this private world is reclaimed

a year on
standing before its gnarled trunk
on a lilac path
i am corralled in its aura
of blossom-laden branches
and i rejoice with the breeze
in whispered mantras

And thank you to my daughter Elizabeth  Keating-Jones sending me Neil Gaiman’s poem in honour of  the Scientist and researcher, Rachel Carson (1907- 1964 )  who is the inspiration for Earth Day after  the new enlightment the world was given with her book Silent Spring  (1962)

Earth Day. A Celebration – Saving the Jacaranda

To celebrate Earth Day I choose to reprint a poem  I love from my  first poetry collection,  A Call to Listen.   It is  a true story of a group of workers in our local council.  A model to save trees wherever you can for the life they support, for the beauty they give, for the fresh air they make, and for their healing presence in our lives.

Thank you Mary Reynolds Thompson for your inspiring email  . . . a reminder for me to act today.

It was on an autumn walk I learnt the old Jacaranda tree that I loved was under threat. It was in the way of new pipes. The pipes about 2 metres in diameter were being dug in and the gorgeous old Jacaranda was in the pathway. The next day there was an arborist directing the men down amongst the roots gently digging out the soil. The pipe was placed in underneath the roots. Then in November, 6 months on there it was, in full glory . . thanks to those who had worked to save it.

jacaranda_tree

saving the jacaranda

the line for the new concrete
drainage pipe
runs under the massive old jacaranda

meticulous to protect its roots
day after day the council men
ratty and mole in fluorescent yellow
dig a man-made warren
wide and deep

exposed roots
stretch and coil like dark bearded monsters
from a tenebrous underworld
smelling earthy airless damp

then overseen by an arborist
a crane lowers the pipe into place
and this private world is reclaimed

a year on
standing before its gnarled trunk
on a lilac path
i am corralled in its aura
of blossom-laden branches
and i rejoice with the breeze
in whispered mantras

And thank you to my daughter Elizabeth  Keating-Jones sending me Neil Gaiman’s poem in honour of  the Scientist and researcher, Rachel Carson (1907- 1964 )  who is the inspiration for Earth Day after  the new enlightment the world was given with her book Silent Spring  (1962)

Shared Footprints Autumn

Our special Ginko walk  a seasonal walk along the beaches The Entrance, Blue bay and Toowoon Bay. Michael and I will make this season walk the first week of each season for the following year and note the changes.

AUTUMN March 11th 2018

 

TWO SETS OF FOOTPRINTS

MK two sets of footprints
crisp on the washed sand
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

 

My New Cousin by Jacinta Van Eyk

 My New Cousin

by Jacinta Van Eyk

 

Ethan Michael

is my baby cousin.                        IMG_0972

He is brand new 

with the cutest eyes

and a wriggly body, 

wrapped up in a  blanket 

light blue. 

When I arrive, 

he is sound asleep. 

We all have a little peep,

and then I get to hold 

and cuddle him.

The best is when he lies on me,                     IMG_1296

opens his eyes for me to see 

their deep blue colour.

He stretches

and gives little sighs.

When he gets hiccups

it makes me laugh.

I wish I could be there                                                                                        IMG_1297

to see him have a bath

 

IMG_1109

 

Writing a poem 

for Ethan Michael 

by Colleen KeatingIMG_1242

 

in the wee hours of the morning
you stir. . . you are on your way
like a bird from a long migration
you are arriving

as dawn sprinkles its first lights
across the sky    i am awake   alert
to morning bird song and wait
you are arriving

before noon on a bright summer day
you begin with a first breath
your heart   a fluttering bird
you have arrived

i look into your eyes
that carry other worlds
not forgotten yet    by this world
and grasp the beauty and terror
of the journey

you are the living sign of our joy
a part of us      of this world
nested with calm acceptance
of loving arms and familiar voices

for the artist your hair shines dark
crystallised ebony
your skin    the touch of a bird’s soft down
your eyes the deep of ocean-sapphire

for the poet there are no words
just wonder and awe
but like the soar of a lark ascending
writing a poem is my flight of love

 

(Ethan Michael is our 11th Grandchild born 11/01/19)

Jacaranda

Jacaranda

it seems everything this year

challenges the Jacaranda

**

IMG_9416In spring its hidden buds 

endure a drought

**

then whipping winds and rain

inflict a thrashing 

**

today in the foyer of summer

in regal glory it stands

**

its clusters of purple

touch the deep blue sky 

**

passers-by halt as if they hear it speak                   IMG_9455

a language they seek to decipher 

**

and there is a communal nod

for the earth’s generosity

Colleen Keating

 

jacarandas out our window

Resignation Syndrome – Poetry in Eureka Street

gaol

EUREKA STREET

Excited to have my poetry RESIGNATION SYNDROME published in Eureka Street .
Hildegard of Bingen said her quill was her sabre,
Judith Wright said her pen was her sword.
My laptop is my weapon to inspire, to encourage, to remind people to wake
as the poet Christopher Fry writes in his poem A Sleep of Prisoners
“What are you waiting for?
It takes so many thousand years to wake ,
but will you wake for pity’s sake ?”

ARTS AND CULTURE

Resignation syndrome

  • Colleen Keating
  • 22 October 2018

4 Comments

The concurrent symptoms for this poem: vague staring into mid air; taking to their bed; not eating or drinking regularly; not toileting; not responding. Imagine a child without light in their eyes. It is not a flash back. It is now. It is the Australian people.

Resignation syndrome

4 Comments

 

exaltation against despair

and the world is a wobbly stool
and spindly trees grow to the light
against all the odds
of walls and overcrowding
and where there’s a tree in your heart
a singing bird will come
and we write of hope
with nothing to write
yet urgent to write it

 

resignation syndrome

this poem is a repeat
written over and over
a story told again and again

 

the one thing different it has a revised title
two words
‘resignation’
meaning uncomplaining endurance of sorrow or other evil
‘syndrome’ — a set of concurrent symptoms.

the concurrent symptoms for this poem:

vague staring into mid air
taking to their bed
not eating or drinking regularly
not toileting
not responding
imagine a child without light in their eyes

it is not a flash back

it is now

it is the Australian people
it is us the wealthy nation
wanting our cake and to eat it too
what a cliche

using humans as a deterrent

fearful of fear

how many times do we need to tell it?

how many times do we need to hear it ?

how many times
until our hands and legs unshuffle
until hearts fire
our country blaze again
until we can imagine the human faces
staring through the bars
until we see eyes
children eyes
come alive again
until we know
it is our fears
that stifle the light

 

we want to know
goodness prevailis over evil

 

humanity is a breath of us
we are all in it
one breath
we breathe each others air
we are the people attempting to breathe

 

we are suffocating

 

in depriving breath from one human
we hold it from ourselves

 

silence is the power
secrecy is the power
yet humanity demanding to breathe together
is enough
is the power

 

after the massacre

when we wake to truths
that make our hearts beat fast
and walk the blood-red gravel track
that draws us down
to write the story on our heart
needle on our skin

to pin our bones into its frame
and stand

 

with Milton’s fear
of blindness and denial
then grope and touch
the blood-stained earth
with spines of ironbark
and smell the stench of burnt flesh
where only eucalypt should waft
we weep
grapple in the dark
find that so tender song-line of truth
stirs a nations womb to birth
and know
there is no going back

 

 

Colleen KeatingColleen Keating is a Sydney poet. She has two published award- winning collections of poetry: A Call to Listen and Fire on Water. She is also co-editor of two anthologies on behalf oft the NSW Women Writers network.

Topic tags: Colleen Keating, poetry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shared Footprints: Ginko A Walk for Spring

Two Sets of Footprints

by Michael and Colleen our Spring Beach Walk

footsteps-in-the-sand-peter-mooyman

 

 

MK spring sunrise

soft curl of cloud

cushions a mild sun       IMG_8087

 

CK morning song

tracks and swash

pattern the sand

 

MK velvet canvas of ocean

sparkle of IMG_8162sunlight

kindles welcome  

 

CK spring

our shared walk

follows familiar ways  

 

MK crisp horizon

we watch and wait

new day  

 

CK dolphin dreaming                      IMG_8160

presence of whales and dolphins

just beyond our gaze  

 

MK season of enthusiasm

coastal world bustles

kites fly 

 

CK a beachcomber

delights in treasure 

gifted by high tide                  IMG_8118

 

MK at the edge

on wet sand  

seaweed glints   

 

CK spring swimming

two women rugged up 

take the plunge            IMG_8139

 

MK paddle boarders

muscles in balance

expands our vision  

 

CK surf club air vent

two baby swallows

chirping  

 

MK swallows skate the air

good-time harbingers

tease us                              IMG_8174

 

CK a ‘heart’ on my coffee        

soaring swallows 

flirt over seaweed                       

 

MK spring air 

the hairs on our arms

tingle  

                                             

CK sipping coffee                    IMG_8130

our illusive  heron 

glides onto the lamp post  

 

MK winter is over

sun races south

my energy surges   

 

CK morning sun                     IMG_8134

silhouettes 

beach yoga 

 

 

MK new buds  

a sheen of colour

defies the breeze 

 

CK red geranium 

trails down sandstone

beach restoration                    IMG_8151

 

MK rock fishing

enough for all 

pelican waits  

 

CK stabilised sand dunes

butterflies and bees

delight         

 

MK mid morning

clouds corral

warmth seeps in                              IMG_8147

 

CK spring

our hearts 

blossom with colour 

 

Poem on Grandchildren and Environment wins

 

IMG_5584 3 IMG_6459

 

Good to receive word my poem  ‘a beautiful world’ received second place in the Annual Poetry Competition for Poetry Matters. Always affirming to have your work accepted and a cheque award is an extra bonus.  My award winning poem began with my Granddaughter  little Miss J putting my big shell to her ear and my saying ‘can you hear the sea?’ She listened seriously and said in her sweet three-year-old voice ‘I can hear the dolphins.’  That line stayed with me for the past three years. And then Thomas face-timed me from England with his  school project about  the problem of plastic  on the sea and the poem had its seed. 

AWARD WINNING POEM

a beautiful world

at the party I sit back
watch the action from the side
frivolity centres the room
spills out onto the deck

my daughters laugh 
in the kitchen
sampling each others specialities

the men outside
beer in hand
enjoy the sizzle of the barbecue

I watch their little ones 
busy at make-believe 
they are growing fast
each in their own way 
the eldest   now eight years old
is worried about the dolphins
what if they choke on the plastic and all die
the four year old responds 
i can hear the dolphins in grandma’s big shell

I remember my whispered words
as I held each for the first time
welcome little one
it is a beautiful world

now the world waits for them
silent  boisterous  open
their shining eyes also wait
and nested in hope  
my heart aches

 

IMG_5583IMG_6279

Thomas  Keating-Jones and Plastic Project

with his helper and little sister Miss E and  his school project  about Plastic and its  impact on our ocean.

Thanks to The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai for the back ground.

Thanks to Ginninderra Press for their publishing my poetry and to Cheryl Howard who supports poets and poetry writing with her journal Poetry Matters

 

 

SHARED FOOTPRINTS GINKO WALK: WINTER

TWO SETS OF FOOTPRINTS

by Michael and Colleen  on beach walk winter

 

 

footsteps-in-the-sand-peter-mooyman

 

CK  beanies coats and gloves –

our shadows long

on washed sand    

 

MK at the edge –            

foam trimmed

fingers of ocean               IMG_2336

 

CK  surprise

orange sand crabs 

bask in winter dawn

 

MK  slant of sunrise

yin-yang shadow

stone and shell

 

CK  spaciousness

on a winter beach

solitary seagull

 

MK    low low tide

untouched canvas

be awake                                                        IMG_2326

 

CK   over seaweed 

flirt of swallows

warms us

 

MK  fisherman and heron 

wade knee deep –

winter warriors

 

CK   rock pools mirror

clouds

our lives stilled                                  IMG_8152

 

MK  dawn

cuts sea and sky 

pelicans wait

 

CK burdens fall away

in morning light

willy wag tails

 

MK winter sun

softens our world

two sets of footprints  


IMG_2315