The waterfall today after the three days of rain

Waterfall in the remnant of forest  in easy walking from home. This is my air pocket in this city of 4 million people.

If you click the IMG below you will get an amazing 13 seconds of refreshing beauty.

IMG_9618

 

 

through the trees i glimpse a waterfall
and marvel to think it has always been here
carving musically into the heart of the earth
it has sung its song for aeons   (from new bush track)

I felt very energised after my walk .My first time to put up a video. It is only 13 seconds but amazing . I am so thrill to have this so close I can walk there and be in another world .

A poem that I wrote when i first found this place and it was published in Fire on Water 2016 publ. Ginninderra Press

new bush track

moving house means searching
for new wilderness
like a miner after an elusive air pocket

following a green area on a map
hidden by development
encroached to the edge
behind an old scout hall

a brambly track
winds me down
through a sandstone escarpment
the dawn-sun plays into the hands
of eucalypts stretched
to seek the light
yet their search for meaning
being found more in their roots
symbiotically curled around sturdy rock

here dew tipped casuarinas sparkle<
here grass trees verdantly splurge<
as if their whole purpose is to shine

self important palms push upwards
screaming rock stars

honey birds swing on rusty-gold banksia
magpies warble
in the whip-cracked air

this is the Australian bush
how it pulls me in

through the trees i glimpse a waterfall
and marvel to think it has always been here
carving musically into the heart of the earth
it has sung its song for aeons
it is the human in me that delights

nature just is
in its own world
whole unto itself
it doesn’t even know I’m here
there is a loneliness in this
yet lost from the world
i am found
and to the cadence of nature
i dance 

Counting dead women by Colleen Keating

We are only as strong as our weakest link. When there is a crisis like a pandemic the weakest links in the chain of society break.  When there is a crisis the cracks show .

Under the cover of Covid-19 counting dead women is not being given media attention, unless it includes children or there is a  family with means to bring the story to the fore.

The 30th woman  killed by domestic violence  this year has just been named . She was 44 years old. This is late July  2020. I found my published poem written in 2014 . That is 6 years ago . What has changed?

How can this be dealt with ? If it was any other statistic – measures would be taken.  Instead money has been withdrawn from safe houses and other womens projects. And covid is now called a ‘pink crisis’.

How long for justice. ? Presently at this time my research is about Herstory  and it is so important.  But we need herstory and history  to become linked making ourstory .  When equality is present violence will diminish.

Leonard Cohen shows us hope when he sing: there’s a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in.

It is surely time to act. We are being given another chance, we are being reminded  to look at and  see inequity face on. Society can only be given so many chances.

 

counting dead women

i rose towards dawn
to sit by the big picture window

the sky black as raven wings
lay still and silent
like a dark night of the soul

i was desperately seeking
some colour   some hope
upon the dark edge of the world
where sea and sky meet

yet my mind kept scribbling
names of women      dead women
words of violence not erased

as the darkness of the morning news
counting dead women
crowds my mind
makes raw my heart
even as the breath of dawn
spreads its radiance

Colleen Keating 2014

Sydney to Melbourne by Colleen Keating

It was exciting to receive  in the mail the latest copy of The Mozzie and to find my poem Sydney to Melbourne published. Thank-you to the editor Ron Heard  and team for the your dedication to poetry and poets.

 

 

The poem reminds us that the journey is more important than the destination.

Some of you will remember these slower days.

We made the trip with the family in the late 70’s to visit my sister who was living in Melbourne  at the time and  the memory reminded me of the poem Ithaka  by C.P.Cavafy where we are reminded to enjoy the trip, any trip, not only longing for a journey’s end. It is a metaphor that can be extended to many of life’s processes.

In more recent years when we drove to Melbourne I felt sad that time seemed of the essence.

 

Sydney to Melbourne

As you set out for Melbourne
in nineteen seventy-nine
your road is a long one
country towns stirring the spirit
awakening the mind
Mittagong Marulan Glenrowan Gundagai
Wodonga Benalla Wangaratta
aromas of pubs parks and bakeries
monuments of explorers local heroes
and one of a dog
sitting loyally on a tucker box
re-enactments of bush rangers
and the hanging of poor Ned

Your road is a long one
with pub counter-lunches
Chinese cafe paragon milk bars
ice creams and fruit stalls,
op-shops for old books and ‘antiques’
a fruit-fly stop and car inspection
on the border by the Murray
with its paddle steamer on the go

Brown-painted Colonial Inns
bill boards promising a pool colour TV
and luxury ‘breakfast in bed’
passed through a secret door
with the local ‘rag’
by a man in shorts and long socks

and then a repeat of the day before
visiting museums and galleries
war memorials and a climb on a canon
a walk over an historic bridge –
your road is a long one.

Not like today on the dual lane freeway
with grey concrete and bitumen
blur of vegetation
in a confining corridor
a blinkers-on journey
blind to all the signs beckoning
but the large M meaning
a Highway Service Centre ahead
a one stop for all needs
our country by-passed

Mood Indigo by Pip Griffin and Colleen Keating

.. You are the music while the music lasts. T.S. Eliot 

Mood Indigo, This is a collaboration of poetry by Pip Griffin and Colleen Keating,

A Picaro Poets chapbook,  it is published under the umbrella of Ginninderra Press. It is composed of 24 succinct and lyrical poems which are perfect for the reader wanting to retreat into a pocket-sized poetry book with an inner covenant of peace.

Colleen and Pip’s poetry, an eclectic collection of lyrical poetry

transports the reader

to Alice Springs
The land’s a vast Kngwarreye
black, brown, green, ochre, painted on infinity.

to Lake Ainsworth
ducks’ wave-rippling wakes
break the spell

pleads for an end to war
what if we all bow low
to quench our parched throats
and what if we drink
from the same waterhole

and finds renewed hope
in the return of a single red wattle bird
I thought you had deserted us
but your presence
this spring morning
gives me hope.

Chapbook. $5  Order your copy online from www.ginninderrapress.com.au

Thanks to Brenda Eldridge Series editor: from Gininnderra Press.
and John Griffin for cover image

Leura Gardens 

While travelling by train to this place we visited so often

a reservoir of tears presses against my ribs

i do not want this pain to fill

the hollow of your absence

images of our time together explode behind my eyes

‘The Lark Ascending’ plays to my inner ear

cherry trees in blossom line the streets

like flower girls at a wedding 

the gardens flaunt their colours

i wear the striped jumper we bought here

under the spent wisteria at the Waldorf Gardens Resort

a jazz group plays ‘Mood Indigo’.

©Pip Griffin 4/10/18

 

my Tao poem 

when you find the Tao
others will find you
they will hear the still silence
in your voice
see the peacefulness
shine from your eyes
sense the path in your movement
feel the all is well hope in your being recognise you
by laughter and tears danced in your soul and they will be near you
to find their way home 

Colleen Keating

You are the music while the music lasts. T.S. Eliot

Pip and I enjoying Christmas celebration luncheon
at the Society of Women Writers, December 2019

A Hope-Daisy by Little Miss E.

   

Eleanor at work

A HOPE-DAISY

The daisy with all her hopes inside                    

It has her love inside it

My daisy is smiling right at us

The daisy is full of hope

to try and stop lockdown

It might just look like a daisy

but it is a hope-daisy for love

and for the children

by Eleanor Therese Keating-Jones

   

 

(Above photo:  A plaster cast of a Daisy made in home schooling)

Our little poet Eleanor at work

 

 

 

 

The Blue Dot by Colleen Keating

 

It is time  we look closely at the blue dot            (29th May  2020)

it’s easy to forget we are one tiny planet
spinning in space with one cosmic destiny

we fragment our fragile home into warring factions
today a race war in Minnesota
a power play in Hong Kong 
a terrorist attack in the middle East
Brexit breakdown in Great Britain
pointing the finger blaming others

we too easily drift daily into divides
and at the same time a virus
so tiny it is invisible
attacks our world
our health and economy in lockdown
people hiding in panic and fear

no wall    partition   rampart or barricade
no shield  barbwire  even an electric fence
can save us 

no gun   rifle   cannon or even a nuclear bomb
no armour  submarine or  super jet 
no armour-plated  bullet proof   bomb protected artillery  
can save us    

are we blind to the photographs
like that of Earthrise taken in 1968 from the Voyager 1

are we deaf to Carl Sagen’s words spoken
after seeing earth from Apollo 8 in 1990
warning us to cherish this pale blue dot – our earth
a dust mote suspended in a sunbeam – the only home we have!

This virus called covid-19 has us in its grip
but even now the ruling class look away
our earth is sick it needs healing
the fault lines of poverty inequality<
can be turned around
giving everyone a voice
a share in the abundance
mother earth gives over and over without complaint
until she collapses under the weight of injustice
her waters shrivel
she becomes unwell
splutters with drought   fire    famine

it is time for all of us to wake
rise up
be the light
for the fear and dark of minds
ask what comes now
what comes next
imagine a new future
walk forwards
hand in hand

( There is a dot like a pixel half way down the orange light. That is the earth)

 

The Earth, our planet is a lonely speck in the great developing cosmic dark. 

In all this vastness there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The earth as far as we know,  is the only world to harbour life.

There is no where else in which our species can migrate -visit maybe, yes. Settle, no. Not yet.

Like it or not, the earth is where we make our stand.

Our folly of killing one another , of building walls and our posturing of, we’ll decide who come’s here and under what circumstance they come”    (think fires drought pandemic)!

The pre-posturing that goes on

we’ll keep you safe
we’ve stopped the boats
we are hard on border patrol.
We promise you jobs jobs and more jobs and to keep you safe . We have bought big orange rubber boats to get out there and turn refugees back to the poverty they come from . We take no responsibility for humanity. 

 The delusion we have of some privileged position in the world or even in the universe is challenged by the distant image of our world . We can only be humbled  at the photos .

Now it is time to  find our responsibility to care for our one precious earth and our people in all their colours cultures and codes  cherish this pale blue dot  “a dust mote suspended in a sunbeam -“the only home we have “ Carl Sagan. 

Photos from NASA inspired by Brain Pickings . Thankyou Maria Popova

 The Plan Blue Dot captured from 3.7 billion miles away Earth appears    as a tiny dot half way halfway down the orange stripe on the right. 

The little dot is about two to three pixels  big  so not very large. When you get the grander of the scenes  i get chills down my back because there here is our planet, bathed in this ray of light and it just looks incredible special. 

EarthBlue Dot photo taken from Voyager 1 Spacecraft 1990

Earthrise photo taken from Apollo 8 24th December 1968.

I found this photo which is clearer to find the blue dot

 

 

The Blue Dot is  half way along the right orange stripe.  Amazing that is us .

Read Carl Sagans  on The Blue Dot

From this distant vantage point,
the Earth might not seem of any particular interest.
But for us, it’s different.
Consider again that dot.
That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.
On it everyone you love, everyone you know,
everyone you ever heard of,
every human being who ever was,
lived out their lives.
The aggregate of our joy and suffering,
thousands of confident religions,
ideologies, and economic doctrines,
every hunter and forager,
every hero and coward,
every creator and destroyer of civilization,
every king and peasant,<
every young couple in love,
every mother and father, hopeful child,
inventor and explorer,
every teacher of morals,
every corrupt politician,
every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’
every saint and sinner in the history of our species
on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

And Mayo Angelou on The Blue Dot

A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet

Traveling through casual space

Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns

To a destination where all signs tell us

It is possible and imperative that we learn

A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it

To the day of peacemaking

When we release our fingers

From fists of hostility

And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it

When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate

And faces sooted with scorn are scrubbed clean

When battlefields and coliseum

No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters

Up with the bruised and bloody grass

To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches

The screaming racket in the temples have ceased

When the pennants are waving gaily

When the banners of the world tremble

Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it

When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders

And children dress their dolls in flags of truce

When land mines of death have been removed

And the aged can walk into evenings of peace

When religious ritual is not perfumed

By the incense of burning flesh

And childhood dreams are not kicked awake

By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it

Then we will confess that not the Pyramids

With their stones set in mysterious perfection

Nor the Gardens of Babylon

Hanging as eternal beauty

In our collective memory

Not the Grand Canyon

Kindled into delicious color

By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe

Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji

Stretching to the Rising Sun

Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,

Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores

These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it

We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe

Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger

Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace

We, this people on this mote of matter

In whose mouths abide cankerous words

Which challenge our very existence

Yet out of those same mouths

Come songs of such exquisite sweetness

That the heart falters in its labor

And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet

Whose hands can strike with such abandon

That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living

Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness

That the haughty neck is happy to bow

And the proud back is glad to bend

Out of such chaos, of such contradiction

We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it

We, this people, on this wayward, floating body

Created on this earth, of this earth

Have the power to fashion for this earth

A climate where every man and every woman

Can live freely without sanctimonious piety

Without crippling fear

When we come to it

We must confess that we are the possible

We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world

That is when, and only when

We come to it.

I Protest! Poems of Dissent selected by Stephen Matthews

 

So exciting to receive in the mail our complimentary copies of Ginninderra Press’ new Anthology.

I Protest! Poems of Dissent. 

Congratulations to Stephen Matthews on a superb publication  and so timely.

Both Michael and I are  very proud to each have a poem   chosen for the Anthology.

Michael’s poem is called Disconnect  and is a poem about the precious commodity we have
in water which has its own fragility and he writes how we can be lulled into forgetfulness
‘The fragility of our country  and the worry about the aquifers’

My poem rock-a bye-baby  speaks of the earth is in pain and yet how easy we can be lulled into sleep, into silence.

I  like to think I end hopefully
‘like green shoots from black stumps
will rise   poems of possibility’

There is 20% off all books at Ginninderra Press till the end May.

 

Superb Fairy Wren by Colleen Keating

 

Finding that the Superb Fairy Wren has not disappeared from our city but has just retreated to a last safe vestige of the Creek reserve is my gift for today.
Even so man encroaches as close as building are permissable into this fragile habitat.

Yesterday I discovered another new track in legal safe walking distance from my place.
It is the fourth new track I have explored since the pandemic lockdown.  I have been here 5 years and just find myself walking familiar ways .

At this new discovery of a world away from the world I was so happy


I felt like shouting my delight from the mountain top but knew that was impossible then I thought of telling the world through face book but decided against that as so many put things up and it depends on other readers moods if it works or not. It can be seen differently from how I meant. So I decided I will recored it for myself on my blog and if it is seen well and good. But it is a gift of this Autumn walking time, it is a gift of this slow down and self isolate time for me and of course it is a gift from the Waitara Creek Bush Walking Track.
Along the way, before I climbed down to explore the bush,  I enjoyed the thrill of autumn colours and  some wonderful Camellias so picturesque with the carpet of petals falling.


And a wonderful shot of a lorikeet. It looked up at me and I captured it.

I felt so happy but the happiest I was finding the superb fairy wrens that I thought had left our city because their habitat is destroyed . A dubious reason some agree some dont that our bush and scrub and undergrowth is burnt in winter as a fire-hazard reduction . The creek is an exemption and hence my discovery. I wrote a poem to celebrate.

Can you see the trill of his tail? 

 

in search of  the small birds

the superb fairy wrens 

the lyre bird
scratching at the forest floor
and singing
every song she could mimic
pulls me up

i fail to see her
rustling along
at the edge of the creek
which was singing its own song
a rainy flow and fall song
delicious to hear after
the lament of summer silence

it is one of those places
with haze of blue gum air
that McCubbin could have painted
with deepest space
of a child lost amidst the threat
of muscular rocks
but here softened
by moss and maiden hair fern
shadowed by tall tree ferns
still in their stillness
eerie and lonely

i disturb a brush turkey
who trips across my rough track
like a jazz dancer across a stage

then i hear them!

i stopped to touch the pink dimpled trunk
of a river gum
looked up at its grandeur
that makes me feel so small
and catch
the trill twittering of small birds
in the undergrowth
to the far side of the creek

i still
became one with the trees
and watch the play like ritual

it was a salutation to the whole world
only they could capture it in this bush
as they whirr needle-like
dance along branches
wings blur blue and brown
flirted fluted fanned
their tiny tales teased
maybe for them even I was their audience

but once again the birds
teach me enchantment from a distance
and they were there
now they are gone
so many times

i worry about our tiny birds
lost from our city by the necessity
of fire hazard reduction
of their habitat
a case of survival of the fittest
in this case the biggest

for me it was the gift
to know they are not gone
just retreated
and i am reminded once again
of Mary Oliver’s words –
walk slowly  bow often 

 

 

 

 

Shared Footprints by Michael and Colleen Keating

 

Shared Footprints  is a Picaro Poets chap book perfect for your pocket when out on a walk or perched on an outcrop of rock overlooking the ocean.   Order it through Ginninderra Press .

Over the past two years Michael and I have done a seasonal beach walk each season from  Tuggerah Lake,  The Entrance Beach around the headland to Blue Bay,  around the rock platform to Toowoon Bay and along the beach  for a Cafe breakfast  at Toowoon Bay Life Savers Club and then  we walk back .

We walk quietly with notepad and pen and jot down what we observe.  Over the years we have put our thoughts down  side by side in response to the beach,  the seasons and each other.  We put this manuscript to Brenda Eldridge from Ginninderra Press as a possible Picaro Poets Chap book. It was accepte,   formatted and published. It is  for people to enjoy nature hoping to stimulate deeper awareness in us all.

Available now from www.ginninderrapress.com.au  /picaro poets and scroll down to our name.

It is divided into four sections

Spring: New Beginnings
Summer: Under a Melting Sun
Autumn : Tumble of Ocean
Winter: Our Shadows Long

Just a few examples

sea pattern
periwinkle meander
in the interidal zone   MK

 

 

 

we quicken pace
as wind leans in
hand warm together  CK

 

DEDICATION

for our grandchildren, our little castle builders, channel diggers, treasure collectors

may they all be star throwers.

The Star Thrower*

  One dawn, a man was walking along the shore.

   he noticed a young person reaching down to the sand, 

   picking up something 

  and very gently throwing it back into the sea. 

As he got closer, he called out, 

“Good morning! What are you doing?”

 The young person paused, looked up and replied, 

“Throwing starfish into the sea.”

“Why are you throwing starfish into the sea?” he asked.

“The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in they’ll die.” 

“But, don’t you realise that there are miles of beach here 

 and starfish all along it. How can you possibly make a difference?”

The young person listened politely. 

Then knelt down, picked up another starfish 

and threw it  safely into the sea, past the breaking waves and said…

“Made a difference to this one.”

* Loren Eiseley  (adapted)

Thank you to  Picaro Poets to Brenda Eldridge who gives such inspiration, affirmation and support

Landscapes of the Heart by John Egan & Colleen Keating

When the noted poet John Egan asked me to collaborate with him on a chap book with the idea of presenting it to be published with Picaro Poets (an arm of Ginninderra Press) I was very affirmed and excited. It quickly became a challenge for our poems needed to have a thread of interconnectedness and for me I always want a book that someone in the future can pick up and read and find meaning and hopefully a spark of something I like to call ‘the more than”

We teamed up with Brenda Eldridge that I always find is on my wave length of wanting  poetry that says the ‘the more than’  and Landscapes of the Heart was born.  Brenda did a perfect typeset and production.  Many of our poems had been previously published in poetry journals and magazines and it was affirming to have them collected in this book. John suggested we use the quote of Henri-Frederic Amiel,

‘Any landscape is a condition of the spirit’

I have a sense our poetry is an antidote for today with Covid lurking in our midst , causing havoc with our lives and livelihoods.

What is earth asking of us today ? 

I know for me,  the poem I will share called delphic visitor  on page 15 is with me today . I am in self-isolation along way from the  Manning River  and the kikuyu grass covered in dew  and the herons that come each morning  but here at this desk I carry that scene and that heron deep inside my chest to protect me from the forgetting the beauty of our world and to protect me from being sentimental about life. The delicate exquistite heron that looks more like a shy ballerina who could be stepping out to Camille Saint-Saens The swan must kill ruthlessly and feed every day to stay alive. There is something about the Covid virus today that says the earth is struggling . . there is a message we have to listen and listen. . .

 

delphic visitor

clear winter morning
a silver heron tiptoes
through a tangle
of wild kikuyu grass
stalks
waits statue-still
pounces
strike of pick-ax blade

throws
its rippling neck back
in an alleluia pose  

I venture into the paddock
to capture a photo
my jeans trail over dew laden grass
and this silver heron
my morning oracle
with quiver of white breast
soft flutter of blue-grey wing
cranks its bamboo legs
uncurls its gold-tip feet
lifts
tacks into flight
loose grey silk
against a blue sky

by Colleen Keating

 

 

A quote from John’s poem Sunrise over the Sea

. . Mesabi Range iron-ore red,
rotating mardi gras, the sea and sky
and carosels of rays,
an orange wheel of fortune
where the Sun King rides
his new Versailles of light. . .
Hallelujah Chorus chimes,
a sea of stars declines
and curtain clls,
the sun’s the star,
strides on stage
to wild applause.

to read more you need to go onto Ginninderra Press, Picaro Poets  web site and scroll down  to buy the book.