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 

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

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.

 

Silver Nautilus Award for Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey

 

 

Congratulations to Ginninderra Press. Excited to announce Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey  by Colleen Keating has received a Silver Nautilus Award: Better Books for a Better World.  Hildegard of Bingen was published late last year and launched in November.

 

Nautilus Award 

 

Nautilus Book Awards recognizes and rewards books that celebrate and contribute to positive social change, spiritual growth and conscious living. Its winners have included the likes of the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Marion Williamson. It’s truly an honour to be a part of this award-winning community of writers. I have always loved the idea of the Nautilus shell with its Fibonacci pattern and am thrilled to have this award.

 

Congratulations!  You are a Winner in the 2019 Nautilus Book Awards program!

Your book has been selected as an Award Winner in the category shown below.

Title:    Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey     

Author:   Colleen Keating  

>  [email protected]

Publisher:   Ginninderra Press   

Contact name & email:   Stephen Matthews

>  [email protected]

Award:      SILVER 

Category:  Lyric Prose  

We heartily welcome you to the Nautilus Book Awards family, comprised of highly esteemed authors and publishers from across the USA, and from over 20 nations around the world. You can be especially proud of your book’s selection as an Award Winner this season, which attracted a record-number of entries and included a magnificent diversity of high-quality books.

We are grateful for the chance to help promote and celebrate your book by increasing its visibility as a Nautilus Award Winner. And, we are truly encouraged by the new perspectives these books present with which to co-create a better future, individually and collectively. Changing the World one Book at a Time.

LYRIC PROSE

Hildegard of Bingen: A Poetic Journey
Colleen Keating
Ginninderra Press

We have developed our judging process over the past twenty years, and continue to expand and improve our parameters and our system of evaluation. It is our purpose and intent to seek, review, identify, and celebrate books that we feel best support the co-creation of a Better World.  Our goal is to offer life-affirming options with imagination and possibility to a world that longs for a new story.

Gold and Silver Awards, and one Grand Winner Award are given to print books of exceptional merit that make a literary and heartfelt contribution to spiritual growth, green values & sustainability, high-level wellness, responsible leadership and positive social change & social justice, as well as to the worlds of art, creativity and inspiration.

 

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.

 

Book Review: Hildegard of Bingen: A poetic journey by Colleen Keating

Hildegard of Bingen by Colleen Keating is, as the author subtitled A Poetic Journey based on the life of the saint Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179).

 

BOOK REVIEW      Women’s Ink Magazine  www.womenwritersnsw.org

Hildegard of Bingen – A Poetic Journey

COLLEEN KEATING

Ginninderra Press

ISBN 978 1 76041 766 6

Reviewed by BEATRIZ COPELLO

For those who do not know about this saint’s life, let me tell you she was an incredible and fascinating woman who lived in the Middle Ages in Germany. She lived an intense life dedicated not only to religion but also to science, art, music, politics and philosophy. Hildegard founded two monasteries and maintained active correspondence with kings, emperors and popes. During all her life this mystic had visions which she attributed to divine inspiration. 

In the forward of Hildegard of Bingen, Keating says she fell in love with Hildegard when she read a book lent to her by a friend. That love is evident in each page, in each poem, in each line. Through Keating’s poetry we get to know Hildegard, her life unrolls like a magic carpet. Poem by poem the reader finds out about her dreams, hopes, aspirations as well as her frustrations. 

Keatings’s poems come alive with sensory experience, her words are confident in range and depth and they are utterly clear and articulate. The poet could have been a witness in Hildegard’s life, she knows her, she breathes her, she has a familial intimacy with the philosopher. The author undertook a journey into the mediaeval world, the poems are factual and the events meticulously researched. They contain very vivid descriptions, we can see in our mind’s eye what Hildegard saw, like in

 

‘Arrival’

Disibodenberg, high in the forest
sprawls in the clouds.
The last mile steeply uphill
Secluded. 

A white butterfly dips and lifts.
Hildegard’s gaze follows it up
catches the glint of the sun
on the first stone wall.

Stoic buildings unfold
cloistered around a cobbled garth.
Their Benedictine monastery.

A monk in cinctured black robe
walks from signposted infirmary.
From beneath his blinkered cowl
he extends a welcome.
They dismount
Jutta falls on her knees in gratitude.

In Hildegard’s life the days pass coloured by monotony and sainthood and as the days pass so is her strong and determined personality developed. Poem by  poem the reader becomes wrapped in a mantle of words, words that tell us of revelations, mysticism, determination and sainthood. Keating puts herself in Hildegard’s shoes and cleverly she is able to recreate the angst, the bravery and the defiance of this incredible woman. We enter her abode, her orchard, we get to know the sisters and her godly visions. We hear two strong voices Hildegard’s and Keating’s the poet. Writing is a labour of love, the writer not only poured her love for Hildegard in the poems but also her skills and knowledge.

Intuition, growth, earthiness, inner strength, passion, justice, wisdom, art are all words that describe what emerges from Keating’s poetry. What a great way to learn through reading poetry! The poet has not spared any detail about the life of Hildegard neither has she left out information about her sources. This fascinating book contains an Epilogue, a Chronology, a Glossary, Notes and a Bibliography. In the final notes Keating says: ‘A Poetic Journey seeks a middle ground between an accurate scholarly presentation of Hildegard and a personal interpretation of her story.’

I believe the writer has achieved her purpose offering us  the opportunity to get to know a mediaeval feminist of extraordinary creativity. Colleen Keating has created a masterpiece. 

Women’s Ink! Magazine   www.womenwritersnsw.org    March 2020 p19

The Launch of Desert Patterns by Colleen Keating

A launch or not a launch

The beautiful collection of poetry Desert Patterns  is launched at a non-launch in a Desert Garden.

At the Olive Pink Botanic Garden in Alice Springs, Central Australia, with an idea of ‘no clustering groups’  which is now coined ‘social distancing’ we launched Desert Patterns in a desert garden to wallabies, a wide variety of interested birds,  skinks, the wonderful vegetation of this arid garden and to one very curious Euro ( a mountain wallaby who hopped down from Annie Meyers Hill to join the frey.

 

as I read  ‘quiet stillness settles into our very soul’

and continued:

‘maybe it’s the way the light falls

throws its arms around the old familiar  cliffs

brings them alive  beckons come

come’

 

desert patterns

the landscape dreams
of caterpillars and rainbow serpents
composed
sculptured
moulded for aeons
wind water sand
carved chiseled hefted
hewn
from rock and clay
heave of ochre red
weave curve wave

desert patterns 
draw us in                                                                

every escarpment every contour
named and known
as a mother knows its children
garments of beauty
that dress our earth
like whims of scarves 

desert patterns
draw us in 

the night sky dreams
of journeys emus echidnas
black spaces
compose
shimmer
imagination
reflects ancient stories

desert patterns
draw us in 

 

 

 desert garden  18/03/2020 ( written the day of the launch . Not in the poetry book)

already some have gathered under the umbrellas
conversations tête-à-tête over coffee
hushed murmurs like one makes in a cathedral
standing in the presence of awe-inspiring domes
and zig-zag shimmer
of coloured floors of lead-light reflection

here dreamy gold light catches the tips of ghost gums –
Namatjira’s signature –that breaks the silence from long ago
how arrogant in our colonising we had become
from rocky boulders rustic-red breaks in the hills
flames out in mica shine
wallabies laze in shady groves of Mulga.

magpies sing from spindly river gums
and one wallaby sits in red sand nearby
no doubt waiting for left over fare.

all morning the magpies watch me in the garden
their bodies wiry sleek and mottled
a good reminder of yin and yang
the balance that we always seek

I write in my journal sip my coffee
nibble on toasted fruit loaf with tiny strips of cherry
spread with whipped cinnamon butter.
Around us spinifex pigeons enjoy the company

I am startled by beauty wherever i look
and I wonder how proud Olive Pink would be
to see us all enjoying the peace of her long ago vision

 

Mother and joey                                                                 sun set from Anzac Hill in Alice

Thanks to all our supporters, . Thanks to Ginninderra Press and to the magic of Inland Australia.

A Sense of Place by Colleen Keating , member of Ginninderra Panel

A Sense of Place by Colleen Keating , member of Ginninderra Panel

 

 

A Sense of Place      How does where you write affect what you write? 

Thank you Brenda for the introduction and please convey our  thanks to Joan Fenney the editor of our new anthology Mountain Secrets. What a lot of work and how proud we all are.

And  thank you, to you both Brenda and Stephen Matthews for your vision and dedication in not only bringing us together today but bringing us together as a family of writers published under the Ginninderra Press stamp. And for organising this forum  for us as writers to grapple with a very important concept . . .  A Sense of Place in our writing.

 What an appropriate setting –   we can feel fresh unwithered mountain air, 

smell the eucalyptus oils and standing down at Govett’s Leap look at the Bridal veil falls , only a trickle for now because of the drought, hear the stunning silence of the Grose valley and its deep gorges. Just outside the shop door is a rambling track to the weeping sandstone cliffs where  we can enjoy the Australian bush with banksia, hakeas, wattles and other acacias,  myrtles, still a few waratahs if you are very observant.  There are places to sit and listen to the birds backgrounded by the iconic crack of the whip bird.

What a  Sense of Place this National Park gives us.

Exploring a sense of place in our writing  makes us present to the moment . . .  to the air we breathe . . .being  in the breath.   .the now.  . . .    like Walt Whitman  once said “Every atom of me that is good belongs to you”  

What interconnection  with place and with each other we have and  in this land.

It is  really in some ways a sense of presence.  When the poet  is anchored  in a place , in a presence. they are able to anchor the reader. 

And  it focuses the question  how does where we write affect what we write .    It seems to me as writers we need to turn up everyday.  In a room, on a couch,  at a desk, in a cafe ,on a walk – some routine of getting rhythm into our day.  Where we write is vital  to our writing. Virginia Wolfe says that having a room of our own helps us to be a writer.  . . having some space in our heart  is all we need. And when we are settled, our imagination can take us anywhere.

Emiliy Dickenson  for us as poets is an example  of  someone who did most of her writing in one location. A young woman who rarely left her room. One who could write these words:

There is a pain – so utter
It swallows substance up
Then comes the Abyss with Trance
So Memory can step
Around –  across  – upon it –

We really can write anywhere 

and we can write about anything,  anytime, anywhere 

as long as we have pen and paper or device with us.

If I invited you to  give me varied  and unusual  places  where you have written,  you would fill us with stories, with smiles, at some of the places where you have found inspiration.

So how does this affect our writing 

The American novelist Wendall Berry says ,,
“If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.”  

He is suggesting  if you can’t give your reader that sense  . . . they hang rootless

Places are more than just locations on a map.  A sense of place has its human attachment. Linking a story to place not only grounds it, but makes it unique.

With my new book Hildegard of Bingen; A poetic journey,  I wrote at my desk.  I did go to Bingen three times immersing myself,  taking time just being, walking in the Rhineland of Germany.  I lived in the modern  Benedictine Abbey for a few weeks.  I walked in Hildeagrd’s footsteps.  But back home turning up at my desk was how it got written.  I played her music , lit a candle made by the Benedictine nuns  

drank her wine and her teas.  But it was at my desk it was written. . 

To transport me back  into mediaeval 12th  century so i could transport my reader there  with sounds and smells and tastes was  done from intensive reading, research and writing from my imagination.

To ground and anchor our readers, we as writers need to be grounded.  

It is walking that grounds me.  Waking my beach with sandy toes and salty taste of air  inspires me  May be it is the rhythm or the tang of air or the empty space  but that is my inspiration.   Maybe it is the the ramble or the pattern of walking that takes me inwards where I find the inspiration.

How important is this grounding in place and how it affects what we write?

I read this statement that many of the worst abuses of land, forest, animal, human communities has been carried out by people who are caught up in IDEAS rather then rooted in place   Rootless, detached people are dangerous yet when people understand where they are and have a sense of place there is more care,  more connection with their surroundings, to establish knowledge of and appreciation of their earth. This, in turn, nurtures empathy for the place and a feeling of belonging, and leads to greater stewardship.    It gives a sense of meaning.

Our Indigenous people give us the greatest prism for writing  – where  they are, affects them.  Their  routines in singing, story telling and dance .  When they are deeply rooted there is a oneness.  ‘Our Land is our Body’

When they are dissociated from their country they are lost.

Among the contemporary poets Mary Oliver has been one of the most articulate  –showing us where she writes affects what she writes. 

Her focus on interior subjects varies  but we experience  it more profoundly and more authentically when it is rooted in a specific TIME and PLACE.

In her poem  Mornings at Blackwater    the pond that she walked to each day with pen and pad, she writes,

So come to the pond, 

or the river of your imagination,

or the harbour of your longing 

and put your lips to the world. 

And live

your life.

How does where I write affect what I write?

As an Australian I cannot go far past who I am.  

I have found my childhood identity always brings its own dimension to enrich my writing .

As  Faulker says 

“The past is never dead . It is not even past .”  

 And yet my new book is about a woman living in Germany in the mediaeval 12th century  so I wondered and then I realised I could only write that from who I am here and now . Where I write and who I am informs what I write. 

It anchors me into a sense of place and affects my thoughts, ideas, values , attitudes and hence affects what I write.

So finally it seems to me  even if I write of a German mystic or “of sandy toes curling in wet sand gazing at a stormy seas “

my writing is informed by a sense of place.

We are learning from Indigenous Australians, from each other and also from the poets,  from songsters, nature mystics , bush walkers, bird watchers.  We must continue to learn to write  from those for whom the land and its sense of place is a source of wonder. 

 

 

Story behind the poem The Gully, published in Mountain Secrets

Story behind the poem The Gully,  published in Mountain Secrets

 

 

The Gully  

the creek chatters with small rocks
as it slithers along    decanted
from a swamp    succulent
as ten thousand soaking sponges
fringed with ferns   lichens   mosses
sedges   with silver dew

the rustle of a lyre bird
singing the land back to healing
mimics a birdsong-world
and conceals a secret
a mountain secret  

there was a time in The Gully
when the lyrebird was silent
and the wind mimicked a deep howl
and the earth grieved and raged
for its evicted people
its ravaged concreted land 

today the lyre bird’s song rolls back
a many layered history
the Gundungurra and Darug people
lead us out of a amnesic fog
with a remember story –
               a redemptive pathway into now

by Colleen Keating

*The Gully, An Aboriginal Place in Katoomba. In the 50’s made into the Catalina Race track.

 

 

My poem The Gully is written on the history of an area in Katoomba which was a meeting ground for three Aborigine tribes before colonisation and after Warragamba Dam was build when their movement  was blocked many settled there on what was then the outskirts of the Katoomba town .  A Fun park was developed, a lake even a Catalina Plane was floated on the lake there and people were moved off from their homes  for a Race track which was built disturbing the head water of the Katoomba Fall that feeds the Jamison Valley . 

Now fortunately it has been returned to the and is very sacred to walk around and see and read  the history including remains of the track and where signs like Capstan Bend once hang.

The story is documented in a book called 

Sacred  Waters

 The story of the Blue Mountains Gully Aboriginal People 

        by 

Dianne Johnson