The Ocean Wonder by Jacinta Van Eyk


The Ocean Wonder


Waves crashing on Keating Beach.                      

The bright sun cuts through

the dark grey clouds.

The water sparkles on top

of the shimmering rocks.

The dolphins leap peacefully

over the crashing waves.

All morning butterflies flutter                                      

past our window.

All different people walking, riding, running .

The ocean wonder is so


by Jacinta    8 years old








written while on holidays at The Dolphin House, Central Coast

Fare thee well 2020 Looking back looking forward

                                                  Looking back or looking forward

I just picked out a few dates from my journal to remember the year we leave behind . . .

25th March 

Everything is moving so quickly . It is unbelievable our world can change so quickly. I say our beautiful world of concerts and art galleries and libraries and all the enriching culture events and venues of our lives are closing .  But something in me feeling nature is exhausted and lashing out like a cornered scorpion with the sting of its tail. It is saying how else can i save the planet . . . here i bring you to your knees be afraid very afraid . . go home hide away  for nature shows us when we bring it to its knees it takes last resorts. 

Cruise ships are floating out at sea and governments don’t know how to handle them 

The cruise ship Ruby Princess is the symbol of the worst of them  Of course our dream cruise  feels like a nightmare now  and thank goodness it was not planned till late April. 

How quickly our writing has become Poetry from out my window or short walk around the block.


The inconceivable terror has arrived 

not in the form of a hurtling comet, 

not in the form of mutual nuclear annihilation

although that is still on the cards

it comes in the form of a microscopic bug

an invisible bot

it is impossible to see

like how one is unable to look at the sun

although it is shown for our imagination 

as fiery-red  spiring ball hurtling towards us 

covered in spikes that look like treacherous hooks

to catch us.

it needs us 

it cannot survive without us

it awaits on every surface

yet it is a whimp at the feel of soapy water

it dissipates like fairy floss at antibacterial whips

but thrives in us if it happens to get us.

and so we hide away

it is an unwelcome guest

it makes fear and panic go viral 

news fake and real spread 

before it around the world

faster than it can go itself

fear bursts out of its skin 

like the entrails of an giant red kangaroo

spewed on the road 

the vultures already there for the carrion 

guns sales shoot up 

panic buying


trust and faith a thin line on a far horizon 

we huddle away

bunker down

4th April

Then we woke to its new name Covid -19 

like one gets a nick name when you become on familiar terms 

yet this name didn’t make me feel any more friendly to it.

Looking for answers it is hard to find them 

when we can’t identify the questions

yet we grapple with one big questions 

how are we so powerless

before a microscopic bug 

how can something so small transport everything

we thought  important to being irrelevant 

 can transform the world in weeks.

Were we really not prepared for this. 

Was this really not beyond the realm of possibility 

we have been living 

as if everything bends around human will.

the economic markets revolve around us 

we believe it iw one directional progress 

we have been living as if we are immortal 


now we will have to learn to live the ways things really are

that we are deeply, profoundly vulnerable

that we live in constant interdependence 

and that all of the myths that we are caught  in 

that life is one directional 

that the markets revolve around us

and that there is always someone else to blame 

these myths are falling away as we write


Looking back or looking forward:  Our choice!

Our rabbits from Watership Down may be looking back to the destruction of their homeland or they may be looking forward to the image of a new homeland, a new potential, a new possibility, a new vision.

  Our rabbits have been travelling a challenging road of loss and pain and heartache which has intensified in recent months.  As those of us ‘on the road less travelled’ choose to come together in heart, mind and spirit, if not in ‘body’ and physical contact we are connected with our focus, commitment, dedication and taking spiritual responsibility for our role in the world.

The sky ahead promises unconditional love and promise of better times with more love, gratitude, forgiveness and a sense of oneness as we make our choices, to align with hope, promise and the creative power within every one of us to build a world of love, a world where we can rise above the anger, greed, resentment, bitterness, blame, shame, guilt and fear.

Love and blessings to us all we embrace and nurture ourselves, our visions and highest ideals, dispelling darkness and despair in our hearts and minds. This is Mother Earth is healing and so are we.


The year is coming to a close 

i have a whole dictionary of new words

some newly coined and some a hybrid of words .

It is a year that has changed us all .. A year of tragedy for many with to date 82 million people contacting the virus  19 and half million  USA alone with 330,000 who have died . It has shown up the inequality of our world . and sadly it is being manipulated to be a pink pandemic with women and the underprivileged most disadvantaged.  


Pressing forward is the resilience that Hildegard taught us . She was walled in as a young girl in an anchorage ,  she burst forth loving the garden and herbs and veriditas of nature. She was silenced from writing by Abbott Kuno and she found a way to get permission to write , then he silenced her from preaching, but she overcame that . She left the monastery leading 21 woman some not too sure  to begin her own Abbey with warnings she was forbidden to take her dowries  or have a priest for sacraments. She worked till those directives were changed . She completed her first theological treatise after ten years and built her Abbey on the Rhine gathering up to 100 women with their many gifts . She was invited to preach all along the Rhine.  Patriarchy  never gave up on trying  to silence her and once again they found a reason to do so on her disobedience for not exhuming a person she buried . She wrote and spoke and warned the men only the devil silences the musical sound whose harmony is heavenly and they quickly changed and exonerated  her. She won as a result of their fear of the wrath of God and  superstition .


  This year,

  Yes, even this year

   Has drawn to its close.



                                  Fare thee well 2020.







Shortlisted for Society of Women Writers 2020 Book Awards







P.S. Cottier | Monstrous
Tricia Dearborn | Autobiochemistry
Pip Griffin | Margaret Caro
Colleen Keating | Desert Patterns
Colleen Keating | Hildegard of Bingen



Nicole Alexander | Stone Country
Diane Armstrong | The Collaborator
Carmel Bendon | Grasping at Water
Cindy Broadbent | The Revolutionary’s Cousin
Christine Sykes | The Changing Room
Julie Thorndyke | Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby




Colleen Keating | Hildegard of Bingen
Liz Newton | The Firing Line
Jessica North | Esther
Jo Oliver | Jessie Traill – a Biography
Annabet Ousback | Red Herrings for Breakfast
Gill Shaddick | The Hong Kong Letters




Georgina Donaghey | In the Shadow of an Elephant
Susanne Gervay | The Boy in the Blue Glasses
Libby Hathorn | Miss Franklin


Judge’s decision that no prizes will be awarded in this category


Christmas poem Gardeners of Hope by Colleen Keating

Dear Colleen

Thank you so much for your contribution to the “Christmas Sweets Mix” Episode of Holy Shenanigans Podcast. This episode will go live on Tuesday, December 29th at 4 am EST. Please share the episode link (after 4 am EST) in your social media to help increase our audience. The direct link to this episode is:


Holy Shenanigans Podcast, can also be found on Itunes Podcasts, Spotify, and most Podcast Carriers.

Holy Shenanigans Instagram Account is found at: Shenanigans Podcast Facebook is found at:

The contributing poets, songwriters and artists that made this episode possible are:


Lorraine Savage – Church Member and sewer of all things beautiful from King of Kings Lutheran Church in Liverpool NY. Poem titled: “Dear Santa”


LeoWT  – a seminarian, hairdresser, and activist, but most importantly they are a Tejera. Leo, together with their partner, Elle Tejera, own #WTHAIR in Olean Ny. They have five children, four pets, and one passion in life, making the world a better place by loving the people in their lives.

You can contact him at: [email protected]  or Leo wolters Tejera on Facebook. Poem titled “Hope”


Colleen Keating – is an Australian poet, who enjoys the pursuit of words to express her amazement with life.

She has four award-winning books of poetry published, including the newly launched Poetic Journey with Hildegard of Bingen. All four, A Call to Listen, Fire on Water, Desert Patterns and Hildegard of Bingen are available as book or ebook version through the publisher Ginninderra Press in South Australia , Amazon, Goodreads, and other supply outlets. Poem titled “Gardeners of Hope”.


Marilyn Dyer – is a member Hope Lutheran in Troy (formerly St. Timothy’s) is the widow of Pastor Lee Dyer. You may know her from her role as Past President of Upstate NY Synod Women of the ELCA or for her “announcements” about World Hunger at Synod Assembly. Poem titled, “I Watched the Moonrise Christmas Eve”


Adrin Fisher – is a teacher from Fairmount, West Virginia. She is the recipient of the 2020 National Writing Project at WVU Writing Excellence Award and was awarded. Her writing medium of choice is non-fiction or flash fiction. Poem titled, “December”


Francisco Herrera – (he/him/mother) left a life in classical music (viola, orchestra conducting) to begin divinity studies at Chicago Theological Seminary, (MDiv 2012). Since beginning his PhD work at the Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) he has exercised his Christian agitation skills as a seminary instructor at LSTC and the Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest, co-founded the collective #decolonizeLutheranism. He has written for 1517 Media and Sojourners Magazine, and is currently knee-deep in preparing a dissertation on intersectionality and church planting. Polymath and scatterbrain that he is, Francisco pays his bills with, tweets at @PolyglotEvangel, would love to cook for you (just email him), and raises money in the name of Jesus. Francisco shares a recording of his composition “My Song (for baby)” The main singer in the recording, pastor Rev. Erin Coleman Branchaud of St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Logan Square.


Nancy Liccione – poet from Syracuse and Staten Island NY shares her song lyrics for her composition of, “May my life thus be a song”.


Christine Valters Paintner – comes to us by way of Ireland. She is curator of and the author of two collections of poetry – The Wisdom of Wild Grace and Dreaming of Stones.

Thanks to audio technician and Holy Shenanigans Co- conspirator, Ian Eastman


Host and curator of the podcast is, yours truly, Pastor Tara Lamont Eastman – a creative, feminist and pastor.

Gratitude to artist Kellyn Baron who created the Artwork for this episode. Kellyn Baron, has a bachelor of arts from SUNY College at Brockport. She is a mixed media artist, who currently resides in Florida. To find Kellyn’s artwork, go to:



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Christmas beckons us to be the gardeners of hope, says Sydney poet Colleen Keating. 



Gardeners of Hope

When we are caught
in the world’s tumult,
when we see the edge
falling away from under us

in time of overwhelm
in this wrecked
and shimmering world
of ‘in between’ times

our hearts steel-capped with fear
our voices muted with apathy
with hope a dimmed song
with hope, a hazed horizon

we are called
to remember
Christmas in in the air
and it is in the tiny not the immense
will be the miracle
in the quiet waiting
in listening for the Word
with open hands

Christmas beckons us
to be the gardeners of hope
tending our earth,
nurturing our soil
with family, beauty, poetry.

We are called to plant the seed
be the ones waiting
with hands open
with hearts open
for the miracle to come.

Colleen Keating 



My name is Colleen Keating.  I am an Australian, Sydney-based poet.

I enjoy the pursuit of words to express my amazement with life.

My work explores the paradox and wonder of nature, the harsh realities of life, of inequality, injustice and increasing threat to our natural environment – as a well-known novelist once put it, I want to “name the unnameable, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep”.

For me, poetry is vocational. I not so much choose it as my medium of expression as much as it chooses me. To guide my thoughts and the things I write, I prize awareness, mindfulness and an unperishing sense of wonder about the world.

I have four award-winning books of poetry published, including the newly launched Poetic Journey with Hildegard of Bingen. All four, A Call to Listen, Fire on Water, Desert Patterns and Hildegard of Bingen are available as book or ebook version through the publisher Ginninderra Press in South Australia , Amazon, Goodreads, and other supply outlets.  I have co-edited the last two anthologies for the Women Writers Network from Writing NSW and have four co-written chapbook with Picaro Poets

Landscapes of the Heart with John Egan
Shared Footprints with Michael Keating
Mood Indigo with Pip Griffin
Mists of Time with Decima Wraxall



Sent from Mail for Windows 10

In search of Flannel Flowers and my father by Colleen Keating

in search of Flannel Flowers

a soft brush paints stars
your star the brightest
with conversation  velvet
white petals
last for their few short days
once opened to the sky                                        
from the crib of calyx
camouflaged as bush you rise
catch the design of each soft edge
tailored to be just who you are
every flower with a wildness
that’s where I saw you last
in amongst the frey and white abundance

this haven frames a grief
deep below the heart     its only sound
a deep sigh
only action my gentle smile
when we nod we nod togeth

think nature       how it releases old regrets
binds sudden futures
in Obrien’s flannel flowers
a gift on my wall
given when he saw how my tears flowed
at sudden memories
of my father
with his awe at their beauty
its meaning something more then
in the star gazing flowers
even as every spindly floret
is like no other
now sway with a freeing joy

well it is said we who are left
anchored are the ones who suffer
like the see saw of life
where outer edges throw
giddiness chaos
and on the pivot
there is a stillness

the story is finished now
for another year each floral head droops
your sudden loss is softened
by walking here again next spring
you will be walking like the first time
some called an apparition some say imagination
but i will be back.

••••••••••••••••••••                     ••••••••••••••••••••••••

Then for the rest of our walk from Crackneck Lookout along the coast through the  Wyrrabalong National Park.



Yellowtail Black Cockatoos and birds on our walk by Colleen keating


Our walk by Tuggerah Lake

It was birds today that caught our attention and once our minds and eyes were observers
birds were everywhere.  Seagulls, ibis, egrets, herons, black swans in the distance, pink galhs doves, corellas, cormorants, magpies, willy wag tails, fairy wrens , plovers, kookaburra  and rainbow lorikeets, pelicans and unexpectedly we heard this noise in the banksia and there were lake visitors the Yellowtail Black Cockatoos a long way from home.




we heard them first
a contented gravelling sound
then spotted them
well camouflaged high in the old man Banksia
by Tuggerah Lake

their glossy wings
opening and closing on the air
as they shimmied from branch to branch –
made kind of eerie black fans

when a branch drooped
under their shuffling weight I caught
frowning feathers with their fold of gold
brownish seed pods in a clutch
of black talons
a jutting hooked beak
brutish in its crack and whirl
swirl of seed-scooping tongue

some say Yellowtail Black Cockatoos
are messagers of empowering strength
their sweep of air enlivening
and there was a moment
an air brush in our hearts
as we watched their hovering wingspan
gather in a gush of wild gold to heave away
against a vermillion streak of sunset
above the cobalt cut-out distant hills.
back to the high country
their mountain home

Some more photos of the birds on that one day.
They are not professional photos but they mean a lot to me.

Love the corellas and galahs feeding together.


We enjoyed the cormorants sitting on the jetty.

And the pelicans



Some names we are still checking




Plovers, Willy wagrtail and the Green Figbird

Searching for Mushrooms by Colleen Keating

Finding Fungi

by Thomas Keating-Jones

Walking in the rain is terrible fun.
It’s terrible,
And it’s fun!

Searching for fungi makes it worthwhile!
I mean it’s not that you would choose a day like this
(Unless you’re my mum!)
We have to go slow . . . drip, drip
dripping along
drip, drip
dripping rain on my hair!

It’s like a song where we do the walking
and the mushrooms do the talking

I am listening to the fungi talking through my feet.
guiding me to the next discovery
camouflaged amongst the leaves
some under the trees.
some in the moss.

… magical mushrooms
I walk in the woods
I step carefully
listen . . .

Go quietly. . slow, slow
for underground stories are around each corner.
along with huge puddles
when you walk in the English rain!

We have to go slow . . . drip, drip,
dripping along
drip, drip,
dripping rain on my hair!

It’s like a song where we do the walking
and the mushrooms do the talking
listen . . .

Next time I plan to bring my goggles and snorkel!
Walking in the rain is terrible fun!
It’s terrible
And it’s fun!
Searching for fungi makes it worthwhile!


Finding a purple Mushroom for grandma her favourite colour.

How beautiful .  I saw the fairies  and the fairy ring when I sneaked up.

A little kingdom . We feel like Gulliver in Lillyput land


We have to go slow . . . drip, drip,
dripping along
drip, drip,
dripping rain on my hair!

Thank you Elizabeth and William, Thomas and Eleanor, your walk in the English countryside  was the incentive to go out into the Australian bush looking for  fungi and  mushrooms, the  little secrets of the earth.


a meeting

Colleen Keating

‘How shall I walk in the world
But looking for light and wisdom”  M. Oliver

you rise after rain
in autumnal mist
to walk out
and slow
not expecting to meet a prophet
calling in the wilderness
until you hear
a whisper of colour

Gulliver in Lillyput
you bend closer
your giant hands
part the grass
for secrets of the earth

stunned with humble beauty
the tiny  mushrooms
slight and lowly
strong and perfect
caps intact
have pushed up
from the dung of darkness
smelling earthy and dank
their miniture purple parasols
with ivory ruffled collars
nod slightly
very quietly

that moment
even eclipses the water lilies
that emerge from deepest mud

on return the next day
there is only soggy earth
brambles and mulch of leaves
as if they had never been

Colleen Keating




Patterns so easily missed on beach walks Colleen Keating

 the still point

the wide expanse of sky and sea
wakes to morning light
seizes the shimmer of dawn

its cerise and gold
reflects in rills of radiance
out to the ocean’s edge.


my poet’s eye turns to small things
easily missed
in the splendour of the scene

miniature patterns
minute designs
still and still moving




molluscs creep unhurriedly
leaving a sand trail
in their wake


runnels of water and sand
find a balance like playing statues
stop as sculptures of model rivers and forests




the ocean is forever generous
rolling in
like one with arms wide open
taking gently
all that no longer serves
our higher good .

the baggage of worry fear and guilt
are taken carried
and washed away

the sea banishes all morning megrims
clean as the unblemished sand
that i step onto

to join the seagull
that flies in.


my morning footsteps
are tiny imprints
over ruffs of sand

the lift off
the compass needle
moves the horizon
always looked at
to never arrive
a hover of blue air



late spring walk
along tidal line
joy of bare feet



summer beach walk
how pleasing
with sandals in my hands

the sun flings
a pool of light
on the ocean 




The Song Company: Circle of Virtue by Hildegard of Bingen


November 2020 During Covid this wonderful young company have rehearsed and are ready to present The Circle of  Virtues: A Morality Play by Hildegard of Bingen.
I have added two of my poems telling some of the background story of Ordo Virtutum said to be the first morality play by a woman in Western musical repertoire. Ordo Virtutum is really an allegorical morality play or sometimes called a liturgical drama composed by Hildegard in 1151 AD

Special Announcement

The Song Company

The Song Company presents
Circle of Virtue by Hildegard of Bingen

The Song Company invites vocal music lovers back into concert halls in Newcastle, Wollongong and Sydney as they present Ordo Virtutum (Circle of Virtue), the oldest surviving music drama, by 12th-century visionary, Hildegard of Bingen.

Abbess, visionary and natural philosopher

One of the earliest-named composers in Western musical history and outspoken in her dealings with princes and popes in mediaeval Europe, Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) created the earliest-known opera or music drama, Ordo Virtutum (c.1151), for the female inmates of her Abbey at Rupertsberg.

The fight for the salvation of the Soul (Roberta Diamond) by the Virtues (led by their Queen, Jessica O’Donoghue) from the Devil (Koen van Stade) is set to the most sumptuous chant for women’s voices for which Hildegard is known, and accompanied by drones, medieval organ and other atmospheric effects.

The Song Company presents a semi-staged performance of Hildegard’s story of the internal struggle of a Soul battling for her mental well-being with seventeen Virtues on one side and the Devil on the other…

Be excited for an evening of wonderful music combined with a transcending and atmospheric stage presentation.

Circle of Virtue is the perfect way to support your national vocal ensemble’s return to the stage and to experience Australia’s finest vocalists in live performance.


Roberta Diamond – Anima
Pip Dracakis – Chastity
Josie Ryan – Victory
Jessica O’Donoghue – Queen of the Virtues
Janine Harris – Hope
Ethan Taylor – Prophet
Hayden Barrington – Patriarch
Koen van Stade – The Devil
Ruby Bron, Iris Farrer, Annie Farrer – Chorus of Souls

Antony Pitts – Artistic Director
Neil Simpson – Lighting Consultant
Pip Dracakis – Costume Co-Designer
Sue Carveth – Costume Maker
Wendy Walker – Props Designer/Maker
Leonie Cambage – Design & Original Concept

Thanks to Timothy Chung and Santa Sabina College for loan of Portative Organ (made by Ron Sharp)











 A few poems from my recently published book

Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey by Colleen Keating


First Opera

In a vision
Hildegard has her sisters
sing as personified Virtues
in song and action.

She sees struggle
against the devil,
visualises it played out as drama.

Volmar can take the part of the devil.
He will not sing, she ponders aloud.

All abuzz, she hastens to tell Richardis.
With Volmar as scribe
they create their first opera.

Hildegard writes the words and notes,
Richardis plucks the psaltery
sings softly,
her radiance caught in a stream of light

Their eyes catch
mirror harmony of purpose.
Hildegard’s thoughts drift back
to the eight year old Richardis,
who looked to her as mother,
and the one
whose tender hands held her,
cared for her, in her sickness.
Now at twenty two a grown woman.

Showcasing the Abbey

An early spring afternoon
illumines vividness of robes and gowns.

Hospitality of the new Abbey
welcomes lively entourages,
Bishops, Priests, monks, dignitaries, clerics.
The Marchioness Von Stade,
a rare visit to her daughter at Rupertsberg,
and the largest audience
ever seen in Bingen arrive.

After the Bishop’s blessing of the Church
Hildegard and her sisters,
walk, poised and noble
in splendid procession
down the aisle in long flowing gowns of silk
singing glorious, heavenly music.

They circle the altar
dazzling brides of Christ,
singing their opera,
a morality play,
virtues triumphant, vices subdued,
the struggle of the human soul
with the wiles of the devil.

Hildegard catches
the Marchioness’ shocked gaze
focused on her confident beautiful daughter.

When the sisters harmonise in a chorus
and Richardis sings the solo
to end the opera
tears fill her eyes,
she bows her head.

After Vespers that evening
the last meal before Lenten fast
their excitement and pride is palpable.

Admonishment rains down like the Rhine
after a snow melt.

This domineering woman holds my daughter back,
Marchioness Von Stade stabs at Volmar.
Her sisters too free, says another angrily.
Her sisters too visible, says another .

Outside her window the oak resists the wildest storms.
Hildegard stands defiant,
against all criticism. 



Spring in the Australian bush at Burrawang and Bobbin Head






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 we walk on sacred ground.

There is something mindful to briefly pause as one does on a threshold  allow our mind to catch up with our footsteps.  It is a reminderto pay attention asking permission and being thankful for  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 linger of wattle and other Acacias, Hakea, Myrtles,  Banksia  and the odd siren of a red Waratah  backgrounded by the coastal bird life with the odd iconic crack of the Whip Bird and the spectacular glimpses of the blue remind us we are walking in a rare piece of land where the bush meets the sea well the lake in our walk today which curls around Tuggerah Lake 

We parked our car at a small car park off the road not far after 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 Water 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 last year  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 walk. 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.  I love it when the Grandchildren are on the walk with me we sneak along telling each other shshsh and tiptoeing along watching for little ears to pop up and then run off.  

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


Another walk that needs to feature here is our walk at Bobbin Heads in the Ku ring gai National Park along the shores of the Berowra Waters. A picture tells a thousand words.


One of the special walks here is the Aboriginal Heritage Walk. Red hands Cave is one of its special sites . it is not known how old some of this art is but either way you are bound to be in awe of this natural Aboriginal  art from the Guringai people There are impressive rock cravings  and further down the track there is a historical occupation shelter. During the colder months families would lighta fire inside warming the stones and themselves.

The people of West Head were virtually decimated by an outbreak of small pox within a year of the arrival of the First Fleet.

Pause for a moment in this beautiful bushland to reflect and pay your respect.