London City in 10 pictures . . . with a few extra 2

Michael and Elizabeth out the frount of our Hotel in Bloomsbury

A new and perfect day in London. Our drem was to walk carefree around London with Elizabeth and that is exactly what came to pass. Our dream  together on Facetime from Australia was a reality. We walked across the Thames and along the bank. I noticed Liz spying for a spot to get down on the bank and give me the opportunity to experience mudlarking in reality. She coaxed us down onto the not so muddy bank tide way out and we walked along with our head down gazing at the rocky bank . It became quite mesmerising . I found a nail from a very old ship and a bone from when the butchers used the river as their drain  . History is amazing you could write chapters on the few things I picked up. There was also a group down there picking up rubbish and it was the experience Liz wanted us to have. We recovered  . . . back up on the bank and walked on to Tate Modern.  Michael  and I had been here once but it was closed and so our first experience walking into this grand old electical  or water plant  and seeing how it has been modified. It took awhile to orient ourselves and then Liz gave me the opportunity to experience the special exhibitions as she is a member and has a Tate card.  

Expressionists: Kandinsky, Munter and the Blue Rider the ones who led the road to Modern Art

Now You see Us Women Artists in Britain 1520 -1920  Women who forged a path silently for generations to come

Yoko Ono : Music of the Mind

Elizabeth was excited to show us The Snail by Henri Matisse. What fun , What an amzing picture.

Elizabeth with The Snail    (Why is Matisse’s snail so famous?   “The Snail” is furthermore considered a particularly profound Modernist statement because the spiral pattern on a snail shell, what Matisse referred to as the “unrolling,” references The Golden Ratio, a compositional strategy frequently used in early abstract art that is considered an expression of universal harmony in)

Why a snail?  Dali used them as images of impotence, while medieval painters included them in paintings of the Virgin Mary, due to the belief that their shells meant that their modesty was protected and they reproduced without sex.


From the members room and from the shop we enjoyed a wonderful view of St. Pauls Cathedral. Here  is a good photo shoing the Thames and St Paul’s with Elizabeth and Michael in the Tate.

It is a commonplace, but we cannot help repeating it, that St Paul’s dominates London. V. Woolf.

Admittedly Virginia wrote that is an essay about London  harkening back to a time when London, and St Paul’s, was surrounded by ‘sheep grazing on the greensward; and inns where great poets stretched their legs and talked at their ease.’  


The Poetry Pharmacy

Today, we like flaneurs  wandered along the London streets back home to our accomodation  and Elizabeth led us along a busy vibrant Oxford Street.  And we came across The Poetry Pharmacy which I have followed on line for sometime and I wexcited to visit the actual new shop.

@ poetry_pharmacy_

What a wonderful oasis in a bustling street in a fast moving city in a overwhelmed world .

It was so lovely to drop in and see all the books and jars, and the little café! Such a creative use of the space and love the whole concept✨

We sat sipping tea with nibbles,  enjoying  the wonder selection of books  and poetry reminders around us , noting all the poetic medicines  to assist us in  our needs in this days.
Welcome to the world’s first walk-in Poetry Pharmacy!

“Here, instead of sleeping pills and multivitamins, customers will be offered prescriptions of Derek Walcott and Elizabeth Bishop” – Alison Flood, The Guardian.


I love the reminder about the medicine:

Handmade – No Bitter Pills

No adverse reactions

Easy to swallow (Metaphoriaclly) 

Pill capsules are filled with Poetic Solace

(Not suitable for children)

My choice to bring home to Australia was a bottle of Poemcetamol





London City in 10 pictures . . . . with a few extra by Colleen Keating 1


As one does in England, popping up to London for a few days can mean a thousand things  –  from walking cobbled stones in the steps of the greats of our past to walking past  some of the beautiful architecture of our time. It can mean museums and galleries, musicals, historic statues, cornish pastry and having a beer in a corner pub. For Michael and I  this time in our 80th year  we are slower and not in such a hurry to see and do everything. Hence  it means  savoring the train trip, finding  our gorgeous boutique hotel in the heart of Bloomsbury in the same block as the British Museum surrounded by antiquated book shops, unique pubs, historical buildings once occupied by the likes of  Virginia Woolf and TS. Eliot to name two.  We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Ruskins Cafe watching the people, taking in  the vibe. London has its Thames-city smell, it congested streets with red buses, black cabs streamin along routes , its crowds of tourists wandering and Aussies like us still bemused by the pomp and ceremony and mesmerised by a history and  culture our ancestors left behind long ago .


The British Museum situated in the same block as our accommodation was our afternoon outing.
It is said  travel expands ones mind but standing before the Rosetta Stone , before the Greek sculpture of Venus, before the scripted alphabets of the islam world you go deeper amd deeper into the story of humanity.

It has become a ritual on our London visits to walk through the National Gallery and stop before the Sunflowers  by Vincent Van Gogh, as one does before a sacred altar , and stop give thanks and remember my Mum, our Nannie who always dreamt to make it ‘overseas’ as we used to call it but didnt and wanted that horizon crossed by every child and grandchild.  I also like to sit in the very old brown leather lounge in the Turner room and take in the  miracle of light .


Above is my photo of Sunflowers and  Joseph Mallord William Turner  a scene from Homer’s Odyssey 1829

This trip a special new room called The Last Caravaggio was a new highlight.     The painting titled The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula 1610.

This martyrdom takes place in a dark crowded space, Ursula is a lone female figure surrounded ny soldiers, Caravaggio tells the story  of her death through  a sophistcated interplay of hands: the guilty hands that have just fired the arrow, the outstretched hand of the bystander unable to stop it and Ursula’s hands framing the fatal wound in her chest.  Caravaggio includes his own self portrait looking on over the saint shoulder, startingly pale and open moutghed , he makes himself a witness to  and perhaps complicent in ursula’s death . 

Since the Middle Ages and Hildegard of Bingen,  Ursula has been seen as a figurehead for female empowerment.


In the National Portrait Gallery   I especially loved spending time  with the portraits   in the room of The Romantics – Keats, Wordsworth,  Coleridge, Shelley, Blake, Loed Byron. We also  enjoyed   an exhibition  called Portraits to Dream In

(Photographers Francesca Woodman and Julia Margaret Cameron are two of the most influential women in the history of photography. They lived a century apart – Cameron working in the UK and Sri Lanka from the 1860s, and Woodman in America and Italy from the 1970s. Both women explored portraiture beyond its ability to record appearance – using their own creativity and imagination to suggest notions of beauty, symbolism, transformation and storytelling.) I loved the first photo below called The  Salutation 1864


We had a perfect choral service and organ recital in St Martins in the Fields  to end a perfect day.

The next day we walked down to the Thames and across Westminster Bridge to stand once again where Wordsworth’s poem was inspired.

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
William Wordsworth

Earth has not any thing to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still! 


At the end of the brdge is the fabulous statue in memory of Boadicea


Boadicea     30 – 61CE  

When they heard how her rallying cries 
unified the dispirited tribes 
to rise to defend Britons’ Isle
from Roman lust and manic power . . . 

when they knew the druids spurred her on
upon their knees in sacred groves
under giant oaks in spilt blood 
their gods divining her rightful rebellion . . .

when they saw her, straight of stature
tawny red hair flying
her brown mantel fastened by a golden brooch
riding a chariot to victory . . . 

they honoured her –  their warrior, 
‘Briton queen’
bleeding from the Roman rods

vengeance in her eyes,  spear in hand 
full of rage, full of grief.

* * * 

Yet Boadaceia, through history
you were ridiculed
called a shameless harridan
mocked in theatre
by those who could not fathom
a woman, a pagan as their saviour.

It took another woman – Queen Victoria
a thousand years on,  to honour you.
We proclaim your warrior status
with your place setting.
Its curvilinear forms speak 
to your valour, female strength.

from  my latest book The Dinner Party 

Michael with Boadicea and the English tourists

Tate Britain

Wonderful experience as here is where we met Elizabeth who had jumped on a train to join us for a few day in London .

We had a delicious lunch in the garden at Tate Briton and then enjoyed walking around this art gallery. which we had never even known existed.

Turner was amazing , brathtaking, over whelming. The Splash was interesting and then the original of all my favourite Pre-raphaelites painting

it was so much  fun to  enjoy the Gallery and see the paintings with Elizabeth  and to  just enjoy her company.


On our walk back to Bloomsberry along Oxford Stree we found the newly opened Poetry Pharmacy.



Eucalypt: A Tanka Journal, Issue 36, 2024

The latest Tanka Journal, arrived earlier this month and includes two of my new tanka amidst the many wondeeful  tanka and tankist writers.  It is an honour to be published with so many dedicated and good poets.

Thank you to  our  editor Julie Thorndyke for her dedication to our tanka and for their   sensitive presentation .


And sensitively placed with the poignat tanka of Rachel Colombo

*The Madonna della Pietà, informally known as La Pietà, is a marble sculpture of Jesus and Mary at Mount Golgotha representing the “Sixth Sorrow” of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Michelangelo Buonarroti, now in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.











And i love it is set with two of my dear friends Beverley George and Andrew Hede.


Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality Spring 2024 by Colleen Keating

Very proud to have one of my  poems included in this exquisite journal. 

Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality

Spiritus is an interdisciplinary, ecumenical journal devoted to the scholarly study of Christian spirituality. Through insightful essays, reviews, poetry, visual images, and occasional translations of important texts, Spiritus seeks to appeal not only to scholars and academics, but also to ministers, practitioners, and those in the helping professions. It is the official journal of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality (SSCS).

The primary aim  of the journal are to:
• Promote research and dialogue within the growing interdisciplinary field of spirituality

This beautiful  international journal called Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality, Volume 24, Number 1. Spring 2024 arrived in the mail.

 It was affirming to find my poem so beautifully presented amongst some well known poets and even for me more exciting to find my poem  From the Dust of Stars opposite a  poem by the highly acclaimed poet Judith Beveridge, a poet I look up to and admire. 

 I feel honoured to be included in this journal of essays,  stories, book reviews and poetry.  This journal from John Hopkins Umiverseity Press  printed on recycled paper has  a very pleasant feel and is indexed in ATLA, and International Bibliography of Periodical Literature.

I especially love the cover which is a close-up of Native Australian Wattle Flowers from a painting by Judi Parkinson .

Thank you to the poetry editor  Mark S. Burrows Camden ME. for their dedication to poetry. 




From the dust of stars

A keke-ke-ik cry skirls the air, not from the lone  
gull high in the green cloud, not the cormorant fishing
the lake in early light, nor from swallows in their 
scythe and skim at the edge but a pair of plovers
on the bank, their urgent call in rhythm with
the pace of circus stilt-walkers on red legs.

Spurred wings swoop low in pursuit–
qui vive their defence of nest and chicks hidden in 
verge of bristled grass. Strategically, they strut
grim-masked faces, sometimes coy in priested–collar
sometimes they stretch their white necks and shriek
like angry roosters. I sense their desperation

and step back to honour their cry.
Plover instinct jolts my mind to parenthood. 
Memory of a little one, nuzzled at the breast, hand 
curved warm skin to skin swaddled in the pre-dawn.  
Now my eyes stay on these ground birds. 
I muse how we come from the dust of stars fired 

from the same exploding cosmos.
A clear morning opens into the sky.  A new day –
joggers, walkers some with dogs on leads, 
picnickers, fishermen, all possible intruders
keep the plovers on the alert. A black crow waits 
on a nearby branch, its eye a laser beam.

Colleen Keating




Winchester Cathedral in 10 Picutres  by Colleen Keating

Visiting Winchester Cathedral in 10 Picutres 


A tree lined park leads us to a staggering cathedral of wonderful proportions built in 1079 and expanded after that over 5 centuries with 7 different designs  of architectural  styles.   it has had countless restorations over the centuries .

After entering the Cathedral the first site that stopped me  was the west wall stained glass window at the back of the cathedral.


It has a n interesting story.

The mosaic stain glass window was not the intended design but an assortment of broken fragments collected and repaired after all of the stain glass windows of the cathedral were smashed on 12 December 1642 after the army  burst through the doors rode their horses into Winchester’s historic cathedral.. Then those with guns used the windows as target practice. The ground was splattered with coloured glass.

When the angry soldiers left, the townspeople came around and picked up as much of the glass as they could. They stored it all in boxes tucked safely under their beds in hopes that when things calmed down, the windows could be reassembled and the bones could be reburied.

Oliver Cromwell, died in 1658 and within two years, the monarchy was restored. But the war had left Winchester Cathedral in a sorry state. In an effort to get things back to normal, the citizens of Winchester set about cleaning up and repairing their cathedral.

Everyone brought out their boxes of glass to see if they could be put back where they belonged. However, recreating the beautiful Biblical scenes that had once graced the windows proved to be an impossible task. So they repaired many of the broken windows with clear glass.

A Window as a Metaphor

For the huge west window, they came up with a special plan. They gathered all the bits of broken glass and made a mosaic. The result was a beautiful window.

It doesn’t have images representing stories from the Bible as it once did, but it still tells a story. It tells a story about a war and of people putting broken things back together. And maybe there’s still a spiritual message in it for us. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for life and teaches us that no matter how shattered things seem, they can still be put back together. They might not look like they did before, but they can still be beautiful.

(adapted from The Curious Rambler – Margo Lestz)

A Window, A War, and a Metaphor in Winchester Cathedral

Heard melodies are sweet,
but those unheard are sweeter;  Keats

Stained glass stories with ornate tales
saints and heroes and biblical scenes
summon us to stand and wonder

imagine the emptiness of frame
when in rage men lifted muskets
shattered  story and beauty  reigned terror

how many brave hands were cut by shards of glass
how many pockets and boxes of glass collected
hidden for 20 years in hope of restoration

impossible to recreate the ancient windows
to their seventeenth century former majesty
yet a sense of people-power gave hope

a multicoloured mosaic of salvaged shards
with additional clear glass to fill residual gaps
makes luminosity of light live once again

a reconstructed window
its kaleidoscopic splendour tells a new story
a story of salvation and resurrection

Colleen Keating


Marvellous archetecture. We could spend hours walking around this beautiful 12th century structure.

“Winchester Cathedral is one of the most historically significant buildings in Britain.

It is located at the heart of historic Winchester, once the seat of Anglo-Saxon and Norman royal power,

on the site of an early Christian Church. Today, Winchester Cathedral stands beautifully

in the idyllic green spaces surrounding it,

boasting the title of Europe’s longest medieval Cathedral.

The Old Minster, a Benedictine monastery, was the home of St Swithun and the present Cathedral was built

on the orders of William the Conqueror. Begun in 1079, Winchester Cathedral

has been a place of welcome and worship ever since. “

A place of prayer and a prayer for PEACE




We all wanted to visit King Arthur’s Round Table of Camelot that his knights used to sit around? 

Here in  Winchester  the Round Table is  part of Winchester Great Hall. a short walk from Thre cathedral.

Although it’s not really the legendary circular table, it is a medieval recreation that dates back to the 13th-century! 

As a huge fan sof the Arthurian Legends and anything to do with Merlin,we just had to check this table out for myself. 

Pa and Elizabeth getting into the mood.

The architecture of the Hall was breathtaking as the Cathedral .

Finally attached to the hall was Queen Eleanotr’s Garden  with its fountain, long walking trellis  for ladies to walk and care fot their complexion and a mediatation corner of peace.

Pa and Eleanor sitting in the meditation corner but not really mediatation

Thomas and i walking under the long trellis way.

And so after a long drive home thanks to William we arrived with a new story and much beauty that feeds our soul.

Drives into the English Countryside in 10 Pictures by Colleen Keating

Several drives into the Countryside in 10 Pictures

One of the creative  moments feeding our souls

We set out to find a mystery country church that we had heard of  worth visiting as it is said to have 12 beautiful Marc Chagall stained glass windows . It was about an hours drive to All Saints Church Tudeley .

There were no cars  as we drove into the car parking area in the country side.   No line up of people queued to enter as there was at the hot bread shop yesterday. There was a country peace and quiet so quite the swaying  hum of  barley in  the field next door could be heard.

Elizabeth was the first to pull the very old wooden door to enter and I heard her gasp ‘O my goodness’ I followed and stopped  in awe catching my breath with ‘O my ‘ The small church was full of scintillating  mood of coloured light   the ancient flood and wall stones were shimmering in swaying light  and the windows , with the luminosity of Marc Chagall work waited for us .


All Saints Church in Tudeley, Kent, England, is the only church in the world that has all its windows in stained glass designed by Marc Chagall.   “When Chagall dies Matisse will be the only one left that knows what colour is “ Picasso

One of the wonders of the Tudeley windows is that they are at eye level: one can go right up to them and see the marks of Chagall’s hands. He would scratch and mark his windows right up to the final stage of making – some say even after they were installed. This distinguishes the Tudeley windows from most of his other stained glass, which tends to be high up and hard to see.

(Some of his finest work in the medium is at the synagogue of the Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem, depicting the Twelve Tribes of Israel – the Reuben window, in particular, prefiguring the east window at Tudeley and in a Zurich Cathedral. The most interesting window at present with thoughts of Gaza , according to my friend Andy . . .is at the is the Peace Window at the United Nations building in NY. a

How did Chagall happened to be present here in this tiny unknown church in the countryside.

The story goes a  young jewish girl Sarah and her mother had seen  and admired the Chagall designs for the Hadassah windows at an exhibition in the Louvre in Paris in 1961, and had been enthralled by them.

After the sudden death of Sarah in 1963, in a sailing accident, her parents living in the area of Tudeley,  Sir Henry and Lady d’Avigdor-Goldsmid commissioned Chagall to design the magnificent east window. In commemorating the daughter of a Jewish father and an Anglican mother Chagall was an inspired choice. Chagall was a Jew, but one who often included Christ in his work, and who spoke of him as “the radiant young man in whom young people delight”.

Chagall was initially reluctant to take on the commission, but was eventually persuaded – and when in 1967 he arrived for the installation of the east window and saw the church, he said, ‘It’s magnificent. I will do them all.’

And over the next 15 years, Chagall designed all the remaining eleven windows, collaborating as usual with glassworker Charles Marq of Reims. The chancel windows were finally installed in 1985, the year of Chagall’s death at the age of 98 (replacing Victorian glass, now artfully backlit by a specially designed light-box installed in the vestry, at the suggestion of Sir Hugh Casson).

For myself I have always  been curious of the famous Chagall windows at the Hadassah Synagogue in Jerusalem  and the ones at The Fraumunster Church Zurich. I had accepted not to experience them and here I stand before 12 Chagall windows the east window inspired by  the famous Reuben window  in Jerusalem . What a beautiful gift to our world.

My favourite  window is in the SW corner ( for the English where the su light gets in )

It is all golden and called the Resurrection window. It echoes the other windows as it also has birds of the air , beasts of the field and an angel albeit less obvious.

Picnic in the  ancient peaceful cemetery

Country walks around the churches  down in a barley field,  path under the birch trees to a secret garden.


Kids and Michael enjoying the country side




With our spirits full  I felt close to Heaven having been in  the presence of Chagall I felt as if I could not take in any more when we read another tiny church i and half miles away across the field there was another country church –St. Thomas à Becket, Capel has a notable 13th century wall paintings and a yew tree under which Becket himself is supposed to have preached.  It is a small Norman Wealden Church.


The tower was partly rebuilt after a fire in 1639. Inside, the crown-post roof is striking and there are some interesting fittings. Most significant however, are the extensive medieval wallpaintings which cover most of the nave.

Having been hidden by plaster for hundreds of years, evidence of these treasures was first discovered in 1868.

The north wall is a reminder of the colour and artistry which adorned England’s mediaeval churches before the Reformation. These paintings provided a kaleidoscope of visual aids to teach the Christian faith to ordi- nary people, who could neither read nor understand the Latin of the services and scriptures.

There were two tiers of scenes on the north wall. A horizontal frieze of zigzag riband pattern, about 4 feet (1.2m) from the floor, marked the bottom of the lower tier, and a frieze of scroll-work further up, divided the two tiers. These friezes, together with the lines which cover the wall and also the wide splay of the Norman window and the arch of the blocked doorway, with a masonry pattern, are thought to be the work of c.1200. and it reminds me of the work in the original Church in Hildegard’s Church which tells the biblical stories.


PS A footnote:

Hi Colleen,

Great to hear you were able to visit that church in England where Chagall designed/painted a beautiful stained-glass window. Elaine and I made a point of seeing his windows in a church in Zurich and a synagogue in Jerusalem on our pilgrimage to the ‘Holy Land’ in 2016.

As witnesses to Gaza’s unholy war, you and Marg may be interested is Chagall’s magnificent ’Peace Window’ at the United Nations building in New York.

Blessings and Love to all


I have copied the image and description of the window from the UN website. [Photo in separate text]

“Peace Window” – Marc Chagall (Marc Chagall and the United Nations Staff Members – 1964)

The memorial, a stained-glass window about 15 feet (4,6 meters) wide and 12 feet (3,7 meters) high,

contains several symbols of peace and love, such as the young child in the center being kissed

by an angelic face which emerges from a mass of flowers. On the left, below and above, motherhood

and the people who are struggling for peace are depicted. Musical symbols in the panel evoke

thoughts of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which was a favourite of Mr. Hammarskjöld’s.

Chagall’s own handwritten dedication (15 May 1963) reads:

“A tous ceux qui ont servi les buts et principes de la Charte des Nations Unies et pour lesquels

Dag Hammarskjöld a donné sa vie.”
[“To all who served the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations Charter,

for which Dag Hammarskjöld gave his life”.]


PSS  a further footnote 

Ah that’s so interesting, beautifully moves me to tears.

One of my  treasured possessions is a copy of Dag Hammarskjöld’s book, Markings.

It’s old and brown. His words have been a comfort to me over the years,

he was and is an inspirational icon of goodness for me.

I’m sending a little of his words in the foreword. His death was so untimely,

believed perhaps to have been killed!   Marg xx


An English Spring in 10 Pictures by Colleen Keating

An English Spring in 10 Pictures

Out walking in the English fields the idea of rewinding England is in full bloom

spring pond
two green-headed drakes
flaunt with a duck

a blue dragonfly
rests on a pond reed
a piece of sky

from the dark
to full light
white lotus blooms
showing me
the way forward

the unkept park
rewilding nature
we wander amid
a bevy of birds, insects
and blossoming weeds

dandelions, red clover,
buttercups, bees
insects on daisies  and song birds in trees
tadpoles dancing
amidst flowering lotus

And ducklings we watched them just born run all over the lotus leaves . Life was wonderful.  But the next day they are gone.


Story of the tiny Englash Blue Tits that nested in our back yard. An exciting observation.



And then they fledged, played in the apple tree for a little while and were gone, leaving the back yard soquiet and  lonely .

I can go back to concentrate on sparrows and magpies and look for wrens .


Catching up with family in England in 10 pictures by colleen Keating

Our second leg of the journey and  reason for our journy

Up at 4.30  am, down in foyer for Uber to the airport and flying at 9am for London. A 15 hour trip which gave us a chance to see lots of movies and listen to music. Arrived late for London into the loving arms of Elizabeth,, Thomas and Eleanor . William had a wonderful chicken green curry  cooking for us on arrival at Burgess Hill. A great evening with the family. Wonderful fresh flowers greeted us – gold arum lilies,  roses and wonderful  mauve tulips. Just beautiful to be with our two grandchildren. Over the next weeks picking them up from school, experiencing the swimming, karate, archery, nett-ball  gymnastics,  ballet  explorers club, doing lots of craft with them, walking around the Dragonfly Park, walking the sea front  on a sunny spring day,

a long way from home
unfamiliar sounds
entertain my night

at the crack of dawn
strange bird song fills the air 
jet lag

Catching up with family in England in 10 pictures

At the airport , very moving experience after a gap of 8 years.


Experiencing  school in Burgess Hill ,England  bu picking grandchilren up after school.

Some of the English roses  with Eleanor coming home from Netball training.

A historic moment  for the family and a wonderful celebration 

Some fun activities we enjoyed watching

Singapore in 10 Pictures by Colleen Keating

Waking up in Singapore. Out the window from our 16th floor  window the world  is alive as moving  white twin lights coming towards us and red lights moving away.

It is a world of high rise and many parks which ironically one must book for a table or for a barbecue on weekends.

Our uber driver said  Singapore people are a people of work and sleep and work again. Every body is caught in a cycle of getting somewhere. Maybe we thought we saw another side of Singapore as we were seduced by the sounds of prayer  from the Mosque near our motel, and the aromas – sweet spices – rich, fragrant with garlic, saffron,  fresh herbs , mint, and roasting lamb in the Turkish quarters with the black robed women and the biked men and families,  all smiles meeting in festive eating, laughing and enjoying each others company.  Amazing Lamb dishes, our main connection of conversation: targine, kebabs , ali nasik,  lamb with smoked aubergine, lamb shanks ,Turkish shish on skewers, spiced lamb mince in wraps.  Tables lit by Istanbul coloured glass lights and shops selling coloured lights nearly as beautiful as the one Michael gave me once now hanging catching the light each morning in Normanhurst.,   The fun we had with one man showing us through his photos of dishes proudly exclaiming with a laugh  ‘our lamb is from Australia’  

Changi airport  
friendly, shining and clean
how different 
this word from our history books
of suffering and bloodshed

up-graded deluxe
king size bed

a multi-domed mosque
kaleidoscope of colours
evening walk

holding hands 
a reminder
to the uneven pathways

Back to the hotel 
lost in a king size bed
we fall asleep 
after a great adventure 
of straying from home

Singapore in 10 pictures

Our hotel

Out  first day outing finding the Crane for Peace

While we were wandering rather lost ,we found two marvellous sculptures of Salvador Dali

I really do not understand  Dali so whenever i engage with his work I i just let my imagination run away, unrestrained.

The first Dali was titled,  Nude woman  Ascending the staircase

The second Dali is titled,  Snail Queen


Traditional drink  The Singapore Sling  at the famous Raffles Hotel. Just sitting back at The Raffles Hotel and pondering the many famous  people who have stayed or ate or drank or wrote or filmed here on this spot. A great energy . A two hour wait to get into the Long Bar but the Garden Bar where we are is just as interesting and we got the same bowl of unshelled peanuts.



A glimpse of some of the Modern Singapore

A visit to the famous Merlion . The fish-like  body symbolises Singapores origin as a fishing village and the lion head  represents the city’s orinal name of songapura (lion  city in Sanskrit)

An iconic photo tsken of the Merlion 

Interesting photo. These artificial trees (electrified) is an iconic Singaporean scene  . . very stunning when lit up in the evenings.. Just one I took on our extensive walk  on our exploration of the Garden by the Bay. It was very hot and we are not getting any younger so we didn’t do the park justice . It was extensive and very green and well kept.


Our most beautiful morning was walking around the Singapore Botanical Gardens and especially the extensive and famous Nationl Orchid Garden so I popped 4 photos in to try and capture the day.  We had a two day hop on hop off bus which we used for transport  – a successful way to get around the city, when you didn’t get lost looking for the bus stop and when you didnt get on the wrong bus  ( two legs of the bus and not clear which colour route caught us out once ). However we looked at our three days in Singapore as a great adventure and very much about the journey not the destination.

Our second leg of the journey and  reason for our journy

Up at 4.30  am, down in foyer for Uber to the airport and flying at 9am for London. A 15 hour trip which gave us a chance to see lots of movies and listen to music. Arrived late for London into the loving arms of Elizabeth,, Thomas and Eleanor . William had a wonderful chicken green curry  cooking for us on arrival at Burgess Hill. A great evening with the family. Wonderful fresh flowers greeted us – gold arum lilies,  roses and wonderful  mauve tulips. Just beautiful to be with our two grandchildren. Over the next weeks picking them up from school, experiencing the swimming, karate, archery, nett-ball  gymnastics,  ballet  explorers club, doing lots of craft with them, walking around the Dragonfly Park, walking the sea front  on a sunny spring day,

Sydney Anthology Launch 14th April 2024 by Vanessa Proctor

Sydney Anthology Launch 14th April 2024

On a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon 25 haiku poets and poetry lovers met in the Gallery, a heritage room in the Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre to celebrate the Sydney launch of under the same moon: Fourth Australian Haiku Anthology (Forty South, 2023).

Poets travelled from all over Sydney and from as far afield as the Central Coast, Bathurst, Canberra and Coffs Harbour to attend the event.

Vanessa Proctor acted as the MC, introducing the incoming president of the Australian Haiku Society, Leanne Mumford, to speak about haiku and the AHS. Three AHS presidents were present, one current and two past presidents: Vanessa Proctor and Beverley George. Lyn Reeves, who has recently retired from her role as Vice President after 24 years service to the AHS, was recognised for her tireless work for the Society and for Australian haiku.

L to R, top row: Leanne Mumford, David George, Laurel Astle, Rohan Buettel, Beverley George, Vanessa Proctor
L to R, bottom row: Colleen Keating, Carol Reynolds, Barbara Fisher, Margaret Mahony, Kent Robinson, Jane Gibian

Vanessa Proctor then spoke about the editorial process with co-editors Lyn Reeves and Rob Scott, the aims for the anthology and the process of selecting the haiku. She examined how the strength of this anthology lies in the quality of its work and the way in which it offers a distinctly Australian view of the world.

As the anthology is dedicated to John Bird and Beverley George, Beverley began the readings with Max Ryan’s haiku in tribute to AHS founder John Bird. David George then read Gregory Piko’s haiku celebrating Beverley’s contribution to Australian haiku.

Contributors went on to read their featured haiku and those of poets who were not able to attend.

All present celebrated the occasion with food and wine and enjoyed the views from the balcony of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Books were bought; old connections between poets were rekindled and new connections made. Plans were set in motion for future gatherings of NSW haiku poets.

Vanessa Proctor
All photos courtesy of Gavin Austin

A great write up by Vanessa and I just want to add I was proud to read my  three published  haiku and I enjoyed the beautiful venue of the neighbourhood centre. From the old  laced wrought iron verandra we had views of the Opera House  and the Harbour bridge. as we sipped our red wine (well some of us ) and we discussed poetry and friendship..

And we connected with old friendships once again