Two Sets of Footprints by Michael Keating and Colleen Keating


by Michael and Colleen on autumn  beach walk


CK            on the horizon
shelf of thick cloud
dawn lingers

MK            edge of the ocean
elements in balance
cone of awareness

CK                autumnal sun
catches the wet sand
our mirrored world

MK             gulls saunter
pattern the sand
we ease past

CK            olive-green seagrass
buzzes with insects
fresh from the ocean

MK             warm touch of sun
gossamer seaweed
dart of swallows

CK               the blue-grey heron
forages alone
we curve around

MK              photographers in position
board riders at play
wait for the moment

CK              near the headland
hang gliders colour the sky
autumnal breeze

MK            step through this autumn morning
extras on stage
accept our transience

CK               with incoming tide
two sets of footprints
are gone



no footprint






This poem was inspired by Anzac morning at Blackheath War memorial .It was  a brisk Autumn pre-dawn morning on April 25th  three years ago. A small space, in a small town like thousands of others all over Australia.



we leave our warm bed
rugged up from cold
before dawn


with hundreds
out of the dark
around a cairn of unknown names


silence is broken only by coughs
and crunch of autumn under foot


no birds sing


the breeze sighs
trees weep
a solitary bugle plays


dark grief
for the futility of war
for humanity’s inhumane bent


the soul of anzac
wings our nations’ heart
hope rings in our song
as dawn pierces the inky sky


the first birds sing


zen moments

Zen is a way of being and can be seen as  a state of mind.  I think for Blake it is seeing ‘the world in a grain of sand,  and a heaven in a wildflower’.  For Eliot it could be ‘at the still point of a  turning world.’   For Frost’s ‘Two Roads’   it is taking the one less travelled’  For Michael  he suggests it is the moment at the bottom of the driveway when he is out and  on  his morning walk.

My zen moment  this day was watching a single tawny leaf on its journey.  And all I could do was breathe out slowly . I felt a sense of everything and nothing.  It could be like my heart and gut just connected very satisfyingly. And so I wrote. . .





zen moment

a tawny leaf

the tree

lived its time
served its purpose

takes its leave


how gently
its fluttered spin
air-cushioned down

by the earth

Colleen Keating



Photo taken by Elizabeth Keating-Jones


The first of 9 poems in the section of the Anthology   A Call to Listen. This section is called The Smell of Parsley and focuses on poems that call on our senses. Enjoy. This is my favourite section.

The poem   listen   was inspired by a walk through the Tall Timbers Walk between Eastwood and West Ryde  with my labrador Millie.  She was a wonderful model  reminding me to slow down and look and listen and smell the wonders of nature along the way. It began with the crunch  of leaves under my feet and  the crack and rustle of the tiny skinks out sunning rustling away  from me  as I crunched through the fallen leaves  . The poem ends with an interesting, ambiguous yet cosmic line. Enjoy.



bowed trees sleep
tresses crunch at their feet
hound of wind moans
rhyme with rustle tones
come closer
snick on grass
wake of bird
seed on wing
leaf brush on air
crack and rustle of skink
in their leaf litter rush of hide-and-seek
frog-plonk in pond
snap of seed-pod
kerplop of fruit and berry
and in the underworld
rub of beetle and ant

the only other sound
easy drift
of vesper leaves
to a hush

this seasonal paradigm
whispers its arrival
no fuss
except it’s time