Christmas Cantata 2009


a white dove
perched on the tip of my
blue and gold tree—
a magpie warbles
from the hills hoist

the fire-truck
sounds a hooter—
no bushfire
just the seasonal
lolly-run for the kids

holly and the ivy—
golden-haired choir boys
sing on TV
a wattlebird
ruffles the grevillea

the tell-tale grunt—
we call the children outside
in the dusk
to hunt this sleepy
Christmas Eve koala

Santa on the TV news
in real ice and snow—
it all seems somehow
less of a fairytale

the eight-year old
not confident to declare
her secret knowledge
goes to bed early
…just in case

a quiet drink
beside flickering tea-lights
and brass reindeer
he eats the plated mince pie
remembering to leave crumbs

Christmas wrapping
into the recycling bin—
for a moment
I consider saving
the gift tags for next year

after presents
we unwrap our pale
bodies and purge
our souls in the crisp
morning surf

rain for Christmas
but no one grumbles—
thinking of farmers
and rivers now
flowing with goodwill

ham and turkey
fruit salad and wine—
some of us wearing
these papers hats
look much older this year

card games and
another cup of tea—
at this rate
will the fruit cake
last until January?

© Julie Thorndyke

First published:  Hecate 2010


Morning Song


Within the muesli box
within the fridge
within the wholemeal loaf
within this egg.

Within the honey jar
within the marg
within this dream of life
imagined large.

Within the coffee pot
within your cup
within each melted drop
your toast mops up.

Within the Wednesday rush
within your kiss
within each measured word
our story is.

© Julie Thorndyke

first published Islet  2010

Sonnets From The Kitchen


I’ll write a sonnet built of liquorice tea
of almond flakes and sponge with raspb’ry jam
no one shall taste the meaning save for me –
it shall be hidden well in seasoned ham.
The bite of lemon on my eager tongue
sweet berries mixed with mascarpone cheese
I wipe away the sugar when I’m done,
leave to the sparrows crumbs that do not please.
Let sweet and savoury pies be rolled and filled
roast beef and parsnips, mustard, gravy boiled;
fresh lemon sole be caught and finely grilled
my fork with fettuccine nicely coiled.
My tonsils from their sweet hot cave rejoice:
the pastry chef has given me a voice.

I cut the grease with water boiling hot
detergent bubbling like a snow capped dome
I wash the words to see what they are not
and look for silver tines to take them home.
What shall the ending couplet now expound?
I’ve cleaned and polished language to the bone
fresh tastes, exotic spices rarely found
but still the sonnet leaves me not alone.
I search the cookbook longing for a taste
of wild plums that will raise my poem high:
why let the shortcrust pastry go to waste?
For even little Jack played in his pie.
I take my finger from the pot of jam
go out into the world, see who I am.

Julie Thorndyke

first published in Phoenix : The University of Sydney Writers Journal 2006 p. 108 

Nearly a decade since I wrote these “tongue in cheek” sonnets in Judith Beveridge’s poetry class at USYD.

They still make me smile 🙂