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“Romance under a Waning Moon” refers to later-in-life affairs of the heart, both the ups and the downs, between mature adults, perhaps after being “singled” through divorce or the death of a spouse, or simply not having married or paired up at an early age, or having rekindled a romantic spark after being long-time partners.

Having been singled myself a decade ago, some of my writing naturally turned to my own experiences. I hadn't imagined that I'd once again be dating at this stage of life, or as a friend put it, that I'd be "sixty going on sixteen." While some of the writing is my own, I am pleased to include the work of many other writers who were willing to share their own romantic journeys through their poetry.

The written pieces and images are not in any particular order. After all, isn't dating and romance more or less like stepping onto a roller-coaster – highs and lows, fast and slow, ecstasy and despair – a ride where one never knows whether the clunky beast with its hapless occupants will fly off the rails?

~ Ray Rasmussen

Poetry Forms: Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, Haibun & Haiga

The poems on this website have their roots in the ancient Japanese traditions of haiku, senryu, tanka and haibun. In their contemporary English-language incarnation, haiku and senryu are typically presented in 3 lines and consist of two distinct phrases totaling 17 or fewer syllables. Tanka is typically a 5-line poem. Readers who wish to learn more about these forms can consult these websites:

Haiku Society of America: Definitions Page
Tanka Society of America: What is tanka?

Haibun has a long history in Japanese literature usually in the form of travel journals mixed with haiku poetry. Contemporary haibun is a mix of prose plus one or more haiku, senryu or tanka poems. The poems are used to add depth and feeling to the prose. The prose has a focus on the writer's personal experiences – events that stood out in the life of the writer. To learn more about haibun composition, visit the resources page of Haibun Today.

Haiga also comes from the ancient Japanese practice of combining a brushwork painting with poetry in calligaphic form. Contemporary haiga is practiced as a mix of any type of image accompanied by a haiku, senryu or tanka poem. Readers who wish to learn more about haiga might start with the Haigaonline website for definitions and examples of traditional, experimental and contemporary haiga.

The images and poems have been paired up in two ways: illustrative and oblique. An illustrative pairing means the subject of the image is obviously related to the content of the poem. If the poem references a meadow, for example, the image might show a meadow. When the pairing is oblique (not obviously illustrative) you may have to stretch your mind a bit to see the relationship – or perhaps your personal connection of image with poem won't be the intended one. Past US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, for one, would not have you worry too much about it. To learn why he thinks so, you may wish to read his "Introduction to Poetry."

Haiku, Senryu, Tanka, Haiga and Haibun Journals

If you enjoy this style of writing and image making, you might explore some of the online haiku-genre journals that offer a variety of writers and themes: A Hundred Gourds, Haigaonline, Contemporary Haibun Online, Haibun Today, Daily Haiga, Notes from the Gean, The Heron's Nest & Simply Haiku. At your local library you may also be able to find issues of the print journals Modern Haiku and Frogpond both of which contain examples online.

© 2012 by R. Rasmussen. All images and poems are the property of the photographer/artist and/or poet. No image or poem may be copied or used in any way without the written permission of the poet and/or photographer/artist.


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