Tanka: Meadowsweet and Thistle

a swan family preening and relaxing in a moat

shaded meadow
a range of flowers
surrounds our nest
the lockdown gives us time
to see each other clearly

© Xenia Tran

a smiling crow looking at the camera

Meadowsweet and Thistle was first published in Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2020: Volume 16, Number 2. A very big thank you to Christine L Villa and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Wishing you all a blessed Wednesday and a wonderful rest of the week,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5 – 1/200 s – ISO 125, f/5.6 – 1/320 s – ISO 200 and f/6.5 – 1/250 s – ISO 100.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #148: Summer Meadow

Your Daily Word Prompt: Connote

Word of the Day Challenge: Grace

dVerse Poets: Open Link Night #270

A further selection of recent publications in online and print journals can be found here:

Tanka Prose: The Pier at Findochty

One of the pastimes my husband and I enjoy during this lockdown is going through old photographs of places we visited.

On a beautiful day in December 2019 we drove to the small fishing village of Findochty on the Moray Coast. We chatted with some friendly local people, walked around with our dogs and took a few photographs. It was the first time we had come here in Winter and we loved the beauty of the light in the cold air. I wrote a few poems while we were there, including this one.

white sculpture of a seated fisherman overlooking Findochty harbour

Most of the sailing boats are on the quayside, masts folded. Fresh paintwork glitters in the morning sun. There is still the odd ice patch, in the shadows of the harbour. A small dog slips as he scampers up the brae.

watching over us
a seated fisherman
full of stories
my eyes begin to wander
past the lighthouse, out to sea

© Xenia Tran

the piers at the harbour mouth of Findochty

The Pier at Findochty was first published in Ribbons, Winter 2020: Volume 16, Number 1. A very big thank you to Susan Weaver and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Wishing you all a blessed Sunday and a peaceful week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/4 – 1/640 s – ISO 160, f/4.5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 200 and f/5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #97: Pastimes

dVerse Poets MTN: 5-Line Japanese Poetic Forms

A further selection of recent publications in online and print journals can be found here:

Tanka Prose: Now I Can See

lensball among green leaves, reflecting a colourful mandala

I am writing while we’re in lockdown. Panic buyers empty the shops, leaving less for all of us. Still I feel calm. We’ve been able to eat the food nobody wanted. We’ve adapted recipes, combining flavours like never before. We’re making everything last, stretch our resources. And I feel calm. I have never been afraid of dying.

the crow so wise
sees the centre of the surf
in rainbows
I’ve never felt more at peace
preparing to go home

© Xenia Tran

a crow striding across wet tidal sands towards the surf

Please be assured that I am feeling well. I have always regarded this journey through life as exactly that, a journey. I also believe there will be other journeys after this. I am treasuring my experiences and sharing what I see.

Wishing you all a peaceful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/5.6 – 1/400 – ISO 100 and f/2.8 – 1/200 s – ISO 100.

dVerse Poetics: Now I Can See …

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Scry

Tracy’s Corvid 2020 Challenge #1

Jez Braithwaite’s Lensball Playtime #6

Haibun: Treasures in a Bucket

macro shot of sleet falling in a bucket of water

While I am feeding the birds sleet begins to fall and the wind picks up. The sleet is heavy and slightly slanted, creating wonderful patterns in the water in one of the buckets I use to catch the rain.

fleeting snow
the Buddha and angels show us
they’re always here

© Xenia Tran

macro shot of sleet and raindrops hitting the water in a bucket

Brian at the Rag Tag Daily Prompt invites us to share examples of Pareidolia.

Pareidolia is the perception of an object, a pattern or meaning seen by the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds or seeing faces in inanimate objects or assigning human characteristics to objects.

Tina at Lens-Artists is looking for treasures (with a bonus point if you include a bucket) and Merril at dVerse Poets is inviting us to write about impermanence.

Wishing you all a magical Thursday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.5 – 1/13 s – ISO 200 and f/3.5 – 1/10 s – ISO 200.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #85: Treasure Hunt

dVerse Poetics: Impermanence

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Pareidolia

Haibun: Making Lemonade

Her eyes filled with mist when she spoke about Zeeland. I was too young to understand her story. The feeling in my heart when we made lemonade was real and true. She let me add a little sugar to warm water, while continuing to stir with her spoon.

Zierikzee
the ring with the moonstone
still fits

© Xenia Tran

This haibun was inspired by a moment from my childhood when I visited my great-grandmother in Rustoord, the retirement home where she spent her final years. Zierikzee is a town in the province of Zeeland in The Netherlands.

The above poem is an interpretation in English of my haibun Rustoord, originally written in Dutch:

Rustoord

Haar ogen liepen vol met mist, als ze het over Zeeland had. Ik was te jong om haar geschiedenis te begrijpen. Het gevoel in mijn hart, als we samen citroenlimonade maakten, begreep ik wel. Ik mocht schepjes suiker aan het warme water toevoegen terwijl zij met een lepel bleef roeren.

Zierikzee
het ringetje met de maansteen
past nog steeds

© Xenia Tran

Rustoord was first published in Vuursteen, Tijdschrift voor haiku, senryu en tanka, Winter 2019, the quarterly journal of Haiku Kring Nederland. A very big thank you to Marian Poyck and the team for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

The header photograph is the only photograph I have that features my great-grandmother. It was taken in 1941 by my late grandfather and features my late great-grandmother, my late grandmother and my father in his pram.

Wishing you all a blessed Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Retrospective

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Realm

dVerse Poets: Open Link Night #257

A further selection of recent publications in online and print journals can be found here:

Haibun: A Day for Peace

macro shot of a white feather

In the city of seven rivers, doves are released into the sky as a symbol for peace. We remember how more than one hundred and forty thousand people lost their lives. Every year on 6th August, we remember.

The main river that feeds the others springs from the Chugoku mountains. The water is crystal clear and full of nutrients. There are crabs on the mud flats at low tide, cormorants fishing. In the middle of one of the rivers sits an island where herons nest. A survivor tells us, he loves to come here and watch the birds, fill his heart with hope for the future.

from the sky
on Hiroshima Day
a white feather

© Xenia Tran

macro shot of a white feather

Wishing you all a peaceful day and our thoughts are with our friends in Hiroshima.

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.5 – 1/250 s – ISO 100, f/3.5 – 1/125 s – ISO 100 and f/3.5 – 1/160 s – ISO 100.

dVerse Poets Haibun Monday: Hiroshima Day 2019 – A Reflection on Peace

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Overhead

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Intent

Haibun: Moving Earth

Knockan Crag Nature Reserve

Top half of the Puzzle Wall at Knockan Crag, Sutherland

The Puzzle Wall at Knockan Crag shows traces of tropical marine creatures in the bottom layers below a layer of lime-rich mud. Above rests an even older layer, nearly half a billion years old. Scotland was part of the same continent as North America back then. The closing of a huge ocean led to a collision of two continents and the force of this collision thrust up these older rocks to make them top of the pile. This at least, is the theory. Touching part of the puzzle with my hands brings up a tingling sensation.

layer upon layer
how the earth moves
truth’s her art

© Xenia Tran

the trail at Knockan Crag with history depicted on painted stones

The clouds bring light relief from the blazing Summer sun. Along the trail we’re invited to take one hundred million year steps and follow Scotland as it drifts across the planet. Six hundred million years ago, Scotland is near the South Pole. Five hundred million years ago, Scotland is part of North America. Three hundred million years ago, Scotland is near the equator. We’ve seen the evidence of this in the beautiful rocks at Cove Bay, the sandstone reminding us the area was once a hot and arid desert.

rolling ball
a sculpture on the hill
mirrors our world

© Xenia Tran

a close up shot of the Globe sculpture at Knockan Crag

Moss is growing between the slate on Joe Smith’s beautiful Globe. Ferns and heather release delicate scents in the breeze. The lochs are glittering below when we look back and see how far we’ve already traveled on this journey. Before we leave, my hand hovers above the Pipe Rock in the Puzzle and its gentle pulse. It makes me wonder what landscape we’ve come from, what landscape we’ll return to.

one by one
stags run down the mountain
into cooler seas

© Xenia Tran

view west from Knockan Crag with the Globe sculpture in the foreground

You can see more photographs and another haibun from Knockan Crag in Deep Time on our sister blog Whippet Wisdom.

Wishing you all a beautiful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Sculpture

Twiglet #136: Truth is Art

dVerse Poetics: Movement

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.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #49: Favorite Things

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Road

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge: Fragrant Breeze

dVerse Poets: Open Link Night #246

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.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #48: Wild

Cee’s Fun Foto Challange: Smiles

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Line

dVerse Poets Haibun Monday: Lost and Found – Nature’s Magic

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

Your Daily Word Prompt: Negotiation