Ray Rasmussen

Writer’s commentary: Haibun is most often written as a short form that enjoys a close relationship with other short forms such as flash fiction, personal essays, memoirs, travel journals and prose poetry. It differentiates itself with an emphasis on the personal experiences of the writer (where characters and  events are not made up, albeit there is some embellishment), by its inclusion of haiku (or tanka poetry) and by its emphasis on the narrative storyline as opposed to poetic embellishment. The prose is often structured as haiku-like with shortened syntax and minimal joining words. The haiku or tanka enjoys a special relationship to the prose, serving as its own succinct statement about the feeling tone of the prose storyline, yet stepping out from the prose with different images, and some might say the poem can serve as a metaphor for the prose.


Bird’s Nest with Primrose by George Crisp

desert evening –
waiting for a primrose
to open

She recently mentioned that my writing is often about darkness – breakups, friends with infirmities, aging and deaths, chaotic world events.

A male friend suggested, “Why not write about how your life has changed since you started your relationship. After all, you’ve been together 6 months. You must have many positive things to say.”

I wanted to reply, There are too many clichéd songs and poems about romance and love. Instead, I wrote this and gave it to her with a bouquet of daisies – she who wore wildflowers in her hair.

Over the last 10 years since my divorce, I engaged in a series of relationships, all good women, nice times, but nothing pulled me toward a “just us” relationship – instead, we were “just friends.” I didn’t want to share a residence, didn’t want to be “a couple.” I thought I wanted independence, each to his/her own doings, together on occasion, sharing rich times, not joined “at the hip.”

So, yes, my relationship musings were mostly about disappointment, about not moving toward that ineffable “we.”

Throughout I felt a sadness that in this life, I’d never find what I think of as a “deep connection”… that I’d live mostly in my own dwelling, sleep mostly alone, feel mostly apart.

And then I met her, a gal on one of my hiking trips, sparky, spirited, cute and sexy, and somehow together trips happened more often. Somewhere along the way “her” and “me” became “we” and “us.”

Then one day I found myself saying to a friend, “I very much like this woman.”
He replied, “I can tell,” and he asked, “How do you feel about having found love at this time of your life?”
That surprised me – I’ve never liked the much abused “L-word.”

“Delighted,” I replied.

desert evening –
a hummingbird moth sips
from the perfumed primrose


About the writer:
Ray Rasmussen lives variously in Edmonton, Alberta and Halton Hills, Ontario Canada. He serves as general editor of Haibun Today and technical editor of Contemporary Haibun Online. His haibun, haiku and haiga (haiku plus artwork) compositions have appeared in numerous international journals and have been archived in several anthologies.

Image: Bird’s Nest with Primrose by George Crisp (1875-1916). Oil on canvas. No size specified. Circa 1894. Public domain.