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 …

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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.

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Haibun: Making Lemonade

Her eyes filled with mist when she spoke about Zeeland. I was too young to understand her stories. 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

I am delighted that 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 colleagues for putting this 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

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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.

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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.

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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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