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:


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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

A Hope-Daisy by Little Miss E.


Eleanor at work


The daisy with all her hopes inside                    

It has her love inside it

My daisy is smiling right at us

The daisy is full of hope

to try and stop lockdown

It might just look like a daisy

but it is a hope-daisy for love

and for the children

by Eleanor Therese Keating-Jones



(Above photo:  A plaster cast of a Daisy made in home schooling)

Our little poet Eleanor at work





United: A poem by Thomas Keating-Jones


I like this apple photo that mum took. 

It was fun as I wrote some lines to inspire me 

waiting for apples to fall on my head like Isaac Newton. 






















Atmosphere of earth 

pulling us all together,

all the countries together,

uniting us as one big planet,

making us stronger 

in wealth and hope.



Uniting us all as one

wealthy in hope 

wealthy in wonder 

wealthy in friendship 

never to be broken. 



All is one, 

all are special.

Everything we believe 

is alive in our hearts. 



So fill your hearts with wonder, 

fill your hearts with joy.



Always believe when others may not.

All your thoughts and wonders 

go to God . . .  he collects them

and marvels at them.

They have power 

They master your destiny

It is all about the right path 

Thomas Keating-Jones

soul’s winter


Another poem in the section called The Smell of Parsley .  You will see why after you read it a few times.

It amazes me how close is death to the birth of new life. ‘ We are reminded of this by nature over and over, how the sun bursts through after the darkest storm, how the new buds appear miraculously on the branch of a tree that some could think lifeless, and how the light overcomth the darkest of night each dawn. Nature shows us and we are reminded not to  loose hope in the dark, yet how often are we  ‘stunned in the impasse of unknowing.’ 

This poem tells of an incident of waiting    ‘stunned in the impasse of unknowing‘.  The waiting in the dark and cold  of nights.  Maybe it could be said the last line was not needed but I added it anyway.

winter tree



soul’s winter

waiting in winter
on the cusp of spring
for a baby to be born
feels as if the world
has taken a vow of silence
and time is paralysed

it amazes me how close is death
to the birth of new life

outside a straggly wet mop of a day
droops in
skeletal limbs of trees x-rayed against sky
shudder like brittle bones
breathing just a little

their cold black presence
chills my blood
stirs thoughts of death
i sense its shadow
shiver in its grip

my heart fumbles
like one lost in a dark night
stunned in the impasse of unknowing

i want to believe that this will change
and that I will soon
be dazzled

and i am