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

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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..

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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” 

 

 

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

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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

Thomas in Greece

 

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Thomas in Greece

The Acropolis

You can see the cracks in the marble 

from the battle for Greece. 

 Who would lead Athens?

There is power here.

I can feel the ancient power 

in every step.

 

Poseidon surely did strike his trident here!

When you sit your mind can hear 

echoes of the ancient battle.

You can picture the Gods inside the temple.

You can feel the shadow rising upon you 

as you walk in the footsteps of the Gods.

 By Thomas  Keating-Jones

March 2018   aged 7

 

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Thomas a poem :Canterbury Cathedral

 

 

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Thomas Keating-Jones  . . . Poet

 

POEMS FROM OUR JOURNEY TO CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

BY

THOMAS KEATING-JONES

 

 

 

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The Glimmering Windows

The windows are bright and colourful
You can make out the story
following the pictures that you find.

Details show the past is there.
The candles flicker
when you put in your prayer.

It is ready to keep it
and send it to God.

 

 

 

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The Prayer song

by

Thomas Keating-Jones

 

The people are singing,

the whole cathedral is filled
with beautiful music and prayers.

It stopped me .
My body could hear
the beautiful notes that they sing.

It caught my ear
and I started singing
without even knowing
that I was joining in

a prayer song.

 

 

 

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People have been coming on pilgrimages to Canterbury for centuries and today’ our adventure was a pilgrimage, well a drive and picnic to see Canterbury Cathedral with the family. It is of course famous for the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer and referenced by Charles Dickens and then Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot to name a few.

It is one of the oldest and most famous  Christian structures in England. Foundered in 597 AD  and rebuilt and blessed in 1070 AD. It was originaly a Benedictine monastic community. Its architecture is breath-taking.

A pivotal moment in its history was the murder of Thomas Becket,  Archbishop to Henry 2nd He received 4 stabs to the back by 4 knights of  the King,  just after dawn at the first Mass  of the day 29th December 1170,

 

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To continue my pilgrimage with Hildegard of Bingen and my continuing research for my book . . . It was in 1170 that Hildegard received word in Bingen of the martyrdom of Thomas Becket . She heard of his holiness and courage and his murder via artisans travelling for work. It energised her to rise up for one last missionary journey and travel to Cologne to lecture once more against greed and corruption and power of the Church.

Sound familiar ?

What’s changed?

Hildegard has given her life to make us listen and see. She was in her 70 ‘s and  her body was tired but she set out one last time to warn people to listen to the Light .  For me the Canterbury cloisters being around 12th century caught my attention because the cloisters of Hildegard’s Church were destroyed in the Thirty Year War in the 14th century and over the centuries little is left to imagine.

 

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Now I kneel at the altar where the murder took place and reflect on this sculpture of suffering above. The black metal fluted cross and the swords hanging from the wounds and shadowed on the wall behind is very compelling.

Below the altar in the paved stones is the word Thomas.

Today it is appropriate to have my grandson Thomas sitting on the paved stone near me with his fingers curving through the printed words  Thomas.

 

 

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We together light a candle and Thomas closes his eyes and prays. I didn’t try to eavesdrop his whispered mumbling, except his last words came louder  and thank you for the world . Amen “ 

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