Over twenty years or so of writing tanka, my notebooks overflow with poems.
Some have been published in journals and anthologies, some have remained in notebooks or ventured out in email shared with other poets.
Now and then, it seems like a good idea to put the accumulated poems into a little book, as a kind of record of the writing experience, of the life that provoked the words, and of time passing.
Borrowed Riches is the third such little book that I have put together. It contains one hundred tanka written over about a decade. Once again Ginninderra Press has kindly published the collection.
I hope that you will enjoy the poems.
To order from Ginninderra Press, click here
Reviews of Borrowed Riches
Blithe Spirit: journal of the British Haiku Society Volume 33 Number 1 2023 pp 91-92 review by A.A. Marcoff
This is a little gem, a little book of 100 tanka, one to a page, by a well-practised hand, editor of Eucalypt: a tanka journal since 2017. Tanka (or waka) originally meant ‘short Japanese song’, and Julie Thorndyke’s poems really do read like songs, and sing form the page with all the music of time and existence. Her tanka are accessible, the very stuff of life and death, and they show a shining generosity of spirit. They share with the reader so much of Julie’s own life and ‘her singing heart’ – a life lived with all the vitality available to us—the whole panoply of experience.
In these pages you will find a 747, a teacher’s blackboard, an owl, a sister and a mother, lost love, red camellias, stars, a train, a paradox, a bowling alley, a father, wedding vows, jacaranda petals, a quilt, silence, laughter and friendship. The poems move and delight and echo through the valleys and hills of our own existence. William Blake might have called them ‘the productions of time’ :
of this evening lake
what it is
to stop, listen, wait
Julie invites us into her life to do just that, and she shows us that we are all interconnected:
on what cliff I stand
tell me we are all
part of one ocean
The book’s title, Borrowed Riches, suggests how fragile remains our purchase on this world, how fleeting and transient our presence here. We are left with ‘dream-echoes and life-songs’ and Julie’s work ‘yields a story of flame and ash’. Perhaps all we can do in the circumstances of this life is to ‘feel the breeze kiss the ocean’. It is a shared experience:
have you not learned
tomorrow comes, regardless?
lie with me, my love
on this shared pillow
Julie gives us a book that manifests the world in miniatures, that offers us tableaux of emotion, scenes from the reality of dreams, colloquies of experience expressed with all the possible vitality of being. It is a fine book indeed, truly authentic, translucent, and it will repay many more readings, all within her lingering, compelling, and resonant spell.
review by A.A. Marcoff