Bimbilla

poem published in The School Magazine ORBIT MAY 2021

The School Magazine

So pleased to see my poem BIMBILLA in The School Magazine ORBIT May 2021 with a vibrant illustration by indigenous artist Leanne Watson.

This poem is a tanka sequence, written in 2006. In the same year, I wrote a short story for children with the same title, Bimbilla. Bimbilla is a Worimi word for a pink cockle shell. I discovered the word on an information sign at a beach north of Port Stephens, New South Wales, where the story and the poem are set.

So often a visit to a place, and encounter with an object or word, will provoke some new writing.

https://www.bushcamp.com.au/gallery/dark-point-middens/

My story was a finalist in the Ginninderra Press short story for children competition, and was published in the anthology SECRETS. That was the beginning of my association with Ginninderra Press who have published my two tanka collections and two fiction books (Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby 2019 and Divertimento 2021).

The short story BIMBILLA is available to read here on my website. https://juliethorndyke.com/2016/05/27/bimbilla/

I’d love it if an indigenous artist would collaborate with me to make an illustrated book of the story. Writing is a long game, and publication sometimes comes after a long time. A story like this has longevity, and I think there is still more to come.

All aboard!

Last Train Home edited by J. Pearce, 2021.

There’s something romantic, mysterious and exciting about a rail journey. The cover of this new anthology, Last Train Home, captures the feeling so well. Canadian poet Jacqueline Pearce has selected around 600 short form poems including haiku, tanka and rengay, all addressing the theme of trains and train journeys.

Who among us didn’t enjoy playing with a toy train in our childhoods? Who hasn’t responded to the atmospheric film scenes of arrivals and departures on a fog-shrouded railway station? Who doesn’t long for the thrill and excitement of a new journey into the unknown?

I’m delighted to be included in this new book, with a fanciful tanka written in response to a literary favourite. I hope that you will come on a journey with the many wonderful contemporary haiku, tanka and rengay poets represented in this book.

The whistle is sounding . . . all aboard!

From my Memory’s Treasure

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tears roll
as pearls spilled
from a string—
an indigo sky
flashed with lightning

well-rounded vowels
of alto melody
ascending—
swaddled in a shawl
of homemade lullabies

silver-topped
milk bottles dotted
with dew—
winter breakfasts
sunlit with sugar grains

even white loops
of baby-yarn slide
on tortoiseshell needles
pale cakes rising
in the gas oven

a child wakes
to the sound of dishes
and quiet footsteps—
morning hymns
on the wireless

Julie Thorndyke

Date Stamp

date due

September gone
and another birthday
I pause
before turning the fourth
corner of the year

these book-lined walls
all thought, every emotion
contained
on my calendar I schedule
a day to run free

last day of term
locking the library door
on silence
I check myself out
for a long, long loan

Julie Thorndyke

(Tanka Splendor Winner 2006)

A Stir of the Pudding

baubles

A String of Christmas Memories by the Tanka Huddle  2017

granny and me
stirring dried fruits
and brandy . . .
one nip for gran
one for the pud
          Marilyn Humbert

at the mall
for photos with santa—
I yearn
for a star-filled night
and choirs of angels
          Jan Foster

it’s forty degrees
and mum’s had enough
christmas
crackers snap
around the table
          Carolyn Eldridge-Alfonzetti

christmas
meant rum and plum cake
childhood memory
of our annual trip
to Cochin bakery
          Rugmini Venkatraman

christmas eve
we toss and turn
quiet . . .
mum fills the stockings
we pretend to sleep
          Karen Lieversz

reindeer puppets
pranced on polystyrene snow
but the tug
on my heart-strings
was absolutely real
          Julie Thorndyke

green icing
on the christmas cake
and a frill
make all the difference—
mum comes home this year
          Laura Davis

sunshine and sleigh bells
holly and magpie song
carols under stars
the customs learned in childhood
swim united in my mind
          Beverley George

broken nails
and roughened hands
massaged
by the sweet balm
of a christmas-ready house
          Anne Benjamin

three-penny
and six-penny pieces
stored all year
polished up in time for us
to polish up the pud
          Carmel Summers

[Copyright of each individual tanka remains with the poets.]