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
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)


A Stir of the Pudding


A String of Christmas Memories by the Tanka Huddle  2017

granny and me
stirring dried fruits
and brandy . . .
one nip for gran
one for the pud
          Marilyn Humbert

at the mall
for photos with santa—
I yearn
for a star-filled night
and choirs of angels
          Jan Foster

it’s forty degrees
and mum’s had enough
crackers snap
around the table
          Carolyn Eldridge-Alfonzetti

meant rum and plum cake
childhood memory
of our annual trip
to Cochin bakery
          Rugmini Venkatraman

christmas eve
we toss and turn
quiet . . .
mum fills the stockings
we pretend to sleep
          Karen Lieversz

reindeer puppets
pranced on polystyrene snow
but the tug
on my heart-strings
was absolutely real
          Julie Thorndyke

green icing
on the christmas cake
and a frill
make all the difference—
mum comes home this year
          Laura Davis

sunshine and sleigh bells
holly and magpie song
carols under stars
the customs learned in childhood
swim united in my mind
          Beverley George

broken nails
and roughened hands
by the sweet balm
of a christmas-ready house
          Anne Benjamin

and six-penny pieces
stored all year
polished up in time for us
to polish up the pud
          Carmel Summers

[Copyright of each individual tanka remains with the poets.]

A Winter Ginko

winter huddle.jpg

It was a wabi-sabi sort of day last weekend, when I met with poetry friends for a garden ginko. We took some time to slow down, walk around a winter garden, and notice the textures of foliage, stone and wood.

Camellias, jonquils, and other rarer blooms we couldn’t name were there for the keen-eyed poet to discover.

In these moments of reflection, we may have also learnt something about ourselves.

stone tubs
that once held the weekly wash
now cradle spring bulbs
. . . each day I find
a new skill to master

© Julie Thorndyke

A Tanka Huddle Christmas


The colours and sounds of Christmas in Australia!

Twelve pages of original seasonal tanka poetry written as light-hearted group exercises in the lead-up to Christmas 2014 and 2015 by:

Anne Benjamin
Laura Davis
Beverley George
Yvonne Hales
Anne Howard
Marilyn Humbert
Carmel Summers
David Terelinck
Julie Thorndyke

now gathered in a chapbook for sharing with family and friends.

May be used as a Christmas card.

$8.00 per chapbook or pack of 4 for $20.00

For your copy, please contact me at

Ripples in the Sand


a slink of silk
a flicker of flame
dark windows
guard our secrets
on the orient express
                    Julie Thorndyke

not Manet’s
girl at the bar …
my reflection
absorbed in private follies
sips peppermint tea

                    Julie Thorndyke

Thank you Jenny Ward Angyal and Susan Constable for including these poems in the
TSA Members’ Anthology 2016  Ripples in the Sand. And what a lovely cover image by Carole MacRury!

Sydney Variations

June2016 162

a snail shell
of grey concrete
round and round
this underground car park
on our way to the theatre

ferries rock
over gleaming waters…
when I was a child
pointed iron posts
lined this green sea-wall

all colours and shapes—
our guessing game
who is local
who is sightseeing

peach savarin
with mascarpone
a last sip of wine—
these are compensations
for the grey hair we wear

brown curls
bounce above the cello
such a young frame
holding all that
polished mahogany

an oboe held
by a man, coy of smile,
neat of beard—
I’d like to share
a laugh with him

a handshake
with first violin—
the conductor’s fingers
dart and leap, a bird
making music from the air

hip-hop booms
along the lower concourse
this feeling
that ancient hordes
are at the gates of Rome

in a red rattler
my mother pointed out
the new opera house site—
all those years ago
when Sydney was ordinary

© Julie Thorndyke

The Last Day Before Snow


This evocative  photograph is the cover of a new collaborative tanka project                             by innovative tanka poet Carmel Summers.

The last day before snow is a ground-breaking anthology of responsive poetry.

One tanka…how many possibilities?