river park

free-range hens
pecking the grassy verge
or have they escaped

Grasping the armrest of the door as he swerves, I gain loud criticism for distracting my learner driver with trivia- “Mum, do you WANT me to crash? How can I concentrate when you’re talking?” asks the indignant young male.

How grateful I was to my own ever silent father, all those years ago, when he took me out to practice my skills in a battered white Mazda with no second gear. It is somehow harder for me, although similarly un-talkative by nature, to sit quietly beside my seventeen-year-old son in his father’s sleek, silver, company-owned Ford, as he accelerates modestly down the quiet country road.

He parks quite nicely in the asphalt car park, far away from the few other shoppers.

He carries the car keys through the shops as we find corn chips, grated cheese and other essentials for nachos. I feel the power shift and smile at this child of mine, taller and stronger, pushing the trolley and carrying the bags – but it is still my prerogative to pay.

A slight moment of anxiety during the reverse, but then we are away –“Oh look!” I shout, as we drive out into the dusk:

kangaroos grazing
in the paddock beside
the supermarket

© Julie Thorndyke

First published Yellow Moon 19 August 2006



Tending to the Miraculous

I haven’t watered the garden for more than a year. I take water restrictions seriously. I have not dobbed in the neighbours who water their lawns in the dark of night; I have not installed a rain water tank. I have just let the garden ‘be’.

Dark pink daisies by the letter box erupted first. A crowd of round, dense cerise heads watching me as I look for letters. Someone next door has pruned the buds from my star jasmine. I try not to let the anger rise. I’d been looking forward to the white star petals. I carry two bills and a writers’ newsletter across moss-rimmed bricks up the drive. Violets on long, vigorous stems emerge from every crevice of the rockery. Twisted vines of purple sarsaparilla cover the native frangipani. Lillipilli berries cluster amongst glossy rippled leaves.

After a weekend away we arrive home to a burst of yellow—freesias are out, all across the lawn, under the budding maple tree, amongst the azaleas which have never looked so well. I make smelly posies to fill the house with their grandma fragrance.

Today the lavender heads are opening and a flush of roses revel in unexpected spring rain. The strident tones of TV politicians denounce the other side, watering their crop of terror. I look at my miracle garden and wonder at the resilience of spring—someone, somewhere, is tending the garden.

spring rain
the bowed head
of the peace rose

 Julie Thorndyke

First published Contemporary Haibun Online  December 2006, vol 2 no 4

© Julie Thorndyke 2015. All rights reserved.