Memories, and the ghosts who come to visit bringing a haibun

The beginning of this month has been one of mixed feelings. October is full of birthdays and it brings memories into play, memories of what was. The ghost, I call it of younger days intertwining with the present.

My one and only nephew is now well into his twenties. Both my older granddaughters have a birthday, the eldest on Halloween. My dear and close friend Patricia and I share a birthday, closely followed by my son now entering his forties. In fact, I very cleverly went into labour on my birthday and kindly gave him his own day to celebrate. My eldest daughter follows the first week in November. My father was there the day I went into labour with her and hovered hoping she would share his special day. She didn’t but the end result has been a lot of Scorpios in my family – and sometimes it’s meant a gathering of interesting personalities.

October is also the anniversary of my mother’s death or will be in a few days. A few months ago, I submitted a prose for a New Zealand journal (Kokako), and to my immense pleasure, it was accepted. This is the second time for me so my excitement is doubled. As some of you may know, I am totally enamoured with Japanese poetry but this particular piece was special for me because I wrote it for my mother.

The rules are we can’t post our work until it has been published. I had no problem with this as it coincided with  Mum’s birthday. Covid decided to make that difficult because it slowed things down. Instead, my copy of the journal arrived today in time for me to post it on the anniversary of her death. I thought it a sign and as a way to honour her. She deserves it. Japanese poetry is known for brevity, for capturing the essence of an emotion. As much as I hope you like my work, I hope wherever she is, she likes it more. Her name was Rose, and roses were her favourite flowers.

An ode to Rose


alien parts drift

on a black and white screen –

the first ultrasound

Arguments, as constant as our evening meal delivered in time to the evening news. My intent to forsake our traditions existed only in your mind. I just needed you to embrace a little of the new. I wanted the freedom to explore me and find where I belonged.

It’s late. I’m tired. When they were little, they kept me busy with their little cries and messy fingers. Now, they keep me awake with their social lives, and on my toes with their activities. That’s right. They think I need to get with it.

We wasted time, you and I arguing about differences and ignoring similarities. In the quiet of the morning, sitting at your gravestone…we finally find our middle ground.

home at last

I sigh and breathe her in –

A mother’s embrace

(Published in Kokako, Issue 35. Haiku, tanka, haibun and related forms from Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world September 2021

Edited by Patricia Prime and Margaret Beverland)

Newsletter or not

Most authors have a newsletter. I obviously do not. The truth is I love blogging and at this stage I am not willing to forgo the blog and I don’t have the time to run both. On one hand, I love being able to talk about different things as well featuring other authors and their books especially Indie Authors. They are becoming a force to be reckoned with and deserve recognition.

In particular, I love featuring some of the interesting places my fictional characters get to see and enjoy. This brings me to the other hand where I understand the need for the reader to know about our books. So as a result of some deep thinking on my part (occasionally I actually do manage it), I decided to add a news section to the bottom of my blog posts to keep readers informed. Let me know what you think of the idea.

Barbara’s News

Unexpected Passion, the second book in the series is itching to get out of its editorial prison but might need to be patient a little longer whilst I deal with so many other things demanding my time (see above for the birthday month).

I’m still working on having my re-edited version of Unexpected Obsession, Unexpected Love – Book 1 re-released. Just a matter of some technical features to fine tune so hopefully by the end of next week if not sooner it may happen. I can however show you the updated cover now.

Watched Hidden Figures once again. I have officially lost count of how many times I have seen it, but I love it. What absolutely amazing women.

I am also currently reading South of the Sun: Australian Fairy Tales for the 21st Century, a lovely anthology by a collection of extremely talented authors. So far I am loving all the stories and am enjoying the slower reading pace allowed by the short stories genre. More on this in my Chilling Corner this month.

Alla prossima or till we meet again,


Questions for me? Want to share your views and ideas? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and I will get back to you.

Follow or connect with me at:

Twitter          Facebook          Instagram

Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .


  1. Barbara, Congratulations on this poem’s publication. This poem is lyrically beautiful and poignant about families but, in particular the intricacies of mother/daughter relationships. Thank you for sharing this piece, I hope you continue to write and publish more poems that speak to us about love, families and motherhood. I can’t to read more poetry from you.

    • What lovely words. Thank you and I agree. We should write more about love and families, mothers, daughters, fathers and sons – about people and then we can understand each other so much better..

  2. Congratulations on your latest poem and it’s publishing. And Happy Birthday to you and yours (all of them) in October.

  3. Pingback: Tanka Talking, Cherita Cherishing – show don’t tell - Barbara Strickland - Author & Blogger

I would love you to leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.