White Pebbles Haiku Group Autumn Meeting 2024

White Pebbles Haiku Group Autumn Meeting 2024

A warm, calm morning greeted the gathering of our White Pebbles haiku poets for our autumn ginko on Saturday 9th March 2024. It was an Indian Summer day. The heady air of gardenias was coloured by a shimmer of dragonflies fussing over the lotus pond with its rush of cascading water. Added to this was chatter and laughter of children. Ducks and koi roiled with enthusiasm as many little fingers dropped pellets of food into the pond from the viewing platform.

Present at our regular venue, Gosford/Edogawa Japanese Gardens and Regional Gallery, were Beverley George, Gwen Bitti, Maire Glacken, Marilyn Humbert, Colleen Keating, Kent Robinson, and Michael Thorley. Apologies had been received from Samantha Sirimanne Hyde and  Pip Griffin

In the weeks prior to our meeting, Beverley, our convener, had emailed a worksheet to use as guidance for reflection and sharing.  After gathering for catchup and coffee, we set out at 10.30 a.m. on our ginko walk and gathered at 11 a. m. for our workshop.  We began by sharing haiku we had written about white pebbles, then our haiku on the word ‘pathway’.

Next we were asked to ponder the Japanese concept of ma, the contained distance and space between objects. We learnt it also refers to time: the intervals between action and event, between sound and silence. We were encouraged to look into the spaces; observe the small things. It was interesting to workshop this idea and listen to the varied responses, including some haiku ready or nearly ready for publishing.

We proudly read our contributions published in Echidna Tracks, and other haiku published elsewhere. Finally we each shared a haiku written by one of the Japanese Masters that we had brought along. A few were able to stay on for lunch at this lovely venue.

Colleen Keating
Member of White Pebbles Haiku Group

White Pebbles Haiku Group Summer Meeting 2024

White Pebbles Haiku Group Summer Meeting 2024

Due to unforeseen circumstances, with weather threatening safe travel, the White Pebbles summer meeting scheduled for December 9th was deferred to January 13th.

Six of our members were present and we were joined by welcome guest, Pip Griffin. Michael Thorley and Samantha Hyde were unable to attend this time and they were missed.

We gathered at 10 a.m. for a catch-up and refreshing cuppa, before setting off on our silent ginko around the garden, looking appreciatively at wider landscapes and into small spaces, listening to natural sounds, sniffing the perfumes of leaves and blossom and alert to the shifting patterns of shadows and reflections.

At 11 a.m. we gathered at an oval table in a quiet room we hire at each meeting for workshopping.

Each member had heeded the suggested worksheet distributed in advance of the meeting, and shared haiku they brought with them relevant to that, in addition to those jotted on the ginko. As always, the sharing of haiku and respect for each other’s work was paramount to the enjoyment of the day and we look forward to our autumn meeting in the gardens.

Group photo
left to right: Pip Griffin, Gwen Bitti, Marilyn Humbert, Colleen Keating, Kent Robinson, Beverley George, Maire Glacken

White Pebbles Spring Meeting and Ginko 2023

White Pebbles haiku poets gathered at the Edogawa Gardens at the Gosford Regional Gallery and Arts Centre on Saturday morning, 16th September, 2023. Present were Maire Glacken, Marilyn Humbert, Gwen Bitti, Colleen Keating, Beverley George and Kent Robinson, with apologies received from Samantha Sirimanne Hyde and Michael Thorley.

A glorious spring day greeted us. Ducks and koi carp shared the pond and water features of the gardens. As they fed the ducks, children’s laughter echoed among the beautifully manicured flora. Spring blooms of every hue brightened the walkways.

We met in the Gallery’s cafe for a catch-up before a stroll through the gardens. Over coffee, Marilyn Humbert, advised us that, in order to refine our sense of observation as we strolled, we look into the small spaces – distill whatever we saw, and trust ourselves and our senses as we composed our haiku.  We strolled the garden, feeling the warmth of the spring sunshine on our faces. The scent of blooms bursting all about and the joy of being immersed in birdsong were intoxicating.

Now it was time for a round table meeting in the niche beneath the art gallery. At the beginning of the meeting our dear friend and valued member of White Pebbles, Gail Hennessy, who sadly recently passed, was remembered fondly. The round table about which we gather is extremely significant to our group. Around it we may share ideas and each single poet is as one with all others. How fortunate we feel, that White Pebbles is such a mutually supportive group!

Beverley George distributed for purchase “under the same moon”, the Fourth Australian Haiku Anthology, in which several White Pebbles members have haiku. (Many thanks to Vanessa Proctor for furnishing Beverley with copies of this fine anthology in advance of our meeting.)

Echidna Tracks 11 was spoken of, with congratulations to all White Pebbles poets who feature therein.

We then moved on to the business of the day. Beverley had asked that we each bring a haiku that had inspired us in the early days of our haiku journey, as well as one of our own that we had composed in those early days. Matsuo Basho featured strongly as an early influence to many.

Next, we considered the haiku and images that had been gathered on the garden walk earlier. This proved an extremely productive exercise. Beverley presented some haiku that Michael Thorley had sent in. Thank you, Michael. Your sensitive haiku were a fine addition to our meeting and very much appreciated by all.

Marilyn Humbert had prepared a presentation entitled “The Art of Discovery”. She advised us in composing haiku to observe light and shade at different times throughout the day, different seasons, different weather conditions, different sounds and different moods. And to be aware of the ephemeral things – feathers, stones, bird calls, the shapes of twigs and leaves, tree trunks and bark, rough and smooth. To trust our senses. Helpfully, Marilyn supplied a number of examples of haiku written from different points of view. Many thanks to Marilyn for a most informative and thought provoking presentation.

At this point, towards the end of our meeting, we acknowledged our members who have recently had books published.
* Gwen Bitti has had a novel entitled “Between Two Worlds” published by Ginninderra Press. Gwen spoke of the writing of “Between Two Worlds” and furnished each White Pebble poet with a sachet of fragrant herbs, a snippet of silk and one of hessian to enhance sensory perception, as she spoke.
* Colleen Keating’s carefully researched book, “The Dinner Party” was also published by Ginninderra Press and we enjoyed hearing about it.
* And we recalled that only recently, in 2022, Samantha Sirimanne Hyde’s book “The Lyrebird’s Cry” was published.
Congratulations All!

This concluded the White Pebbles Spring meeting 2023. The general sentiment was all are looking forward to our summer ginko.

Kent Robinson

Group photo
Back, L to R: Colleen, Kent; Front, L to R: Beverley, Maire, Gwen, Marilyn

 

Author: leanneausthaiku

Secretary, Australian Haiku Society

Notre Dame Cathedral, Hildegard of Bingen and the Brandenburg Choir

 

Notre Dame  

A story of ritual,
                          of resolution
                                              and resurrection. 
by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.

Live, vulnerable and raw, the story  . . . . Notre Dame  . . . with the Baroque music , the bringing in Victor Hugo with the Hunchback of Notre Dame,  the bells, the continuing restoration, the horrific tragedy of the fire in 2019 and the rising up again from the ashes was a very rewarding  musical, afternoon experience.

As the music played, the large screen through church panels told the story in slowly moving  pictures .

And the most delightful surprise of my afternoon was hearing the music of Hildgard of Bingen chosen for the climax of the performance.  Out of the silence  it was her music that was chosen to speak of hope in the moment of despair. 

It was in the stark climax of destruction as one turns in despair for the next step to move out of this dark place, to rise again  . . . and the soprano  of their choir, I think Bonnie  de la Hunty,   who walked out in white amidst  the left over smoke  and smouldering ash and with her exquisite soprano voice sang  O Virga ac Diadema  (from Hildegard of Bingen, written while she was building her own church and Abbey in the 12th century as Notre Dame was also being built. ) 

She sings Hildegard’s song here today 2nd March 2024 originally written in the 12th century .

O blossom, you did not spring from dew 
nor from the drops of rain
nor from the windy air flown over you;
but divine radiance has brought you forth 
upon that noblest bough

For a moment I was Hildegard gazing at the young sister, Richardis  whom she had trained in music from when she was young , listening to the beauty of her voice,

When the sisters harmonise in a chorus
and Richardis sings the solo to end the opera
tears fill Hildegard’s eyes, she bows her head.   (from Hildegard of Bingen C Keating)

and I remember Hildegard’s anticipation in the poem before this which works so poignantly for  the story of Notre Dame

Amid the blossoms of their second Easter
birds fly to and fro building nests
and hildegard sends out her invitations.
Music will bring light to the dark.
Stillness will become dancing.
The Bishop of Mainz
will bless our newly built church.
There is to be a concert.

All are welcome.       (from Hildegard of Bingen by C Keating)

  I especially loved the  the sense of warmth and fun and lightheartedness in the performance with the story of the young Australian restorer  ( a bit brash but i understood her being there)and Victor Hugo (well the ghost of Victor Hugo)

The Australian review  proclaimed  that a ”concert with the Australian Branadeberg Orchestra is like stepping back in time as the sound of the period instruments resurrect Baroque and Classic works with reverence and authority.

How Michael and i remember Notre Dame Cathedral from our cruise on the Seine on our Europe tour in 2015.

Notre Dame Cathedral  2015 from The Joy of paris

by Colleen Keating

1.

from our cruise on the Seine 
we gaze in awe at your aged beauty
your spires, domes, flying buttresses
reaching upwards like arms open in praise
dressed in a grandness  of ancient glory
standing for so many centuries 

2.

close up we stand on your sacred  land
where in ancient times a pagan temple to Jupiter stood
lightness of leaves a tracery on your flaxon stone
intricacies and details of story carved into you 
like tatooes  marked on your body to tell a story
mythical and demonic creatures  grotesques  
and  gargoyles touch of pagan  . . . stamp of christanity
all for the Mother, mother of earth, mother of us all 

3

we enter your cool dark sanctuary 
looking up into the heavens of your spires
feeling so small    yet safe 
as if your arms  sturdy and forever hold us
burn candles with murmur of ancestral prayers
on your breath. Flickers of rainbow light play
in hazy dust motes as your Rose windows l

ike the eyes of a goddesses catch 
the cosmic sun to channel into you
the light making  miracles in your spectrum of emotions
blues ,crimsons,golds  shine for our memories

 

4

burning
smoke gives the warning  
flames orange red purple rage
burning into our hearts

our mother is burning
our earth is breaking
her oak spires –  collapse

treasures grabbed
spared  saved
peoples lives spared

 days of heart break 
we stand in our kitchen
thousands of miles from Paris

grasping our throats
as if the smoke chokes
we grasp at the breath of ancient oaks

burning and later we stand
hands on our heart in mourning.
till we hear the leader

and people of Paris declare

we will work to save her
we call on the world send your best craft people
she will rise up in glory

in glory once again’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

U3A Talk on the unfolding of her writing life by Pip Griffin

 

Last Friday 9th February 2024 , poet and friend,  Pip Griffin led a very enjoyable and informative morning,
as U3A speaker for the month, at the Leichhardt Library.  Pip shared with us the unfolding of  her writing life, the challenges of writing a verse novel and with a vivid and colourful set of slides took us through the inspiration and process of writing three of her many books.  There was a great gathering of more then 30 people who came to support and hear Pip’s very interesting journey.  And we had a great celebratory lunch afterwards with some friends to cheer Pip’s very successful morning.

 

Pip introduced us to her earlier and highly acclaimed verse novel Ani Lin: The Journey of a Chinese Buddhist Nun.  The slides of her actual journey in China and on the edge of  Tibet where she found the inspiration for her Buddhist Nun were excellent and she thanks her son John for his assistance in this. 

As the dust jacket informs its readers: “In 1892, 18 year old Lin enters a mountain nunnery, where she begins a journey that will take her on a difficult spiritual and physical path.  Her dream is to work for equality for women in the Buddhist world.”  In her Afterword Griffin announces that this is an imaginary tale: “In 1874, my imaginary nun, Lin, was born in a village near Yunnanfu (capital of Yunnan Province and renamed Kunming in the 1920s).  She died in 1939, the year I was born.  Her story was conceived in 1985 when I first travelled to Guilin (Guangxi Province) and experienced feelings of déjà vu in the spectacular karst landscape.”

Pip’s opening poem “Coming home from the market” exemplifies the ethos behind the poem novel as she introduces the young girl to her readers:

 I ride my bicycle
 on the bumpy road
 through hazy landscape
 patchwork gardens illuminated
 by the setting sun
 stacked mountains layered
 against orange sky
This is a work laden with possibilities that result out of an engagement with people, places and landscape, real but also mythically-charged.  And as her reviewer, Patricia Prime, wrote a little while back.

“The journey is beautifully evoked by Griffin as the girl traverses rivers, mountains, sacred peaks, sanctuaries and a visit to the Mu household where, in the poem “Visiting the Mu household” “Prince Mu has asked us / to take tea with him.”

Griffin’s poem novel is activated by small moments unfolding from the fragments of daily minutiae: a sense of miracle, bliss is localized, transcendence is brief and raw, insight comes from focusing on the elements of Lin’s journey, the playing of her flute, wandering in the lamasery garden, meditating, eating and drinking. “ 

Next Pip spoke of her research and writing  of  her verse novel, Margaret Caro : The Extraordinary Life of a Pioneering Dentist, New Zealand 1848-1938.  This is the story of her great aunt  and  pioneer in New Zealand, first female dentist in NZ, a convert to Seventh-day Adventism  and social reformer . A towering figure she and her husband  Jacob (a Physcian )  worked in many difficult places including in NZ goldfields .

Lastly Pip spoke of her highly acclaimed and award winning verse  novel, Virginia & Katherine: The Secret Diaries  . It is well summed up in the following from the SWW web site.

… K & I had our relationship, & never again shall I have one like it – Virginia Woolf, October 1924
In January 1923, Virginia Woolf noted in her diary that Katherine Mansfield had promised two years earlier to send her diary to her. She was perplexed and hurt that she had not, not knowing how ill Katherine had been. The ‘secret diaries’ – Virginia’s begun after Katherine’s death in 1923, Katherine’s begun in 1920 are written in lyrical poems inspired by the friendship (and intense rivalry) of the two women. Virginia and Katherine recognised that they were ‘both after the same thing’ in their compulsive, innovative work of ‘writing their lives’.  The book presents a fresh dialogue that also suggests a tantalising possibility.
Pip Griffin, with meticulous research, creates biographical, poetical fiction that is fascinating and intriguing, filled with wonderful quotes and speculation. A pleasure to deeply dive in – jenni nixon, poet
Publisher: Pohutukawa Press
ISBN:  9780980318456
AUD 20.00 plus postage available from:
The author pipgriffin8@gmail.com
Wheelers Book www.wheelers.co.nz
James Bennett Pty Ltd www.bennett.com.au

 

1.Ani Lin: The Journey of a Chinese Buddhist Nun, Pip GriffinPohutukawa Press, Leichhardt, N.S.W. 2014, Australia.  

2.Margaret Caro : The Extraordinary Life of a Pioneering Dentist, New Zealand 1848-1938.  Pohutukawa Press, 2020

3. Virginia & Katherine: The Secret Diaries   Pohutukawa Press, 2021

 

 

The Mozzie, Poetry Journal by Colleen Keating

 

Excited and honoured to have three poems published in the latest Mozzie. Thank you Ron Heard for keep on keeping on . It is a valuable contribution to our poetry world.

a poet

on Lennox Beach
i strode out 
the long flat expanse 
in my younger  faster days 
a shape-shifter in the dawn

above a brown wide-winged 
kestrel glided too
on the whipped air currents above
then dived into the grassy
sandbank and took off

Back at my cabin 
i wrote 
a poem from the heart 
stirred by this bird   posted it
to the Mozzie   and the editor –

Ron Heard  published it 
and I saw
my first ever poem in print
and that is how my life 
as a poet took wings

Colleen Keating

LOSS: VOL 9 The latest edition in the Lifespan series from Pure Slush Poetry Anthologies.

Very affirming to have a poem in the latest edition of the Lifespan Series from Pure Slush – Loss and exciting to be published with some other family friends including Pip Griffin.  

Loss Lifespan Vol. 9

570 pages – to be published February 2024

pastedGraphic.png

paperback ISBN: 978-1-922427-36-6

ePub ISBN: 978-1-922427-37-3

Kindle ISBN: 978-1-922427-84-7

to purchase Loss, click here for  paperback  /  ePub  (ePubs can be read on Apple devices, and all eReaders except Kindle)  /  Kindle

For Loss

Featuring the poetry and prose of Alex Reece Abbott, Carol Adams, Edward Ahern, Tobi Alfier, Dee Allen, Kathleen Aponick, Richard Clarke, Ken Cohen, Sage Cohen,, Flemming George, Declan Geraghty,  Gabby Gilliam, JW Goll, Jim Gormley, Ken Gosse, John Grey, Pip Griffin, Betty Naegele Gundred, Chris Hall, Ronald T. Hardwick, Richard Harries, Doug Hawley, Tom Hazuka, Mark Heathcote, Henry, Kathleen Herrmann, Theresa Hickey, Matthe Fiona M. Jones, Kenneth M. Kapp, Colleen Keating, Alan Kennedy, gundo, Judith Shapiro, Pegi Deitz Shea, Emily Shearer, Josh Sherman, Michael Shoemaker, Joan Seliger Sidney, Cheryl Snell, Amy Soricelli, Gail Sosinsky, Adrienne Stevenson, Robin Stratton, Marianne Szlyk, Christopher Tattersall, Phillip Temples, Suzette Thompson, Lydia Trethewey, Lucy Tyrrell, Leo Vanderpot, Linden Van Wert, Donald R. Vogel, Kenneth Wagner, Zhihua Wang, Tony Warner, Kresha Richman Warnock, Alison Wassell, B. D. Watson, Michael Webb, Brian Weston, Lynn White, Thomas Reed Willemain, Jeral Williams, Todd Williams, Russell E. Willis, Allan J. Wills, Mike Wilson, Melissa E. Wong, Anne Harding Woodworth, Stephen Paul Wren, Mantz Yorke and Gary Zenker.

 

My poem chosen for the Anthology

morning litany  the day after

air tastes brittle         hits hard                    
like the head of a nail being pounded 

there has been no rain for weeks 
earth is dry 

leaves   dusty and blueish 
curl in foetal positions 

caught 
in a Philip Glass time warp 

the antiphon of morning birds 
is devoured by an leaf blower 

roaring hungrily nearby
the tree out the back sacrificed

 because someone said it was dead    
lies weeping cut up in small offerings

birds that nested in its knotted hollows
have fled 

and i have  to look away from
being a witness 

away from TV images 
Gaza Ukraine Mali Israel

garish glint of metal and concrete   mock
new home units towering out of place

the riff of rivulets in Coups Creek muted
in welled-up rock crevices   

later   leaning into the warm dimpled trunk
of a doyenne of the bush  i watch a flock

of spotted pardalotes   their tiny pieces of sun
wild and cheerful  skittle the morning

Opus, a life with music by Pip Griffin A Review by Colleen Kearing

 

A REVIEW by Colleen Keating publ. in Womens Ink Journal Summer 2023

What more powerful way to reflect on your journey of life than entwined with the memory of music. Exquisitely wrought, Pip Griffin’s Opus: a life with music, gives us snapshots, sometimes softened, sometimes shocking but always honed and beautifully crafted, revealing the deep perception and intimacy we have come to know in her poetry. Using music to unearth memories of her life, these poems are infused with frankness and authenticity. With themes of love, betrayal, loss, nostalgia and resilience we experience the connection between music and the human spirit, as in the poem, Mahler 1:

His genius still draws bows

across my body as I sit with seagulls

in winter sunlight

and in a moment of serendipity in a later poem, Philip Glass in Florence:

Glass begins to play

his layered, hypnotic compositions

his fingers entrancing us 

into a fourth dimension

and we are reminded of the universal solace that music can offer in fraught, fragmented times of conflict:

you took the vinyl record from its sleeve

compelling us to sit and listen  

to the gentle swelling harmonies

letting Vaughan Williams sing us back 

until our souls returned 

This collection of poetry is divided into seven sections. In the section called Air on a G String, Pip writes of the funeral after the tragic death of  her sister:

Though her funeral service is a blur

the music lives forever in my body

soundtrack to her sudden violent death

In the poem Keeper we hear the connection between mother and music: 

At thirteen I’ve become her keeper –

my best friend whom I adore

who chivvies me to practice scales 

 . . .

whose own ambitions dribbled away 

like the gin I watch 

drain slowly down the kitchen sink.

and later in Resurrection:

Singing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’

at one with the voices of a hundred 

she’s alive , the last of her bonds broken. 

The trumpet sounds for her –

Opus is imbued with music, including that of the ocean and sometimes birds. Pip’s selection of music is eclectic and ecumenical: from Bach to Brahms, Britten to Brubeck, Chopin to choirs and the cello, Elgar and Elvis, Handel to Haley, Mahler to Leonard Cohen to name but a few. Published by Ginninderra Press, Opus is an engaging collection and highly recommended. 

Colleen Keating

 

Ömie Barkcloth exhibition at the Chau Chak Wing Museum

Lost Innocence

Untouched by a crowded, commercial, corrupt-tempting world
unblemished by greed and fear of need and fame
protected by impenetrable jungle wilderness
and thick mountain mist, an unknown world, hidden from t

enticles of progress enigmatic, endangered as a planet humans
want to conquer. Discovered by the clambering, climbing, curious
determined to find the last small pocket of skythe Ömie people are
found living their beauty of being alive, honouring their creative

human spirit with art, story, song in forever land.
Their world, their inspiration.twig, tusk and teeth,
leaf and twine to weave and plait, vine, feather, bone,
and web, wood and bark, mystery of the eye and their

mountain that nourishes them. They write their story
and adorntheir bodies in design, decoration, pattern
with minute details of leaf, snake backbone, hip joint
of mountain frogs, of beetle jaw and spider.

In cyclic beat of time, coloured,in plant yellow, black
and brick reds. We stand back and learn of a world
we have lost. Of innocence, simplicity and beauty
and now found, it is lost once again.

Colleen Keating

;

REVIEW
Ömie barkcloth:

Pathways of nioge is currently on display on the fourth floor of the University of Sydney’s Chau Chak Wing Museum. Upon entering the gallery space, one is met with a black title wall, and illuminating the text design, is a creative and understated use of exhibition lighting. It is employed throughout the entirety of the exhibition, giving one the immersive feeling of almost being situated within the shadows, and silhouettes of the rainforest highlands of Northern (Oro) Province, Papua New Guinea.

The Ömie people are a distinct cultural group with their own language; a population of around two thousand lives in a series of seven main villages and many more hamlets. Their region in the Mount Lamington Huvaemo, and Mount Obo foothills – close to Kokoda – is sacred to them as the site of their creation stories. Their art is prolific and diverse.

Ömie tapa or nioge in Ömie language is beaten bark cloth, made from the inner bark, or bast, of certain rainforest fig trees including banyan to give a brown finish, and the paper mulberry tree – mori arobe, for the whitish tapa. The bark is cut, then the outer bark is cleaned off to make the inner bark or bast ready for beating. Drops of water are continually sprinkled over the bark as it is beaten to soften it. Paint dyes come from various roots, bark, leaves, fruit, seeds, and nuts. These include combinations of natural plant materials, ash, and water.

The works that comprise the exhibition form the basis of the largest public collection of Ömie nioge, donated to the Chau Chak Wing Museum over the last five years by oceanic art collector and dealer Todd Barlin, who acquired much of the work from fellow collector, and dealer David Baker.

This exhibition is full of vibrant and arresting works, striking for their diversity of size, shape, colour, and symbolism. Many of the works are displayed on large, dark, floating walls, allowing you to walk around and view them while moving in and out of the light. The large white walls of the gallery space are subdued by the creative lighting design. This gives the exhibition more depth overall, and furthers the geometric pathways of nioge design that are the focus.

An added bonus for us on our visit to the Chau Chak Wing Museum was that one of the of curators Rebecca Conwdaughter of Jan took us on a conducted tour of the exhibition and in the afternoon we enjoyed a question and answer panel discussion with Drusilla Mojeska who has been one of the first to trek into the mountain (Mt. Lamington) and befriend the ömie women amd her biographer Bernadette Brenton . Then lunch in the cafe indoor/outdoor at the Museum.

 

 

 

Women’s Ink; The Society of Women Writers NSW. In memory of a black summer by Colleen Keating

Very honoured to have my poem  Memory of a Black Summer chosen to be published in Women’s Ink Summer 2023., the quarterly Journal of the NSW Society of Women Writers.

The theme was ‘Climate – the heat of the moment’and my summer poem fitted right in.

Thank you to the editor Jo Shevchenko and to the President Maria McDougall for a very affirming year .

CLIMATE -THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT

In memory of a black summer   

 We had the experience but we missed the meaning.  

    TS Eliot

the cicadas ring earlier 
morning birds call earlier too
and then become silent

the summer ritual of each day –
carrying buckets of water 
to top up the bird baths

is quickly appreciated
there seems an orderly queue 
no boisterous bickering today

as if there is bird protocol
we all need to preserve our energy
for these days are solemn

so much loss   so much to mourn  
so many birds   so many mammals  
insects and living worlds lost

the smoke-laden air 
can hardly be breathed   
the  ashened sun masked

our summer of people fleeing 
livelihoods burn 
metal buckles

people rescued from beaches 
refugees in their own country
we fear 

we dread 
we are in pain

for ourselves and our traumatised earth
even the south pole 
ash-blanketed     melts

our carefree boxing day 
of cricket    tennis   yacht races 
is carefree no more 

I continue my summer ritual
of topping up the bird baths early
the birds fly in 

then sipping at the edge
keep nodding  thank you  thank you
as if they know I’m watching

 

Colleen Keating

 

 

Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

Cover image of Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

The John Hopkins University Press

December 2023

Very honoured and excitied to declare I have a poem chosen for the latest Spiritus Journal .  It maskes me Internationally published , not a new thing as my Hildegard poetry is published in Germany and USA but it is a highlight for 2023.  The poem  is From the Dust of Stars , shortlisted in the SWW  National Poetry  Competition  and now to be published. 

Interim Editor :