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
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


Shadow Hunting


a sequence by Jan Dean and Julie Thorndyke

the road is long
the river wide, the sky high
no need to fear
life has many favours
when the wind is at your back

in this cave
there is no hint
of frost, sleet or gale
the fire heats my toes
and sends stories to tell            

fireside fingers
with wiggling toes cast shadows—
the first cinema
was a screen flickering
animals on a stone wall

horned monsters
shriek in the moonless night
she stokes red embers,
traces charcoal figures
of hunter and prey on limestone  

little remains
of their victory dance
beneath rubble
tangled hair, a bone gnawed bare
but thrills of a kill linger

sounds of footsteps
sliding over loose gravel
a reptile skin
dry and curled
too large for any snake              

muffled drumbeats
send warnings near and far
ignored by sly ones
a cape of scales comes forth
on the beast of prophesy

lightning comes
as if by his command
this night, children
pant with fear, women
look over their shoulders     

few understand
why men and women rise
again and  again
to defy their fate, leaving
torn petals, squashed seeds

on this voyage of life
together we may
travel even further
than we have dreamed              

Jan Dean and Julie Thorndyke 

first published LYNX 27:3 October 2012