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The importance of the integrity and wisdom of elders is a concept often overlooked in our western culture.  Indigenous peoples understood and valued their elders and this poem by Ian McFarlane beautifully captures the essence of their intrinsic value.  We thank him for sharing his poem with us. 


(for the elders)

Speak softly of those early years,

and gently taste the spring;

drawn from a well of healing tears,

on memory’s passing wing.

Transcend the stone convention

by gathering fresh moss,

with words too light to mention

the weight of history’s loss.

The candle flame is slowing;

the eye becomes less keen,

but the sap is bravely flowing

through leaves that yet are green.

For you have told a story

that needs no further proof,

and the rhythm of its glory

beats like rain upon the roof.

Shadows dim the sundial’s face

as clouds press down above,

and the Rubicon is crossed with grace -

on the neap tide of your love.

Ian McFarlane – February, 2010


Elm Grove Sanctuary – my place of the heart

Sister Laurel Clare Lloyd-Jones lfsf   (1st January 1989)


For I inhabit a Grove wherein is my God,

my house of cedar and pine

is not of this place

but one with it.


Our home, simple and small, but not too small,

is always accessible to those who seek solace.

Surrounded by kookaburras who laugh and look down

to share our joy.


Wombats nestle near the two rivers,

sacred to the ancients who roamed this holy place,

and rugged blue – grey mountains cloaked in eucalypts

tell the distance at evening's light.


I am heart glad to be as poor as this

for such riches - yellow, gold our Autumn elms

and fiery poplar tongues shout God's majesty

as the rushing, singing rivers

grow chilled as nature sleeps.


Young of all creatures come to our door

restoring our faith and love.

Our orphaned joey grown to fullness and health

returns at dawn to share our day.


And at evening the wild geese fly

the resting earth sighs and moves.

Strong breezes cry aloud

and our praises rise

to the shining jewels above.


The river's trout jump as the Marsh fly seeks its prey

and the long summer days roll over us

sweetening the berry and the nut

as we go to our rest satisfied.


For music we have the wind through the elms,

the cry of the velvet gang-gang, the tinkling rain drops,

the rushing flood,

so how can I know envy of others?


I see the rhythm of my Soul, I know the closeness of my God

 I share these gifts of wonder with all who enter here

as I live this paradise

and know it as my inheritance.



With Gratitude


deep pool

filled with crystal Essence

with wisdom past

and ages yet to be



fashioned from the gold of unseen Realms

drawing a measure of Their cool infinity

to quench the thirst of humankind for Love


Elm Grove

tended by those helpers of the Guardians

whose hearts and souls

acquit them for their gentle task

of nourishing


i thank you.

i who am not yet of an age

to draw upon the Water for myself

but who

without its peace

would surely die


(This poem was written in 1987 by a guest to Elm Grove by a man called Jim who came to camp beside the river.  From memory he was Canadian and he loved jazz but sadly we don't have his surname recorded.)



Living Dangerously


                            (For the compassionate wisdom of Laurel Lloyd-Jones)


                        To beat back intolerance,

                             in a time and place

                             that is - and equally - is not

                             amenable, is to risk suspension

                             between what we know of form,

                             and what we believe of substance;

                             like a leaf caught on the cusp  

of a dangerous definition.

Because hubris defines compassion

in a way that disenchants hope -

                             however, to understand the leaf

with what we know of love,

                             is to seek all we need to know

                             of wisdom.


                   Ian McFarlane  -  winter, 2012




A Myth Revisited

This poem written in 1987 at Elm Grove Sanctuary,

four years after it was founded by Edwin & Laurel Lloyd-Jones


Bruce Munro


...ahh...'twas like a dream shrouded in the mists of time

where earth mother smiles.

I remember … ah … yes, but that was yesterday …

and I saw them come with wondrous eyes they looked upon me,

this land, and loved it much.

Has such time passed by … can it be so?

When work is but a labour of love, time has no meaning.


The garden here now nurtures its people – even through the thorns!

It bears fruit to grow and give ...Twilight deepens …

The bees have had their day …

and the quiet, sits comfortably in the valley

where the trees whisper to each other of the day,

being but a blink to them who have seen the Light,

the light … from the old homestead …

within those wondrous boughs … and in that lamp lit doorway

 Our Lady of the Elms

in her long flowing gown of yesteryear

and spring flowers in her hair … still … she stands,

her gaze toward the light of that silver orb twinkling

in that rushing bubbling water near the meeting place with another …


Today a lady oft is seen amongst those sentinels – she,

who was born this day, when … ah,

but it seemed like yesterday … Yesterday when roamed

those four legged monsters (with itchy backsides),

I heard those trees call out! …

and yet how strangely forgiving they be …

Tales also tell of the man that won the heart of the lady -

a broad, strong man of ruddy complexion,

though seldom seen now is his old friend standing at twilight

with foot on knee his back to trunk same colour as he.


For today a young and melodious sapling stirs the old leaves

at the place of the moon

and is often seen shepherding a flock of the sometimes squabbling,

scurrying creatures that come and go to this place …

yet for each, in their own way a mark is left …

ahh … 'twas but yesterday … I was here …

in my dreams.


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