Stand over tactics and a haibun


Writers are strange creatures who take from the world around them and find the need to put it down in some sort of written form, and they do. Stranger still is the fact that often they will create something and find it suits situations they weren’t expecting. They go with an idea, finding the method that best suits to give life to that idea, a created life that may reflect something real and meaningful. Sometimes writers are successful, sometimes they are not. Sometimes they find they have created something they weren’t expecting.

In the last book of my poetry anthology Emotions in Existence I introduced the haibun, a Japanese form of prose I have fallen in love with because of its beautiful brevity. The haibun consists of a short passage accompanied by some form of short poetry – a haiku or a tanka, both, or even free verse. The rules these days appear less rigid, and except for the rare occasion, the haibun doesn’t have a title. The important thing is that the haibun is a wonderful way to highlight a point without the complications a longer narrative can demand in language and style.


I didn’t mean to write about bullies. It just happened. The mention of nature at the end surprised me but what surprised me more was the portrayal of the seasons as a form of nature’s bullying. It seems unfair and yet is it?

The seasons are forced on us, the changes beautiful but bringing problems, nevertheless. Nature doesn’t give us the choice. She makes the changes but for the most part she is fair about the differences the time of year present. Not lately though; her power is being undermined; she doesn’t like it. Her reaction is to flex her muscles with drought, with fire, with earthquakes. Hasn’t she always, you might ask? Perhaps, but I think there is a cruel edge to her anger these days, a human one. What do you think?

He was waiting at the second tree. To go home was out of the question, and to continue to the school bus, I had to follow that path and every day the dread would grip my heart, my limbs, and finally my soul until he stepped out from the shadows of the tall green betrayers. They were supposed to hide me, not him. I fought. I kicked and scratched but he had the power, the size and the brutality that comes from the greed to encompass, swallow power like a drink on a hot day. I often wondered why someone already so powerful would need more and at the expense of the smaller, the gentle and the meek. I wasn’t the only victim but at least I did try to fight back.

I did what I always did. I gave him the copy of the homework. I gave him my lunch and I gave him the small coins for that special treat at the school canteen, on Mondays. That part hurt the most. My family was in the grip of drought, nature’s cruel need to dominate. Those coins were from the heart.


green yields

to a dominant autumn

bruised petals concede


Emotions in Existence by [Strickland, Barbara]








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