Pattern Upon Pattern

braille collage 2

a tanka sequence by Julie Thorndyke and Jan Dean

August sweeps
over the demolition site—
broken walls, twisted pipes
the torn patterns of old
wallpaper and past lives

layers build
pattern upon pattern
making art
isn’t always so
the best comes easily

so much to do—
can’t find my way
back
to that quiet place
poetry comes from

how like reflection
to make something better
the wrong way up
some day the world will say
twist asunder and start again

I need new words
to populate a poem—
some fish to swim
in the lily pond where thoughts
hover like dragonflies

once the winds
were always in august
now they come at whim
darting here, unbending
restless, ever restless

if the wind
blows from another
direction—shall I
dance a different step
sing a different tune

is anything left
from those long dark days
when everything
was gratefully received?
for some nothing ever suits

on a creaky ship
that rolled and rocked
grandfather came…
and this old frock coat
is all that is left of him

some decide
recycling is warranted
others are happy
to forget the past, move on
saving the best for last

©Julie Thorndyke and Jan Dean
First published Kokako 14 April 2011 p.34-35

 

Christmas Cantata 2009

dove

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—
tonight
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