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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 4, December 2018
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Mark Forrester's "The Waning," A Commentary by Kevin Nusser

There are many subtle ways to become small, aging is one of them, both physically as well as mentally. The numbers of our peers also become smaller as you age due to death. Just by Mark's title, I pick up that hint of getting smaller. "My mother" is the opening start after the title, and the role of a mother also decreases with age. Here Mark uses the idea her roles being diluted by becoming a great-grandmother and her being comfortable with the decreased role of mother as she takes on the role of great-grandmother. The second line is about a son becoming a grandfather and it is this secondary role for her son that makes her feel old. It is these secondary things we notice that age us. The new technologies, the new celebrities and the new dances. Things not of us that age us because things within us change so slowly.

For me, like everyone else, some changes are slow, like my daughter turning old enough that I can buy her a drink, while other changes are fast, my last divorce coincided with losing my father to cancer. It is the waxing with youth and the waning of age we notice.

And the haiku restates this nicely. The tree's shadow is shaken loose by the wind. It is a direct image of a broken branch no longer having a shadow as it once did, or maybe just the movement of the branch breaks the shadow. Or maybe just that the shadow, the son, is moved by an outside force.

Together the prose and the haiku make a short concise statement about aging without talking about it directly. The waning is subtle, we can see it in the moon on clear night skies, if we take the time to notice.


Mark Forrester

The Waning

My mother says that the idea of becoming a great-grandmother does not trouble her. It’s the idea of her son becoming a grandfather that makes her feel old.

a tree’s shadow
shaken loose
by the wind

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