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Emotions in Eruption

A poetic journey through life



Copyright © 2017 Barbara Strickland Updated 2018

Barbara Strickland asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

All rights reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

The names, characters and events portrayed in this publication other than those clearly in the public domain, are fictitious and the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

Extract from Unexpected Obsession Copyright © 2017 Barbara Strickland (2016)

Introduction to Unexpected Passion Copyright © 2017 Barbara Strickland

An extract from Emotions in Evolution Copyright © 2018 Barbara Strickland

Author’s note: This book was written in Australia and uses British/Australian spelling conventions such as ‘colour’ instead of ‘color’, and ‘ise’ endings instead of ‘ize’ on words like ‘realize’. Some words will also have double ll in its spelling e.g. travel will become travelling.

Images by Kathy Johnson

Cover design and illustration by Christopher Brunton


To Rose and Vince (my parents),

I wish I had your poems to translate Rose, but reading your writing was impossible. Your scribbling, Vince, was constant, and so is mine. My love for education came from you. Share this with me, it’s the best I can do.

To my dearest friend Gail.

I carry the memory of your courage. You are now with someone who will love you and keep you, safe forever.  I will miss you always.

Thank you for being my friend,


(Don’t worry, we will make it to Norfolk Island, give me a little more time)


To Sean and Kathy,

Thank you for your help on this project. You have both been incredible. Whatever I have asked, you have done. Your time will come. I know it.




Easy Listening

On Thinking Too Much

Lost Art of Friendship

Decision Making

The Buds


Nobody Is Perfect (I love you)


Butterfly Child

Binary Opposition


Distractions of the Heart

Lucid Tranquillity

The Cabbage Patch Doll


Forgotten Magic

Spring Blossoms

Choosing Blindness




The Stubborn Heart

Romantic Fantasy

Don’t Shut the Door

The Dreamer Never Dies


A Simply Stunning Slaughter

The Extension

Soul-Kissed (Nico’s Lament)



Monsoonal Madness


Night and Day

Anorexic Purging

Impossible Lover (Nico’s Ode to Lia)


Depressed – To Be or Not To Be

Addictive Patterns

Self Harm

Sad Movies Make Me Cry

This Last Episode

The Waiting Game

Desert Living

Broken Promises






Oops, I Messed Up Again

I Am Not in Love




Change of Life

Missing the Boat

Midnight Deception


Seasons in Turmoil


At the End


People are like fine wine

The Adventurer

The Pacifist

The Sensualist

The Pleasure Seeker

The Thinker

The Conversationalist


Memories from a Japanese Trip

From the author

Books/About the Author

Unexpected Obsession (an extract)

Unexpected Passion (a brief introduction and extract)

Emotions in Evolution


Putting pen to paper, or rather fingers to a keyboard can be quite confronting. Automatically there is a suggestion that the words matter. They do. Your words should matter. Words lend strength and give voice. Silence holds us back.

I wrote this because in times of crisis I give myself a voice. At times that voice may seem exaggerated, emotional, a little bizarre, or left field but it is real. It exists. I cope by putting and yes at times over putting (over sharing perhaps) things down on paper. I have been lost, lonely and unhappy. I have been delighted, dazzled and elated. It is the nature of the world and its people to feel emotions, both good and bad.

However, when the feelings are not pleasant the tendency is to hide, to believe we are alone and foolish in our thoughts and reactions. For me sharing in the form of writing, any kind, helps me find perspective. We are supposed to hide the negative and thus feel guilty because in sharing we believe we burden. I disagree. By speaking we face our fears, and if we are fortunate, we find understanding. In speaking up we are seeking a solution. We burden when we hide. That battle fatigues our soul.

Sometimes the instinct to survive is shrouded in semantics, both for speaker and the hearer of the language for though love is supposed to be unconditional, the reality of life intrudes. The expectancy is to be strong, to be positive and to perform accordingly. In theory it sounds good and I wish it was possible to obliterate negative thoughts and actions. It’s not. It is the contrariness of human beings.

The price is a fragile butterfly that emerges and doesn’t know how to fit into the limitations on offer. Without a leaf of light on which to rest the butterfly will falter and the delicate flavour of finely spun wings will dissipate into the breeze and be gone. We need to be exactly who we are, and not someone others believe we should be, or we risk becoming a creature folding its wings and becoming an unseen whisper.

But, words can bring us freedom from pain, and unfold the wings to fly again another day. I would have perished without my ability to express my thoughts. I don’t need any one to approve them or to like how they appear on the page, but my hope is one word resonates and then someone out there knows they are not alone.

Barbara Strickland

Don’t hurt the butterfly, it will die soon enough


Do you see only what you think is there?

Easy Listening

I remember when it was all laid out

what role to take.

You want to shout

it was simple.

Waiting to be told

what clothes, what food, when, where

because otherwise was bold.

It was simple.

Directed how to achieve

grasping for prizes was controlled

but easy if you wanted to believe –

it was simple.

Life demands choices,

cryptic variants of

different paths and loud voices

searching for what is simple.

Longing deep for normality,

the memories seem safe.

Age brings a strange formality

asking was simple ever there?

On Thinking Too Much

How to make it stop

so that it recedes, disappears,

this constant turning of thoughts

that haunt me, even in

those precious moments

when joy, exists?

I did not want to feel.

I was right. But, the

need to take a chance

was stronger than

I expected and so I entered

that frightening world.

No peace there because

I was right.

And now pain pierces painfully.

I am scarred, bruised and

lonely when before I was

just alone.

I was wrong to believe in

fairy tales, and white horses, and

handsome heroes.

Now with cold certainty

I must learn to forget

how to read.

Lost Art of Friendship

Ethereal magic.


A butterfly kiss,

so light, that

even to breathe

becomes a dare.

Warmth, spreading and

touching my often cold,

and always bleeding heart.


so that at the fall

of darkness there is

an abundance of light

to relinquish the ever

present pain beyond

my elusive control.

Are you real?

Are you a dream sequence?

Is that your

voice, or my mind?

Whatever, whoever,

you are the living

proof of the meeting

of souls.

You are my friend

when I take the time

to see you.

Decision Making

I don’t want to.


I feel the urge to

rant and rave.

I know I have to.


I feel the urge to

quietly cave.

I’ve been dealt a card.

It’s far too hard.

I close my eyes

and hope

I wake up wise.

I have seen the

echoed smile reflected,

in a happiness file.

I carefully remove

all the shiny blades,

sighing as the

anger fades.

The Buds

Rustling winds call my name

and awaken me to play the game.

I slowly dress

and to myself confess

though the rules seem less,

nothing seems the same.

Whirling wheels of distant blame

reluctantly decide to claim

the fading lights

of long-lost flights,

and unwanted plights

leading back to covert shame.

To the recesses of yesterday

I banish all dead flowers.

Let them rest where they may

and allow new buds their untried powers.

Human Contact

Pieces on boards are moved by humans.

Nobody is Perfect (I love you)

Often, I wonder why

you have the power

to make cry.

The sudden silence of my heart


knows, all

you do is simply thoughtless.

Sometimes fine,

sometimes cold

and cruel

so that an oozing occurs.

There is bleeding as

the sharp knife, you plunge.

The deep and sudden penetration

is bitter and I find it

hard to remember that

I wanted and needed you.

Never did I dream

that this kind of love could

be a torment.

In growing up

the distance must have shifted.

Whereas before your childhood needs

tore at my core,

I find now you rip me

into shreds,

and I have not the energy

to repair the threads.

Yet I am amazed at what you can do.

That glimpsed rich smile

directed my way,

has so much power

to make me say,

it does not matter those things

I filed,

for after all you are

and always will be

my beloved born child.


A small vibration builds

slowly, piercingly pinching

and penetrating like a summer insect

that at dusk must come out

to show the night as an

imperfect medium


with bitingly bitter stinging sensations

to the sweetness of the sun filled days.

A constant running of close

together eruptions, erosions

and errors of nature which

display a natural process as an

imperfect medium


the truisms handed down since the

beginning of time and human evolution.

A final cutting edge of sans pity

statements screaming sinfully silent

and showing only at the

almost merciless end

that the imperfect medium is

in contrast to

what you imagined

a long yearned for

and deeply desired creation.

Butterfly Child (Lia’s song)

Because of you

I feel the lightest touch of soft satin wings.

I see the rainbow in all things.

If I could contain you upon my hand,

you would be as delicate as grains of sand.

Finely formed, reflecting the glimmer of summer shine,

sweet of temper and pure of soul,

such a strong straight line.

You are the best of me.

You are the gift only of

the Butterfly that I am and so

you are the softness of my wings, and

the rainbow colours that I wear I

bequeath to you because in

you they flourish.


so, I think it only fair to for you to know

when I am long gone from you and

you see a butterfly passing by,


it will be me that you do not see

and it will be me reminding you, that

every day in every way

I loved you more

than I knew to say.

Binary Opposition

We were a union made to explore.

One heartbeat,

strong and sure.

A physicality to be admired,

a truth of mind and core.

One of us dissipated,

melted, dissolved but essence

remained to taunt that one of us

left alone to

inhabit that secret place.

Made to stay there,

alone, afraid

and in the dark,

ignored, and deplored I

hoped to escape your mark.

Shuddering, I accepted you were

ingrained. You colour my blood.

You are the language that explains me

and you have the right not

to be starved by my frightened soul.

Come, take your light.

Join me now

for we are meant to be

and this time I will allow

your Growth, and I will

not call your goodness weak.

And I will

not be afraid to love

completely, unconditionally

with all that I am

for I am tired

and can no longer

play the game

on this broken stage

by myself.


Chance meeting.

Pleasant, nice,

but safety rules.

Pieces are moved forward.

Silent pawns stand unafraid.

This is only an interlude.

Sudden tension.

Fearful, unbearable.

The Queen is in check.

She remains unthreatened

but knows the game has changed.

There is need for reflection.

The King glides forward,

demanding, powerfully intent.

The Queen is aloof.

Uncertainty brings sacrifices


the board is now alien.

The precipice is jagged.

She alone must decide.

She alone moves forward.

Danger pervades but

the prize is golden, attainable


worth the risk.

This is more than an interlude.

The King senses capitulation.

The King moves.

The King purposefully turns.

The King is not ready for veracity.

He moves away callously.

The Queen dies.

Distractions of the Heart

Abandonment of all those dreams,

concentration instead on schemes.

Forget the longing and heart-felt yearning,

the future beckons and the wheels are turning.

But I whisper to the wind distracted,

maybe this time I will not be compacted.

Liar, Liar, inside your mind you shout,

this is not the end of the drought.

You are hoping,

you are moping,

you are not ready for another coping.

This time it will be different,

you are not swimming against the current.

You came to this with some insight.

You fought a brave and gallant fight.

But I whisper to the wind in sweet rapture,

will loving slowly, prevent the fracture?

Liar, Liar, inside your mind you shout.

Do not go there and forget to doubt.

You are running.

He is cunning.

You are not ready for another gunning.

What do I do then with this distraction?

Do I turn away from the attraction?

And so I do my whispering to the wind,

and hope with all my heart

this time, he will not rescind.

I am a fool to make this admission.

I cannot help myself, I want remission.

Lucid Tranquillity

I hear You.

But, those voices,

those escalating influences

call me and I falter.

Your echo is far better.

It triggers a spiritual spiral

towards a lucidity

so often escaping my notice.

To be calm,

to be tranquil shudders

me into splintered fragile

snowflakes of melting

emotional madness.

I know I am the creator.

I know my power but

still I am hostage to

silvered slides of

syntax makers, who want

their universal limitations

to rule supreme

over others, others

who do not understand

the glory of manifestation

and sadly, cowardly

bend to the collector.

I am left frozen,

the withered wraith

of a broken spirit

bereft of presence,

a diminished aura

of splattered, faded and

crumbling colours

never to blend.

I hear You.

I know what You say.

Be patience generous,

for I am

only now unfurling


my embryonic


The Cabbage Patch Doll

I saw it first as small

and sweet.

I saw it then get

on its feet.

Giant steps, giant words.

The doll-like creature

had an adult-like feature.

I cried and cried

and thought I’d died.

Giant steps, giant words,

until the human hands

back from foreign lands

opened up, to reveal,

what suddenly I could feel.

The cabbage patch now was full.

I let myself enjoy the pull.

Now I watch the dolls at play

and happily, keep the tears at bay.


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