Haibun: Fragrant Breeze

Assynt

an undulating single track road in Assynt with a dry stone wall and mountain views beyond

We’re taking our time travelling the single track with here and there a passing place, used by many as a place to pause. People pause to take a photograph of highland cattle, their long horns glistening in the sun. Or photographs of ewes with lambs in tow, a fresh dot of red paint between their shoulders.

I pause to look at Canisp and Suilven. Towering above the landscape in the way only mountains do, they speak to me in the way only mountains can. In a soft and familiar voice they urge me to stay a little longer.

fragrant breeze
gorse blooms between the rocks
that call us home

© Xenia Tran

Views of mountains Canisp and Suilven from the Stoer road with gorse in bloom

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/1250 s – ISO 160 and f/8 – 1/640 s – ISO 160.

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Haibun: I’ll Show You the Sea

a ewe takes her lamb to the beach for a stroll

Let me show you the turquoise sea, how deep and soft the sand can be. You’ll see the gulls glide on the wind and catch a fish. There will be people here on the nicer days. Some people are tall, some small. Some will bring a bucket and spade and build us a castle.

circle of life
a lamb follows his mother
at first light

© Xenia Tran

a lamb following her woolly mother on the beach
a lamb trotting behind his mother on the beach

Here in the Highlands sheep will often be free to roam from pasture to cliff, from cliff to beach and back again. At this time of year the ewes will show their lambs where to go.

You can see more images of the ewe leading her lamb back up the rocks towards their pasture in our post Exploring a New World

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/1250 s – ISO 100.

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Lai Nouveau: River Affric

view of the River Affric near Dog Falls, with moss growing on a branch in the shape of a deer's head and neck

history lives near
in waters this clear
old songs
when ravens nest here
pine martens and deer
belong
fresh bluebells appear
this time every year

wild salmon who steer
the gorges this sheer
are strong
in silence we hear
our hearts leap and cheer
along
in waters this clear
history lives near

© Xenia Tran

close up shot of a raven preening on a branch, partly obscured by smaller branches
a river tumbling over boulders and rock with small waterfalls

Grace at dVerse Poets invites us to write a Lai or a Lai Nouveau and I have opted for the Lai Nouveau at my first attempt.

A Lai is a French poetry form consisting of a five-syllable couplet followed by a two-syllable line. The number of lines in each stanza is fixed at nine and the couplets must rhyme with each other, as must the two-syllable lines. The number of stanzas is not fixed and each stanza has its own rhyme pattern. The stanza’s rhyme pattern is: a a b a a b a a b.

A Lai Nouveau is considered to be slightly more challenging than the Lai. It has an eight-line stanza and is similar in idea to the Villanelle. In the Lai Nouveau the first two lines are the refrain and are used as the last lines of the subsequent verses with the last verse including the refrain lines in reverse order. The stanza rhyme patterns are: A1 A2 b a a b a a and a a b a a b A2 A1.

You can read my second contribution Seashore Anew on our sister blog Whippet Wisdom.

The Lai and Lai Nouveau prompt stays open for another three weeks.

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr

Settings: f/4 – 1/200 s – ISO 160, f/6.5 – 1/160 s – ISO 200 and f/5.6 – 1/500 s – ISO 200.

dVerse Poets Poetry Form: Lai and Lai Nouveau

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Villanelle: Worth Waiting For

a male swan tidying the nest with trees in the background

here by the river, our world seems beautiful
a swan in spring feathers tidies the nest
it’s time for growth, birth and renewal

a male swan shuffles away from the nest with trees in the background

big webbed feet are beginning to shuffle
the swan feels happy the nest looks its best
here by the river, our world seems beautiful

a male swan shuffles down a grassy crest, looking at the ground and ahead

with a breeze from the east, still fairly cool
the swan walks through grass, feet pointing west
it’s time for growth, birth and renewal

a male swan shuffles down a grassy crest, looking at the ground and ahead

his neck stretched out, feathers unruffled
reflected in water, the swan knows his quest
here by the river, our world seems beautiful

a male swan approaching the edge of the riverbank and looking at the water below

moments like these feel deeply spiritual
he lands in the river assured, on his chest
it’s time for growth, birth and renewal

a male swan landing in the water, chest first, from a grassy island

loving, devoted and dutiful
the swan and his mate are equally blessed
here by the river, our world seems beautiful
as time brings us growth, birth and renewal

a male swan swimming in the river past a grassy island

This is my third contribution to the Villanelle prompt at dVerse Poets. You can read A Voice that Knows and Where Seasons Meet on our sister blog Whippet Wisdom.

A Villanelle is a French verse form consisting of five three-line stanzas and a final quatrain, with the first and third lines of the first stanza repeating alternately in the following stanzas. These two refrain lines form the final couplet in the quatrain (the Poetry Foundation)

Below is the complete version of the villanelle:

here by the river, our world seems beautiful
a swan in spring feathers tidies the nest
it’s time for growth, birth and renewal

big webbed feet are beginning to shuffle
the swan feels happy the nest looks its best
here by the river, our world seems beautiful

with a breeze from the east, still fairly cool
the swan walks through grass, feet pointing west
it’s time for growth, birth and renewal

his neck stretched out, feathers unruffled
reflected in water, the swan knows his quest
here by the river, our world seems beautiful

moments like these feel deeply spiritual
he lands in the river assured, on his chest
it’s time for growth, birth and renewal

loving, devoted and dutiful
the swan and his mate are equally blessed
here by the river, our world seems beautiful
as time brings us growth, birth and renewal

© Xenia Tran

The prompt at dVerse remains open if you want to participate and there are now more than seventy contributions for you to enjoy.

Wishing you all a very happy Monday and a wonderful new week,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/5.6 – 1/500 s – ISO 200, f/5.6 – 1/640 s – ISO 200, f/5.6 – 1/800 s – ISO 200 and f/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 200.

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Fishertown Rubaiyat

view through a snow covered lane in the Fishertown

The smaller lanes still pure with snow
where lanterns cast their final glow
the moon will blink before she sleeps
the blue sky’s here to steal her show.

The gritter weaves through narrow streets
winter’s flown here now and greets
the wood smoke curling into day
through chimney pots, their smell so sweet.

The fisher folk who used to stay
in homes along the coast and bay
would know how strong the wind can blow
the way life changes, when we play.

© Xenia Tran

view through a narrow snow covered street in the Fishertown
view down a snow covered street in the Fishertows at day break

Frank at dVerse Poets invites us to write a Rubaiyat with a Winter theme and I’ve created an interlocking Rubaiyat following the aaba, bbcb, ccac format.

You can find an example of a ruba’i (a classical Persian quatrain with 13-syllable lines) in One More Glance on our sister blog.

Wishing you all a very happy Friday and a wonderful weekend,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5 – 1/20 s – ISO 1250, f/4 – 1/40 s – ISO 640 and f/5.6 – 1/100 s – ISO 640.

dVerse Poets: Poetry Forms – The Rubaiyat

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Haibun: Snapdragon Moon

macro shot of a raindrop hanging from pink and yellow snapdragon

The early morning drizzle is full of promise. Scorched fields of grass and droopy gardens sigh with relief when the promise turns to rain. After a heatwave and hose-ban to preserve diminishing pools of water flowers raise their heads in gratitude, singing full of colour.

snapdragon
from the edge of satin
her own moon

© Xenia Tran

macro shot of a raindrop hanging from pink and yellow snapdragon

It is such a treat to have some rain again.

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4, 1/1000 s, ISO 100 and f/4, 1/640 s, ISO 100 with DMW-LC55 lens.

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Haibun: Life’s New Garden

pair of swans with cygnets in tow and on the pen's back

The criss-cross waves of high water tell us the tide is turning. Returning to the mouth of the river, the cygnets carry a glimpse of the sea. The pen is doing what she has always done. Prepare her young for the wider world, showing them where and when to feed. Her cob swims quietly by her side, creating an easy slipstream for cygnets who swim behind them. When the current becomes too strong they climb on their mother’s back.

We stand and watch them glide by and thank them for our own glimpse into another world.  I am enchanted by their deep communication and understanding.  Everything is done in total silence. Neither the cygnets nor their parents make a single sound. All I can hear is our smile.

all by themselves
lilies of the valley bloom
in nature’s garden

© Xenia Tran

pair of swans with cygnets in tow and on the pen's back
a pair of swans in the river with five cygnets on the pen's back

We wish you all a very happy Monday and a wonderful new week!

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

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