Under the magnolia tree: Women Writers Network Christmas Party. by Colleen Keating

Under the Magnolia Tree 2023

It was very special to catch up with the WWN (Women Writers Network ) for our annual Christmas Party  under the Magnolia Tree. So much friendship, scumpious  food, (including  the festive  rocky road and coconut ice and home made Christmas cake)  champayne toast to our writing and to 2024,  poetry reading and sharing of achievements,   fun and lots and lots of laughter.  I read a poem  about peace as I thought that was appropriate at this time with the Gaza War on and Christmas with us, . It was lovely to meet the new women who have joined the group writing novels, poetry, memoir, short stories, play  and all commented how supported they felt the group was towards their writing and a help to their commitment . I remembered when I joined about 20 years ago how important the writing group was and still is to this day as:

  1. an incentive to produce the next piece of writing
  2.  a safe place to read it aloud and hear what others thought of it
  3. valuable for the good suggestions and chat about writing itself
  4. the friendship of other like-minded women on a similar quest to write and write their best.
  5. life-giving  as i love the dead line of each week and it becomes a highlight and focus of the week

Can you see us writers huddled under the magnolia tree?

The magnolia reached its arms out around us listening to our stories and laughter.
Just a  few blossoms were open exuding its marvellous perfume. The Flame tree lit up the garden
and jacarandas still held in  after all the wind for the occasion . Their blossoms sshowered along the path
as if a purple carpet for all writers who come this way




Taking Sides

Today I am taking sides.
I am taking the side of Peace.
Peace, which I will not abandon
even when its voice is drowned out
by hurt and hatred,
bitterness of loss,
cries of right and wrong.

I am taking the side of Peace
whose name has barely been spoken
in this winnerless war.
I will hold Peace in my arms,
and share my body’s breath,
lest Peace be added
to the body count.                                                                        

I will call for de-escalation
even when I want nothing more
than to get even.
I will do it
in the service of Peace.
I will make a clearing
in the overgrown

thicket of cause and effect
so Peace can breathe
for a minute
and reach for the sky.
I will do what I must
to save the life of Peace.
I will breathe through tears.

I will swallow pride.
I will bite my tongue.
I will offer love
without testing for deservingness.

So don’t ask me to wave a flag today
unless it is the flag of Peace.
Don’t ask me to sing an anthem

unless it is a song of Peace.
Don’t ask me to take sides
unless it is the side of Peace.

by Irwin Keller