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.

Myall Creek Memorial Commemoration Weekend

Myall Creek Memorial CommemorationWeekend

In memory of the Wirrayaraay people who were murdered on the slopes of this ridge in an unprovoked but premeditated act in the late afternoon of June 10th 1838.

 

DAY 1

Left Sydney early heading north to Scone to have lunch with  Sharon our dear friend. 

 

 

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Then up over the Liverpool Range to Tamworth for the night.

Here are a few moments of beauty from the window of our car as we drove the New England Highway with sun setting in the west. 

 

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DAY 2

Today from Tamworth the journey is like a poem in itself. 

tell me about the magpies

their song croons our picnic table 
our soul knows the song 
it plays the strings of our heart 
we leave  the cracked aroma 
of the pepper tree but not the magpies
sadly farewell the tamed Peel River
but not the magpies
they come with us
climb the Liverpool range 
windmills, tanks, cattle and sheep
Goonoo Goonoo, Wallabadah 
Moonni Range, 
Thunderbolt and Hanging Rock
Katingle, Bendemeer, Uralla  
and massive boulder and grass trees 
along the way
and in Armidale the magpies welcome us.
Tell me about the magpies 
and I’ll tell you about me.

Turn west onto the New England Tableland into Armidale. 
Autumn is lingering in the cool crisp highland air. 
The gardens of our motel are stunning with their late rich autumn dress.

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The Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place

Our evening began amidst smoke with a eucalypt aroma 
a smoking ceremony and deep earthy sound of the didgeridoo 
under a dark starry sky around an open fire.
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The young people dancing the echidna dance 
and to more modern music 

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then to the opening of the exhibition  Looking Beyond the 1838 Massacre.

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WE REMEMBER THEM
Ngiyani winangay ganunga

 

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Leonie who gave the welcome to country and her dancers from Duval  High School,
with me at the Opening of the exhibition Myall Creek