Poems with editorial assistance from Jean Talbot, NSW Regional Meeting.

The poems in this edition of The Australian Friend were created in response to the landscape at Silver Wattle Quaker Centre, on the shores of Lake George (or Weereewa in the local Indigenous language), near Bungendore, NSW.

The writers gathered at the Centre last month ‘to develop their creative writing from a spiritual base’ under the guidance of Mark MacLeod and Jean Talbot. The writing course created a safe and nurturing environment in which participants were encouraged to be adventurous, experiment with form and feeling, and share their work by reading aloud to the group.

All felt their time at the Centre encouraged deep exploration of their connection with the landscape.


I speak the dialect, I share the currency,but Weereewa is foreign territory to me, a sojourner from the humid north.

Guides lead me up the pilgrim’s path, purple-carpeted by Salvation Jane.Heights humble, offer long perspectives of geological as opposed to human time. Below us, Silver Wattle Point secures a lakeside beach for human habitation.Like local eucalypts, the buildings hunch their shoulders against capricious winds,harnessed for power on farther shores. Boundary fences diminishing to dotted lines, weathered posts and rails, stock gates and grids mark earlier pastoral enterprises by this lake.On the dry lake bed graze kangaroos. Their leaps of faith mock human bounds.

How appropriate, how particularly Australian that Friends should seek to found a centre here at Weereewa, a lake that’s dry in barren seasons, yet remains ready, ever faithful to the promise of cycles of renewal. A vast reservoir of hope.Susan Addison November 2010

Susan Addison, November 2010

Meditations at Silver Wattle

The lake

like a spirit-level

before me,

a scarp behind.

The infinite lines

of the hills to the south

hold my eye;

they retreat from the glare of the sun.


Silence across the floor

of the lake,

silence across the floor

of the room.


A few well chosen wordsfind their level.

Steve Armstrong November 2010

Walking the sedges

In this way

by small steps

we crush what we cherish

not noticing loss

until suddenly

it’s gone

and dead

is dead

too long.

Virginia Jealous, November 2010


for Steve, at Lake George

There you are

hungrily walking the long flat

watching the contoured slopes, the lake’s

wide open line

stalking something in the distance or, maybe,

something too close to see

weighing each step, each word

like a heavy thing that lightens

as it falls

into these straight lines

Look to the edges. Horizon interrupted

by nothing but the horizon

over there

and here,


Virginia Jealous,November 2010




Cars race around ancient shores.

Oil power.



Lights blaze from village and mine.

Coal power.



White sails silently turning.

Wind power.



Silver Wattle. Grace and peace.

God power.

Anne Felton October 2010

Haiku from Silver Wattle

Afternoon chill:

clouds close off the sky.

Down here, the blue wrens.

Spring’s here.

Icy winds from the snowfields

haven’t heard yet.

Jean Talbot, November 2010

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