Tanka for a Rainy Day

June2016 207.JPG

as for me, I am
content to live quietly—
as the rain
drips into small puddles
and glints in the sun

© Julie Thorndyke

first published in Yellow Moon 18 Summer 2005 p.13

Yellow Moon was a literary magazine 1997-2006 that helped many writers discover poetry, particularly short forms. I was fortunate to learn with and be encouraged by that community of poets under the leadership of Beverley George.

Recently in Ribbons and Gusts


Sotto Voce

white on white
a snow-bound cottage
framed by bare trees
those elusive shadows hold
echoes of you and me

for the darker moments
when sunrise
is too far distant
for comfort

bold red to hold
an abstract canvas
in the eye—
the tricks we learn
to survive this life

a swirl
of ocean blue—
in the midst
of our turbulence,
the red flag of desire

colour and line
define our world—
we capture
one moment, and seek
to unlock eternity

an arc of blue
cuts this corner of canvas—
always the detail,
the sotto voce
that enthralls me

© Julie Thorndyke

12 July, 2015, Muse Gallery Cafe

First published in Ribbons 11(3) Fall 2105 p.53

Sadly, Muse Gallery and Cafe have closed their doors for the time being.Let’s hope that it won’t be a permanent decision. I enjoyed viewing the work of our local artists, and appreciated the impetus they provided for this tanka sequence.

A luminous painting in the gallery also prompted this tanka, that appeared in Gusts 22 Fall/Winter 2015 p.8:


pale leaves
dripping with light
the gentleness
of our first touch,
your fingers on my neck

© Julie Thorndyke


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