Last Day of 2022: Making Peace with our Earth

Saturday 31st December 2022 into 2023


With the now departing year
May your cares &sorrows ease
May the new year drawing near
Bring you happiness and peace.  SC. Foster








 Making Peace

by Denise Levertov

A voice from the dark called out,
             ‘The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.’
                                   But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.
                                       A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.
                                              A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses . . .
                        A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light—facets
of the forming crystal.
PhotoS taken 29 th December 2022..
Thomas and Eleanor walking the cobbled lanes of St Ives, Cornwell.UK

December Days: Making peace with our earth for a new year by Colleen Keating

Friday December 30th  2022

Joan Chittister in The Monastic Way writes:


The Christmas message of peace
reminds us that resistance to evil
does not require power;
it only requires courage.

Then peace can final- ly come.
As Arundhati Roy says,
“There can be no real peace without justice.
And without resistance there will be no justice.”


Today on the morning air
the crows are restless
small birds are hiding

there is a frenzy of arkkkk king

we know thieves of the night 
broken eggs fallen from trees
a reminder  war rages
while we sing family joy
around our laden Christmas tables
while we celebrate what? 
we acknowledge our luck  our blessings
with family and friends
while we celebrate what?

Is it war we hide  from or peace?

So, are we simply kidding ourselves? 
Will the world ever really come to peace?
In fact, is there really any such thing as peace?
And, most of all,
what do we have to do with it? 
What are we singing about?

Is all of this so-called feast
nothing more than a too stark reminder
that Karl Marx was right
that religion really is
“the opium of the people”

replace religion with capitalism 
fuel  it with adds
for what everyone needs
confused with conspiracy
and fake truth or not
lull it with  sedatives
not just zoloft or prozac
the escapism  we sell to people
either to help them survive the worst
or to help them deny it?

For now with war raging in Ukraine,
with children dying of hungar as I write ,
with seventy million ( the pop of England )
adrift on a sea of the world with out home 
 some holding on to planks of charity
some with only air to gulp to call life
some sinking in the hunger, 
some in despair

fifty million in modern slavery
euphonize by any other name 
we have to  believe in the critical mass
like Peace Warriors who have gone before
in the Hope of Peace

Mary Olive again pulls me up 
and out of my well
of powerlessness . . . .

‘I Go Down to the Shore’ by Mary Oliver

 A Reflection
I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall –
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.

Mary Oliver 
from A Thousand Mornings, 2012

There’s no doubt about it, Mary Oliver has that gift in her poetry for keeping us on our toes. With a sense of ease she can draw us into an intimate setting, position us carefully, then without warning pull the carpet right from under our feet. One moment we can be lamenting our sorrowful lot to Mother Nature anticipating sympathetic response. The next, by means of a gracious but firm rebuff, we’re pushed back onto our own resources. The opening expectation in this poem is completely upended by the last line: ‘Excuse me, I have work to do.’ For a substance so fluid and supple, the sea’s character is yet unyielding and resolute. Whilst not rejecting our troubled, searching self, it courteously reminds us that to be fully human means learning to swim in all seasonal tides. This includes encountering really difficult undercurrents. The sea carries this knowledge in its own ebb and flow; communicates it via ‘its lovely voice.’

I love pondering the epigraphs, those quotes chosen by Mary Oliver to preface each volume of her poetry. They contextualise her work in a wider literary sphere, invite a lens from which to view the poems in each volume. These epigraphs also give us a clue to her own mindset at particular stages in her life. I Go Down to the Shore is from the volume: A Thousand Mornings. This volume has two epigraphs: The life that I could still live, I should live, and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think – C.J, Jung, The Red Book and Anything worth thinking about is worth singing about – Bob Dylan, The Essential Interviews

One of my favourites is the line prefacing her volume Evidence: We create ourselves by our choices – Kierkegaard

Both these volumes of poetry were published in the years soon after the death of Mary Oliver’s partner for over 40 years, Molly Malone Cook in 2005. Increasingly Mary Oliver’s poetry urges the reader to choose to live a life that contains empathy, connection, presence, this ‘only once’ experience of life. It also invites us to turn our attention towards those things which are sustaining, nourishing, offer beauty. Suffering is real, lament is necessary, but so too more life-giving is our capacity for joy and re-awakening. This happens when we intuitively identify with that ‘wild silky part of ourselves.’ Noticing, as in her poem Little Dog’s Rhapsody in the Night, the ‘expressive sounds’ a dog makes when ‘he turns upside down, his four paws in the air /and his eyes dark and fervent’ (Dog Songs p51), the motion of a swan over water, as in her poem The Swan, and their ‘miraculous muscles’ and ‘clouds’ of wings. (Owls and Other Fantasies p10) – by noticing such in the world we are then able to respond with gestures that are honourable, partake in dialogues that are loving.
Why do we go down to the shore? To seek consolation, to hear echoes of our own ‘miserable’ state? Or to be re-awakened into choosing to live in a way that may not be prescribed, but is signified by kindness, by singing, by empathy and connection? And therefore risk being reimagined, recreated into a more fully alive human being.

Reflection by Carol O’Connor

A Thousand Mornings: Poems by Mary Oliver

Evidence: Poems by Mary Oliver

Dog Songs: Poems by Mary Oliver

Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays by Mary Oliver



December 26: Our month to be at peace with the world by Colleen Keating

Wage Peace

If you want to see change in the world you have to be that change..

With this year coming to an end we look forward to another chance,
What can i do to be that change?
How can any of us BE that change?

A poem by Judyth Hill  speaks for today

Wage Peace

By Judyth Hill

Wage peace with your breath.

Breathe in firemen and rubble,

breathe out whole buildings

and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children

and freshly mown fields.

Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.

Breathe in the fallen

and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:

hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember your tools:

flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.

Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit, and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,

imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty

or the gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.

have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived.

Celebrate today.

Our month of December has come to its peak which for many is Christmas day, a festive holiday,  a coming together of family and friends,  a celebration of the Summer Solstice  with the balmy longest day of the year, or for some  asad lonely day or just another day with lots of hype and traffic and food .

After a  year  afflicted by terrorism and war we need a critical mass of ‘yes’  for a new year bringing in peace.  Let peace be the way of our world.

December Days summer gardens, friends, parties, art galleries by Colleen Keating

Decembers Days

 Making peace with our earth, our world of humanity and ourselves

A friend who is in Assisi for Christmas sent this photo. A reconstruction of the simple story of The Nativity. In the darkness of the shortest day of the year when we wait . . . .in  the dark . . .   the new light
 rises and begins its return. ‘And the Light shall overcome. That is our Hope that the Light shall overcome.  Nature shows us over and over that life conquers death . And so we believe.  On the shortest day and the longest night may this blessing make its way into our hearts. However that being said we are here in Australia so we have to turn it all around and find another story  of symbolism.


We have always had to imagine the deep dark cold of Christmas night here in the Southern Hemisphere.

Our Kind of Peace

One kind of peace is a state of life that is free from chaos and turbu- lence, from violence and institutionally le- gitimated death. That kind of peace happens often enough in histo- ry to show us that such a thing is possi- ble. But don’t be fooled: that kind of peace can be achieved as easily through force as well as through jus- tice. In that case, little is gained by it.

But there is another kind of peace. This kind of peace does not come either from the denial of evil or the ac- ceptance of oppression. This kind comes from the cen- ter of us and flows through us like a conduit to the world around us.

One kind of peace is a state of life that is free from chaos and turbu- lence, from violence and institutionally le- gitimated death. That kind of peace happens often enough in histo- ry to show us that such a thing is possi- ble. But don’t be fooled: that kind of peace can be achieved as easily through force as well as through jus- tice. In that case, little is gained by it.

But there is another kind of peace. This kind of peace does not come either from the denial of evil or the ac- ceptance of oppression. This kind comes from the cen- ter of us and flows through us like a conduit to the world around us.

Summer Days



Art Gallery: New Modern extension

Inspirng Art for Michaels  A story that he is fond of  still chokes up tlking of it.








DAY 17

I found the following quote for peace on google while wanting  to read some of the lyrics of Bob Dylan
on my December theme  Peace.  IT WAS A DOONA DAY FOR ME.

Jimi Hendrix famously said,

“when the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
That was over fifty years ago, and the world hasn’t moved on much since then.
A glance at the news and you’ll see there’s still far too much suffering in the world.

We still have poverty, wars, famine, corruption, etc., despite massive advancements in technology.
We still have to fight for peace, though.
We can’t give up. “

My 11 year old Grandson who lives in England and who has just completed year 7  has read a Michael Murpugo book  called Private Peaceful ,which involved him in the life of Tommo who confrounts the execution of his brother for being a coward  and refusing to go over the hill into the fire. 

Thomas has written and reads here a poem in response to his English set text.$cAAAAAHOxGauLNrxY82FBXKKKnqXq&thread_id=583285485$cAAAAAHOxGauLNrxY82FBXKKKnqXq&thread_id=583285485





Thursday 15th December

Day 15 

The peace dove is a birthday gift from my sister. How special for this month of being in peace . . .another symbo, the dove, birds on wing that speak to us of being in peace.

Today it was a beach walk allowing the balmy ocean to wash and wave  over my sandy bare feet .

Attending to the SWW work I need to do and to send 3 poems to Blue Heron Review.  

If you are depressed you are living in the past,

if you are anxious you are living in the future,

if you are at peace, you are living in the present.

Lao Tzu

When things change inside you, things change around you.


And Mary Oliver tells us:

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.



Monday 13th December



Day 13

A day in the garden.

We planted out 4 new mandevillas, dark red,   checked out and marvelled at our two Kangaroos Paws, Bush Bonaza, and Bush Blitz,  our lettuce and herbs

. . .  all doing so well and our soft pink rose opens each new bud with a gentle sigh .

When we come to peace with our own limitations, we come to understand and accept

the limitations of others.

“As we learn to have compassion for ourselves,”

the Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön writes,

“the circle of compassion for others becomes wider.”



Monday 12th  DECEMBER

Day 12

Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry – Mary Oliver from  A  Poetry Handbook

1.When you feel conflicted    read Wild Geese

You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees 
for a hundred miles 
through the desert,
You only have to let the soft animal
of your body 
love what it loves

2. When you are feeling down or grieving   read Starlings in Winter

I want to think again
dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful
 and afraid of nothing, 
as though I had wings.

3. When you want to put up boundaries  read Lead

I tell you this to break your heart,
by which I mean 
only that it break open 
and never close again
to rest of the world.  

4. When you feel you are living without purpose  read The Summer Day 

Tell me, 
what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious life?

5. When you are too caught up in your own thoughts and worries   read  I Go Down to the Shore

I go down to the shore in the morning
 and depending on the hour 
the waves are rolling in or moving out, 
and I say,

Oh, I am miserable,
what shall 
what should I do?
And the sea says in its lovely voice,
Excuse me, I have work to do . 

On a practical level we had one of our youngest grandchildren staying with us for the weekend. 

Today sunday morning began with reading of books in my bed, a game of babana using the letters in patterns, then building, then finding a target to shoot foam bullets , then he needed the plank set up and to play cars with Pa. And it was only 9 oclock. so setting out on the adventure slowed us down a little except the weather was wild with blue sky changing to a wild windy storm gone as quickly as it arrived.

We took him on an adventure  – three train , one train took in 4 stations to Beecroft with an awesome childrens park . Then train to 5 stations to Hornesby and a visit to the library with a great childrens section for reding, and train three one station and walk home. We were all very tired at the end of the adveneture.    Back home it was play doe then  colouring in a monster.  (for about 10mins. ) coits , and then we stopped . Then his dad arrived from an appointment he had in city and they set back off for Coffs Harbour,


  1. Playing cars on Pa’s special ramp.  2. Adventure a train ride to the Hornsby library .



Sunday 11th DECEMBER

Day 11

And the miraculous comes so close   (Written in Russia in 1921)

“Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold, 
Death’s great black wing scrapes the air, 
Misery gnaws to the bone. 
Why then do we not despair? 
By day, from surrounding woods, 
Cherries blow summer into town;

At night the deep transparent skies
Glitter with new galaxies. 
And the miraculous comes so close 
To the ruined, dirty houses—
Something not known to anyone at all,
But wild in our breast for centuries.” 

-Anna Akhmatova (1921)
A young Russian poet writing this in 1921 in a country at war with itself. And yet she could write this hope . . . 

When we use violence as an answer to violence, all we manage to do in the end is to become what we hate. “Actions initiated in anger,” Sylvia Boorstein wrote, “perpetuate suffering.”

I remember my beautiful Aunty Tess who would be 90 today. Since I was young we have shared our birthdays. And I miss her friendship and her wisdom very much. 


And Master D arrived with his Dad to stay for a few days with us. His Dad has a funeral on Monday so we are having him. So far great fun looking for our frog, feeding Mr Kooky, counting the cockatoos



Saturday 10 th DECEMBER

Day 10

You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.   ~ Hildegard of Bingen

These words of Hildegard came to me when I saw the duckling being protected across the bridge . If a mother and father ducks protect their babies like these two did how much more would are we protected by a great Spirit of love? (Father is just ahead, leading the way)


Peace is not a noun;

it is a verb.

It re- quires us to spend ourselves in its pursuit. 

Our seasonal walk called a Ginko. Today it is the second Saturday of summer and we gathered as a group of haikuists to walk in the Japanese gardens in East Gosford  and write down our reflections and share our observation and drafts  as we work them into haiku. Our group called White Pebbles included meeting, coffee, walking and then our work together. This is the 10 th day of my birthday month and it was lovely the group sang Happy Birthday to me and surprised me with a birthday card. (How Beverley remembered I am not sure).  

The Edogawa Commemorative Gardens and  Gosford Regional Gallery is the venue for White Pebbles 

December is unfolding as a very special birthday month. Every day is special.


harmony of  magpie song

and sözu



A sōzu is a type of water fountain used in Japanese gardens.

It consists of a segmented tube, usually of bamboo, pivoted to one side of its balance point.

At rest, its heavier end is down and resting against a rock.

A trickle of water into the upper end of the tube accumulates and eventually moves the tube’s centre of gravity past the pivot, causing the tube to rotate and dump out the water. The heavier end then falls back against the rock, making a sharp sound, and the cycle is repeated.

These fountains were originally intended to startle any herbivores, such as deer or boars, which might be grazing on the plants in the garden, but shishi-odoshi are now a part of the visual and aural design of gardens, and are used primarily for their aesthetic value.