Celebrating Milestones

Like many people, during lockdown I have missed being able to celebrate personal milestones in the normal way. Significant birthdays, anniversaries and book releases have had to wait for another day. Ginninderra Press also have milestones to celebrate: and have published a book of poetry from 160 poets in this, their 25th year. I’m very glad to be included with my poem “Clean Lines”. Congratulations to Stephen and Brenda Matthews for another publishing milestone, and thanks for the brilliant support they offer to so many Australian writers.

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!

Too Late to Leave

koala

Everyone’s new favourite app
showed red flames across the map
bushfire closed in like a trap—
it was too late to leave.

Blackened paws and toasted fur
burnt poles where the gum leaves were
smoke-smudged skies an ashen blur . . .
it was too late to leave.

Blood-red skies on New Year’s Eve.
Politicians disbelieve.
Together people can achieve
a world with air that’s safe to breathe.

To keep our skies both clear and blue
you know what people have to do:
get rid of dirty fossil fuels
protect the trees like precious jewels
conserve our water, tend the land
at last the people understand

it is a choice we all must make
to save and nurture, give not take
to mend the damage, gain reprieve
there’s no plan B—we cannot leave.

Julie Thorndyke

Prayer of the Birds

kookaburra

Soot and ash line path and sill
hope is low, but Christmas will
bring us blessings large and small—
we long for rain, to hear drops fall.

Sweet things, soft strings, voices limber
wrapped-up books and stars a shimmer
tinselled trees and eyes that glow . . .
love expands as children grow.

For these things we give our thanks
as fires rage round empty tanks.
Hear the prayer the wild birds call—
and send sweet rain, best gift of all.

Julie Thorndyke

picture source

 

Mountain Secrets

So wonderful to participate in the Ginninderra Press launch of their new anthology Mountain Secrets at Blackheath.

My poem “How to Move Meehni” is just one of the many poems themed around that most mysterious of landforms, mountains.

Brenda

After a long association, I was able to meet publisher Stephen Matthews and editor Brenda Eldridge (Matthews) in person.

Meeting my publisher Stephen

Thank you so much to both these wonderful people who keep local literature alive in Australia today.

reading “How to Move Meenhi”

Haiku Stars

garden 2
Japanese Garden
Campbelltown Arts Centre
haiku workshop poem

This November it was a pleasure to share the essence of haiku with a group of local children experiencing the Japanese garden at b Campbelltown Arts Centre.

in the tea house
In the tea house

We thought about the sights, sounds, textures, smells and tastes of the garden experience after their ginko.

Using some ancient and modern examples, the children then wrote original poems. We wrote the poems inside origami stars to create a haiku “surprise”.

It was great to experience haiku in the ambience of the Japanese garden.

haiku workshop poem2

Thank you to West Words for the opportunity of sharing haiku!