John Muir Trust Writing Competition  – Wild Inside

Thomas Keating-Jones wins the Bronze Medal in the John Muir Writing Competition – Wild Inside for his poem in the under 18 year old section

 

 

It speaks as a 9 year old  boy in lockdown. 

I think this tree is smiling 

I think this tree is smiling 

With the light of the sunshine warming up it’s tiny new green leaves 

I also feel like smiling 

as the sun washes away the darkness in our hearts 

I think that tree is smiling 

With happiness and joy, as I look through a window

where the cherry blossoms danced in the wind

Gone now 

Time is passing

I think my tree is smiling 

As he knows his role in the world 

I can feel it’s strong branches 

It can feel my tiny hands 

I am up in its canopy hidden from the lockdown world 

My view is special and just for me 

I think this tree is smiling 

Smiling straight at me

I feel like smiling

I feel free 

Thomas Keating-Jones  

9 years old

 May 30th 2020

John Muir Trust Writing Competition  – Wild Inside

Under-18s Poetry

Winner: Jane

Linda Cracknell said: “This writer has created a great form for their poem,

 including lovely rhythm which makes it excellent to read aloud, 

and it’s clever, showing the human is clearly part of the natural world.”

Silver: Eliza

Bronze: Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What must our world do to build up its resilience ?

Below is a video of  Thomas reading  his new poem . Press IMG 9763 to hear him with his purple hair being a wild child not only in ISO and in Lockdown loving home-schooled in England but  at this time being on a summer holiday.

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What must our world do to build up its resilience ?

For me the answer is Listen to our children. Have hope in our children. Believe our world will be in good hands.
This then will make us work harder NOW  to leave the world the best we can
so the children of tomorrow  can say
we see the way for on the shoulders of giants we stand.

 

Thomas inspires me with his thoughts and words and expressions .

His poetry speaks to us all.
His voice speaks to us in hope that our young are on the way to make a difference.

I

What might become of earth

The air is Her great breath of life
The waves and ripples are the folds of Her cloak
The trees are Her garden
flowering in Her loving care
demonstrating her ethereal presence.
The Sun is Her eye to Earth.
Her glorious gateway to our world
We are a small part of her creation.
If we stand for nothing what we we fall for?
If we do not say enough when will it be?
If we are never satisfied when will our planet be stripped bare?
Barren
A void.
On the winds of time now come the winds of change
Who knows what might become of Earth. 

 

Thomas doing what he loves to do, using his words and his voice to make a difference.

When you can only take photos from the window  by Colleen Keating

When you can only take photos from the window 

(in self-isolation from covid-19)

I had forgotten how much light there is in the world till you gave it back to me
Ursula Le Guin  A Wizard of Earthsea

you can be caught easily by a showy redhead grevillea
the fancy filagree sprays of white Fiddlewood florets
the yellow curl of aspen’s hint of autumn

you can be caught by the one native miner
that flies in cute and curious
and snap it from every angle with each flit of wing

yet in the window frame of my mind
it is greenery that speaks to us today
with constancy of presence 

 

how its algorithm of leaf space
pattern and deft design
underscore artisry

how it covers the ground
when left untamed   patient when trimmed
how it begins again    never gives up

a grass tortoise of the fable
it’s slow slog     up trellis     over pipes
down walls

resolute against  drought   fire    plague
how it regenerates    never resiles
to come back

 

and how the most insignificant–
titled  weeds break through black plastic
distort concrete and pavement

to find the crack
the crack to get back
the light that beckons carry on 

it reminds me
how first green shoots 
of snow bells spear apart dark soil
 

how moist green worlds
congregate in alcoves of rock
in the hottest of deserts  

and how the play of light

shadows 

slants 

shines

giving us a thousand shades of green

 

Carried on the Wings of Time by Thomas Keating Jones

Congratulations to my Grandson Thomas, a wonderful young poet who received Highly Commended Award at the recent prestigious  Myall Creek  Memorial Day Poetry Competition.

This is the second year he has been awarded  a prize at at this poetry competition.

The Friends of Myall Creek Committee invite all school children from years K to 12 to participate in its annual ‘THOUGHTS AND DREAMS’ competition. The theme this year?

         ‘Living Lingo … International Year of Indigenous Languages’

CARRIED ON THE WINGS OF TIME.

by Thomas

As Languages fall through the air,

carried on the winds of time,

some fade, disappear,

become echoes of the way it was . . .

an echo we struggle to hear,

as we work on how it should be.

All the languages new and old hold power.

People learn and differ with them.

It is the lyrical key to the vault of volumes of knowledge,

kept in the magic of the voice,

in the retelling,

like a spell to conjure

…to learn.

You have to explore and engage

to find

in language is hope,

preservation

protection

tradition.

We need to speak out,

to be heard.

to keep it alive…

so life is not lost in translation.

Last year Thomas received a book voucher and an Australian book.

We are awaiting this years award.

Here is last years poem by Thomas.

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. 

 

 

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United

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

Poem on Grandchildren and Environment wins

 

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Good to receive word my poem  ‘a beautiful world’ received second place in the Annual Poetry Competition for Poetry Matters. Always affirming to have your work accepted and a cheque award is an extra bonus.  My award winning poem began with my Granddaughter  little Miss J putting my big shell to her ear and my saying ‘can you hear the sea?’ She listened seriously and said in her sweet three-year-old voice ‘I can hear the dolphins.’  That line stayed with me for the past three years. And then Thomas face-timed me from England with his  school project about  the problem of plastic  on the sea and the poem had its seed. 

AWARD WINNING POEM

a beautiful world

at the party I sit back
watch the action from the side
frivolity centres the room
spills out onto the deck

my daughters laugh 
in the kitchen
sampling each others specialities

the men outside
beer in hand
enjoy the sizzle of the barbecue

I watch their little ones 
busy at make-believe 
they are growing fast
each in their own way 
the eldest   now eight years old
is worried about the dolphins
what if they choke on the plastic and all die
the four year old responds 
i can hear the dolphins in grandma’s big shell

I remember my whispered words
as I held each for the first time
welcome little one
it is a beautiful world

now the world waits for them
silent  boisterous  open
their shining eyes also wait
and nested in hope  
my heart aches

 

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Thomas  Keating-Jones and Plastic Project

with his helper and little sister Miss E and  his school project  about Plastic and its  impact on our ocean.

Thanks to The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai for the back ground.

Thanks to Ginninderra Press for their publishing my poetry and to Cheryl Howard who supports poets and poetry writing with her journal Poetry Matters

 

 

Myall Creek Massacre Commemoration Weekend

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The Myall Creek Massacre Memorial is a  healing place. This is our second pilgrimage out to Bingara to participate in the memorial commemoration. A pilgrimage for every Australian who cares about our shared history and acknowledges white Australian has a black history. Being the 180th Anniversary since the Massacre we had the opportunity to participate in a full day symposium at the Universary of New England on Friday and I met Bruce Pascoe who gave the key note address. I had read his original Dark Emu but the latest edition has so much more in it as more and more information comes to light. Thank you Bruce Pascoe for inverting almost everything I thought I knew about pre-colonial Australia. It makes us all richer. My poem shared history, I read at the memorial  will be published in The Good Oil SGS later in June.

Thank you also to Lyndall Ryan for her tenacity at research on Mapping the Massacres. with her new interactive map. When my sister, Margaret Hede, sent me a map a year ago of Lyndall’s  work I was stunned, blown away as the saying goes and to meet her and listen to the next stage of  her work was uplifting. One can google Map of massacres to find lots of information.

Photos below of Bruce Pascoe and Lyndall Ryan amd yours truly with Bruce’s updated book

 

 

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The next two photos below show over 1000 people gathering at Myall Creek and  holding my Grandson’s winning entry in the Children’s’ Vision and Dreams for the Future Competition . Thomas Keating-Jones lives in England but i am proud of my daughter Elizabeth assisting him to enter  and helping him understand the word Empathy.

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Myall Creek Massacre Commemoration

Myall Creek Memorial 180th anniversary program:18838942_1797371287241211_2834088407915097287_n

The four-day program of activities (7-10 June 2018) planned for the 180th anniversary will include:

  • Thurs 7 June: a historical exhibition at the Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place about the history of the Myall Creek Memorial;
  • Friday 8 June: the Myall Creek and Beyond one-day symposium at the Oorala Aboriginal Centre, UNE exploring the historical, legal and cultural significance of the massacre;
  • Friday 8 June: the opening of the contemporary art exhibition Myall Creek and Beyond and an exhibition by Inverell based artist Colin Isaacs at NERAM in Armidale;
  • Saturday 9 June: Sounds of the Country concert at the Roxy Theatre in Bingara.
  • Sunday 10 June: the Oorala to Myall Creek bus for members of the local Aboriginal Community, UNE students and staff to attend the memorial event.
  • Sunday 10 June: the 180th anniversary memorial event at the Myall Creek Memorial near the site of the massacre (near Bingara).

Sunday 10th June the 180th Anniversary of the Myall Creek Massacre

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A very special commemoration  at the site of the Myall Creek Massacre.was experienced by about 1500 people gathered with descendents of those killed and those who killed j in a grassroots reconciliation movement at the sombre and informative memorial.

Again it raises awareness of the Myall Creek Massacre as a national identity and as a formative reconciliation event. It is now part of our shared history.  Michael and I had the alarm on and drove our 20 kms to the meeting place an hour early.

What serenity is this beautiful land.  Brown grasses, fields stretching to the hills the amazing trees and the wafting mist.

Unlike Friday with the Symposium where i wrote many notes for this day I arrived back after this amazing day  out at the memorial with my mind filled with happiness. Yes happiness and yet we had been at a commemoration of a most violent crime which is being noted as genocide. I think the happiness was  because I felt HOPE about being together where people held hands, joined together and walked with determination for the future of our nation.

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There were many highlights reading my poem, shared history at this sacred memorial on the ridge overlooking the slope of the massacre and having a great group listening and taking a copy..

me reading poem best of me IMG_5447

 

My grandson Thomas winning the poetry award for the children  competition Thoughts and dreams 180  years on:  What have we learnt.  I will put his poem up in a few days.  

 

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I have no notes for the day.

What caught my eye was a crisp clear winter Sunday morning. with a mist snaking along the river.
What touched my heart was a coming together of many people from all over the country for love and reconciliation 
What whispered  in my soul   We are here standing together and that is amazing
We gathered in a field  20 kms out of Bingara. The CWA had coffee and tea for all and we ordered a lunch. for later. We had a minutes silence and some speeches then set out for a walk of about a kilometre to the site.

 

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There was the  welcome to country, the lighting of the fire, a bull roarer ringing out to let the ancestral spirits know we are here,  With vibrant dancing and song , clapping sticks and the earthy drone of the didgeridoo, more then 1500 of us singularly filed before the young man holding the fire in a coolamon fanning the eucalypt leaves making the white smoke for our cleansing, there was a woman who signed our foreheads with red ochre and then the walk to each stone along the way where students read the information on the stones and then at the Memorial we gathered.

It took a few hours for this as you can imagine. And at the memorial lots of speeches, singing, readings, and two candles lit  . . the red one by the descendent of perpetrators reminding us of the blood brutally shed on this slope and the children came forth and lit the green candle a symbol of hope, healing and new life. Aunty Sue Blacklock a descendent of a survivor of the Myall Creek massacre, and a Kamilaroi elder said it was very emotional on their first few visits to the site more then 25 years ago.
They built a cairn of rocks and reflected on the sorrow of the place.  
They placed a red bottle brush on an old rock.  
It was a painful place, sad,  full of sorrow. many could not go there.
In time when two other descendants of survivors became known  they had meetings to make a memorial and then one day a descendant of a perpetrator walked in embraced and asked forgiveness. This memorial was opened in 2000 and victim and perpetrator walked together as one.
On the day of the first public commemoration when they were all gathered with story, music and song ,
Aunty Sue says:

A large number of white cockatoos flew up from nowhere and circled in the sky . My heart was freed. I have no more heaviness in my heart. Their souls were freed that day . Our ancestors souls were set free that day” 

 

 

reconciliation black and white together

A moment of reconciliation when the descendents of the victims and  perpetrators stood side by side in solidarity of shared history.

Now each year on this anniversary we come together to rememberIMG_5290and
today we stand here together and it is amazing.

SOME EXTRA EVENTS WE EXPERIENCED

After the Symposium the day wasn’t finished .We drove from the University to NERAM (New England Region Art  Gallery and Museum) for the opening of the contemporary art exhibition  Myall Creek and Beyond. Here we saw work by many talented artisans, listened to Indigenous Music and sipped champagne.

Of alf the special  things I have experienced it was the seeing or more experiencing the  possum cloak  which took close to 80 hours of work by a gathering of women for the Myall Creek Commemoration.

 

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Two other events that enriched our long weekend was a historical exhibition at the Armidale and Region Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place .

and on the Saturday a concert at the Roxy Theatre in Bingara.Sound of the Country.

 

 

Spring: A poem by Thomas

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SPRING

by Thomas Keating-Jones

 

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Daffodils dancing.

Snowdrops swaying.                  snow bells

In the spring sunshine

the flaming winter fire branches

were erupting

from flowerbeds like a volcano. 

Spring was coming for us

as we wandered the winding paths. 

Thomas Keating-Jones

Age 7

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Photos by Elizabeth Keating-Jones