When war kills the dreams of the future – by Colleen Keating

Sending spirit of peace,  of bright starlight over fields of barley 

These are horrible, tragic times and my heart and love go out to the people of Ukraine,
and to the many people of Russia who have the courage to stand up and oppose this brutal invasion.

The  tragic  and unnecessary invasion, which has already displaced more than 2 million people that have fled across Ukraine’s borders with neighbouring countries, is not only killing and wounding the lives of so many -but also attempting to kill the dreams of a future that so many hold dearly. 

Former U.S president Barack Obama’s 2011 speech before the British Parliament said:

‘the longing for freedom or human dignity is not English, American, or Western,
but universal, and beats in every heart’.

 

We are all Ukrainians.  Our destinies are intertwined with the destines of all others on the planet 

as monk and social activist Thomas Merton once observed:

“we do not exist for ourselves alone’.”

A friend has researched and shared Ukrainians icons that are very touching and I would like to share them here 

‘Nativity’ by Ukrainian  iconographer Ulyana Tomkevych

Sending love and hope to all the pregnant women and mothers caught up in the atrocities of war

* * * * * * * * * *

‘Crossing the Red Sea’ by Ukrainian iconographer Ivank Demchuk.

Sending safe passage to all those trying to find safe passage through
and out of Ukraine  May you be sheltered in this exodus. 

* * * * * * * * * *

The Visitation  by Ulayana Tomkevych 

Sending love to all women in Ukraine who are looking after older parents
and young children and having to make decisions of staying or leaving their beloved war-torn homeland.

* * * * * * * * * *

 

“The Protection of the Mother of God”

by Ukrainian iconographer Ulyana Tomkevych . How can we imagine what it would be like to live in a n ancient and beloved and beautiful city and be told it is going to be bombed and destroyed for no reason. How does one cope with this?

 

* * * * * * * * * *

 

 

 

Last days of February : One Day at a Time 2 by Colleen Keating

 

” One cannot but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries
of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality.
It is enough if one tries to merely comprehend a little of this
mystery each day.
Never lose a holy curiosity.
– Albert Einstein

 

afternoon rain
dewdrops dazzle like
dangling fairy lights

rainbows
dew drops corralled
by sun beams

 

Tanka

morning Mozart plays
from a sleepy place I wake
with new energy
to face any curve ball
that is thrown my way

 

killing fields

the only sound aside from first wind rising
was the occasional brush of my footsteps
against soft cushion of earth
i looked out across the lake
the early dawn light
lay like a silver mirror
broken now and then
as several black cormorants
broke the surface and redived

in the far distance
the black swans grazed in sea grasses
and lone pelicans glided by
I watched the silver light of jumping fish
catch insects
then the pelican saw its opportunity
struck with violent grasp

grabbed the fish
its pouch beak
stretched and wriggling
while it shook its neck
and gulped the fish

I turned my attention to the paperbarks
and the symmetry
of the native miner’s wings
as it flies into a paperbark

and stand in shock
as it flew out
with the agonised death screech
of a cicada in its beak

is this place
that appears so tranquil
actually a killing field?

 

 

Merriment of  Frogs after the Rain

As the sun comes up
i walked towards the stand of swamp paperbarks
a sound like a freight train racing
through a country town
filled the air

closer it became more individual
like hearing each individual carriage clanking past
and then individual  rumbling croaks

yes the swamp was alive with frogs
all carousing and courting and
chatting
here was a living field
vibrant and alive

 

 

A Tree Kinship 

over the curve of my thoughts
comes a sound
amidst a stand of Paperbarks
they were not only breathing together
they were conversing

my heart wells up to bursting

every tree has such character
twisted and curved
not a straight line anywhere

all seem to be aware of each other
a tree kinship
each with unique characters

that breathe life  and meaning
and sanctity

the textured bark glistens with the
wash of the recent rain
in all the tones
of cream – coffee caramel tawny and wheat
desert  ochre copper  topaz and brown

 

 

 

A plaque on a seat at a lookout

How very lucky are we
to breathe salty air
and sit here by the sea

Last Days of February: one day at a time by Colleen Keating

Life as we know it
changed this past week
yet the nankeen kestrel
hovered above us
just as before

 

 

Each day is beautiful and precious
even amidst these cloudy times
some days of heavy metallic sky
some days of grey straggling fog
with the horizon lost

nature tells us
it will turn for it has many sides
a stretched-out horizon
wider then our dreams
is still there

Today the clouds give us
feathers and angels and flying kites
all uplifting  light and full of joy

 

so different to the metaphoric clouds
that hang thickly over us
pounding at our hearts
fogging our minds
suffogating our bodies

 

lapping waves
our footprints disappear
we do not look back

 

Our second day 

 


out walking
nothing has changed
trees still stand as mystics
their whisperings
pointing the way

Some signpost along the way

 

And from the Sensory Gardens Just now

Lunar New Moon and a Bird Walk by Colleen Keating

Lunar New Moon

Just before first light we rose
the lunar  moon
was due

we watched  we waited
the hearth of a new day
burst firing the waves

the lunar moon
travelled into its tiger destiny
invisible

not even a whisper
or scintella of light
but one with the air

lunar moon
we search the darkness
on the horizon

light  dawn  sunrise
for a wild water tiger
i was surprised
by its gentle silent entry
like a dew drop on a rose
or the tear drop of blood
from the pierce of a thorn

60 years for its return
1962 the year I left
the cocoon of school
for the world
2022 is it the year I bow out
and return
to the cocoon of my world
in nature

lunar new year
the morning glory
are full of welcome

association
paperbark and purple
morning glory

Bird walk today

Can you see the two cormorants hanging out by the lake in the photo?

just hanging out
they know we are here
two pied cormorants

and

two cormorants
hanging out by the lake
social distancing

 

How many kookaburras
makes a coven
waiting for their prey

 

 

 

Vale haiku by Colleen Keating

Vale Grandma and GGPat

a few new haiku
of loss and sadness while
nature continues to sing

a dim empty room
fragrance of the mock orange
leans in to the space

summer’s golden light
shines from red tips of trees
thawing our winter hearts

spanning a great age
the fallen rock is softened
lush with moss and lichen

shell of a cicada
it chose the blue flower
for its last song

thank you
i believe in angels
nurses and carers

 

Thank you Grandma for your love and care
all over our growing years.
We knew you always had our back
We will miss that

Now we can only hope
somehow your prayer wheel
will carry on to pray
and you are still there for us
but just in another way

Windfall issue 10 2022 Review by Simon Hanson

Windfall: Australian Haiku, Issue 10, 2022 – Review

The 10th and final issue of the much-loved journal, Windfall: Australian Haiku, was released in January 2022.

Windfall is an annual journal edited by Beverley George and published by Peter Macrow at Blue Giraffe Press. The cover artwork is by Ron C. Moss, with design and layout by Matthew C. George.

Originating in Japan, the popularity of this short poetic genre has spread widely around the globe. Australian interest in haiku dates as far back as 1899 when an Australian haiku competition was conducted(1). Subsequently, in the 1970s, Janice Bostok produced Australia’s first haiku magazine, Tweed(2).

More recently, the Australian journal, paper wasp, ran for 20 years until ceasing publication in 2016 and, with the internet leading to growing interest in the genre, other print and online journals have encouraged and supported the writing of haiku.

For the past ten years, Windfall has focused solely on haiku about Australian urban and rural life, written by Australian residents. These poems have incorporated many elements of our landscapes, seasons, flora and fauna into the haiku form.

spring equinox
over the moonlit creek
a pobblebonk chorus

Mark Miller

leading
into sundown
dingo tracks

Tom Staudt

virgin rainforest
ninety-four rings
on a fresh cut stump

Andrew Hede

Nature haiku such as these enable Australians and others to appreciate images and sounds associated with the birds, animals and plants of this country.

waning moon
in the mangroves
fireflies stir

Maureen Sexton

rising heat
a jabiru crosses
the sun

Cynthia Rowe

winter afternoon —
golden wattle glows
on black sky canvas

Sheryl Hemphill

Windfall has chronicled some of the best Australian haiku for a decade. Issue 10 presents haiku by 63 poets. By my count, 20 of these poets also appeared in Issue 1, which suggests around 40 of the current Windfall poets have emerged in the intervening period. The growing Australian haiku community certainly includes a healthy influx of fresh voices and fresh ideas.

Some poems in Windfall relate to the interaction between nature and the human environment.

opera house steps
a long-nosed fur seal
soaks up the sunshine

Vanessa Proctor

rainforest glade
an empty packet of Smith’s
catches the sun

Nathan Sidney

While others use local flora and fauna to portray aspects of Australian behaviour and culture.

black cockatoos
in tree shadows
he stops treatment

Earl Livings

beachside walk
the roughness of
banksia pods

Nathalie Buckland

dunny
without a door . . .
the Milky Way

Leanne Mumford


Credit for Windfall’s success must go to editor, Beverley George, and to publisher, Peter Macrow. Beverley’s deep knowledge of the haiku form has enabled her to assemble a marvellous selection of Australian haiku for each edition of Windfall, while Peter has supported the journal throughout its life.

Beverley George selected the following haiku to conclude the 10th issue of Windfall. It was a wonderful choice, with the poem capturing a quintessentially Australian scene. But, more than that, the poem does not despair about ending. Rather, the poem celebrates the vitality of birth and renewal.

sheltered paddock
the udder punch
of a newborn

Glenys Ferguson

For ten years, Windfall has made an important contribution in recording the work of Australian haiku poets. Now, we all look to the future.

Review by Gregory Piko

A limited number of back issues of Windfall (No. 4 to No. 9) and of the final issue (No. 10) are available for $10 per copy, postage included. Cash or stamps are welcome, as are cheques payable to Peter Macrow. Please address to:

Peter Macrow
6/16 Osborne Street
Sandy Bay TAS 7005

1) Scott, Rob, “The History of Australian Haiku and the Emergence of a Local Accent,” The Haiku Foundation Digital Library, accessed January 22, 2022

2) Dean, Sharon Elyse , “White Heron: The Authorised Biography of Australia’s Pioneering Haiku Writer Janice M Bostok,” The Haiku Foundation Digital Library, accessed January 22, 2022

Up Crackneck Mountain by Colleen Keating

 Up Crackneck Mountain

sometimes it takes sadness loss an empty room
to painfully be aware of presence

sometimes it takes stillness of breath
to remind us to breathe deeply
consciously with gratitude

sometimes it takes silence
to remind us to sing

 

and find
presence
breath
song

we did today

our first bush walk since our world changed
and we take time to adjust
to a new life without Pat in our world

an amazing eucalypt stopped us in our tracks
a grand old lady holding forth
fully present
from each angle she commandeered our attention

the light played beautifully along her trunk
adding to her starling presence

colours and tones of nature
naturalness
messiness
especially the scruffy banksia men
trunks, bark, brambles decay
ant-eating bores seed pods
humus of leaf litter
were catching my eye
with a chaotic beauty that satisfied me
still feeling close to the out of control
and sense of rawness that is reality
when we experience the threshold of transition
for it takes time to find
ways to close off and re-protect ourselves

yet the music of birds
the baby wren that flew out
on a branch to greet us
the kookaburras,
the goanna that stayed for a photo
the blue and stunning black butterfly that didn’t stay
a few straggler flannel flowers
reminding us of our lockdown spring walks
where we marvelled at their abundance
and their star-light quality

At the top of Crackneck Mountain
we stopped to have a cuppa and muesli bar
marvelled at the grandeur of the ocean spread out
in all its glory
never ceasing to amaze and delight

we walked down the mountain
taking the outer less worn track
where we were reminded of new life
as fresh lime-green candles of banksia
brightly shone


and young callow sprigs of Xanthorrhoea *
their flounce like ballerinas in their grass shirts
the first breath of wind will have them dancing.

 

 

 

 

*’Xanthorrhoea’  is the name for what we mostly call the grass tree. It means ‘yellow flow’ in ancient Greek and refers to its resin. This resin was much prized by Aboriginal people, being used as a glue or as a coating/waterproofing material. The early settlers also found it extremely useful, as a glue, a varnish, polish and a coating of tin materials. It was used in the sizing of paper, in soap and perfumery and even in the manufacture of early gramophone records.

Pondering this new year . . this Angophora answers by Colleen Keating

Angophora

i visit my special tree
a regular confidante
and ponder
what this new year may bring

rooted in place
sturdy stronger calmer
than i remember

it gazes upwards
out over the valley
as if it could see
far beyond our horizon

one thing changed
last visit its bark was pink
sleek inviting my hand
to run across its dimply skin

 

   

 

 

today its bark is splitting
letting go
peeling in strips and curls
burnished as an old rusty drum
exposing chartreuse rawness

i nod and thank
tree wisdom
for its perfect message

 

The magic colours of the trunk .

 

Totem

The Angophora Tree

Totems are a natural object or creature that is believed to have spiritual significance and can be adopted by particular groups as an emblem or symbol. This special tree like others before me who declared it the hugging tree is my special tree

The angophora tree is a special tree to the Darug people who are the Traditional Custodians of the area. The angophora is an ascension tree, a place where the spirits  go up and down from this earthly plane.

In pre-colonial days at the time of pregnancy, a woman would sit at the base of the tree and wait for the spirit of her child to enter her belly into her unborn child. At the other end of the life cycle, when someone passes, the body is wrapped in bark and placed in the large branches up the tree, to allow the spirit of the person to return to the heavens.

On a recent visit  I felt the spirit is still there.   There is a parallel world here in this Loreto forest .

I am writing my next poem on that at present.

 

(Angophora Costata   Sydney Red Gum or Smooth Bark Apple Gum)

A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s plant flowers! Welcome 2022 by Colleen Keating

New Years Eve

lets hope
the burst of colour and sound
scares off the old spirits
to welcome 2022

I think it will bring flowers
because I am planting them!

Welcome 2022

 

Dawn came with
chortle of magpies in the deodar
outside our bedroom window

morning greeted with
dawning light golden
atop the trees

the butcher birds shy ring
for them a greeting of another day
– for us a new year.

Our birds began arriving
doves  lorikeets  cockatoos
magpies and native minors.

 

It was a startling blue day.
An early walk as the heat was coming.
Coops Creek  forest was shady and cool.

Michael pointed out – a natural sculpture –
a very old uprooted tree
rains and winds over the years

washing it clean like bone.
Then we saw sculpures everywhere
This could be our very own Sculpture Park

with stunning shapes
albeit of nature alone.
Trees, upturned roots, caves, fallen rocks
and plants all lend themselves

from some bigger than us
to the fragile, small, sometimes
hidden things, one needs to tiptoe
quietly not to miss

 

 

 

 

 

(Angophora Costata   Sydney Red Gum or Smooth Bark Apple Gum)

A

 

 

 

 

Society of Women Writers NSW and Poetry by Colleen Keating

The Society of Women Writers enjoyed a festive dayl face to face
(for the first time for months as the meetings have been held by zoom)
A fun workshop on humour in our writing.
Two great speakers  including poet and close friend Pip Griffin giving the authors talk as she told us of the three latest publications which I have spoken of before in more detail.

 

and then 5 poets
including me enterained the group.

Below is  the well known poet and Haikuist, Beverley George and I dressed ready ready for our performance
which was a poem about a catch up of two friends reminiscing about by gone days. It was written by Beverley a few years back and won a FAW award.  We generated  plenty of laughter what we needed today.

Below is a collage of our Christmas celebration. from the Society’s website.

 

 Two of my poems read  as part of the performance. 

taking wings

if ever there were a summer day so perfect

so romantic under its mild autumn sun

constantly making love to the trees and flowers 

that it made you wish to tear at your shackles

rip off your yoke

feel exposed to its sharp pinion

and to give yourself over to brash colour

without an iota of worry

a day that made you pack a sandwich

and with a bottle of water to set out 

to walk quiet ways catching the song 

of tiny birds brimming in wild blackberry brambles 

and for a moment feel your heart sing

with even a quaver of gratitude

well today is just that kind of day 

from Fire on Water  by Colleen Keating pg.107

 

Scriptorium

Maybe it is the light

that illuminates jars

of coloured minerals, powders. 

Maybe the smell of curing skin, 

or sharp tang of vinegar.

It could be the plaited basket 

of moss and flower, blue woad dye 

or sharp smell of ink 

pestled down from bald-oak.

Maybe the sight of scrolls 

rolled into alcoves 

or shelved parchments,

or the elaborate books of saints

behind the monk Volmar,

enshrined on the cumdach.

Perhaps it’s the copy of Ptolemy’s Astronomy,

or the manuscripts

Volmar points out,

from all over the Christian and Arab world. 

Maybe just crossing the threshold

when Hildegard steps through the door,

inhales the air

and feels immediately at home

in a world that sharpens curiosity.

Hildegard knows,

she has found her calling.

She wants to be a maker of books. 

from Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey

Just for fun this is a photo of Bererley and me . It was taken at our performance of the same poem at the retreat a few years back.