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!

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)