Haibun: Looking Up

a pair of mature herring gulls on a chimney against a blue sky

All along our coast we are blessed with friendly neighbours of the feathered kind. They pair for life, raise their chicks as a couple and community. There’s something special about the light in their eyes, traversing crystal sea or sky. The way they sit on chimney pots, watch over us, feels very reassuring.

looking up
spring equinox approaches
a spinning sun

© Xenia Tran

a mature seagull sitting on a chimney pot against a blue sky

Wishing you all a blessed Sunday and hope you are keeping safe and well,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/6.3 – 1/800 s – ISO 200, f/6.3 – 1/1000 s – ISO 200 and f/5.6 – 1/1250 s – ISO 200.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Point Your Camera Upwards

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #130: Spring Equinox

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Something

Your Daily Word Prompt: Traverse

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.

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:


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.

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: Christmas Lights

Christmas lights tied to lampposts in Findochty

The Festive lights along the coast are often understated. There is something honest and refreshing seeing them unlit against a blue sky. In this small fishing village, a handful of squares with cables and light bulbs are tied to the main street’s lampposts. One has a leaping dolphin, another a sailing boat. There’s an anchor and a ship’s wheel too. The locals joined hands to pay for it all.

all year round
a spirit of community
Christmas lights

© Xenia Tran

a Christmas light in the shape of a ship's wheel tied to a lamppost

We are taking a short blogging break until 29th December and wish all of you who celebrate a very Happy Christmas!

Seasons greetings with love
from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/500 s – ISO 200, f/5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160 and f/5.6 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #76: On Display

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #118: Christmas

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Seven Days Before Christmas (2): Light

Word of the Day Challenge: Guidance

Between Heather and Grass: #Poems and #Photographs Filled with Love, Hope and Whippets by Xenia Tran @WhippetHaiku

For those of you not familiar with Eivor and Pearl’s poetic adventures, Cathy Ryan shares a beautiful review of Between Heather and Grass on her blog today. Thank you so much for sharing this Cathy, we’re so happy you enjoy the book! xxx

Author: Xenia Tran

Published: November 2019 by Holistic Linguistics

Category: Creative Non Fiction, Poetry, Photography, Verse, Book Review


Welcome to Between Heather and Grass – Poems Filled with Love, Hope and Whippets, our beautiful, soulful sequel to Sharing Our Horizon and our second book for whippet lovers, dog lovers and lovers of nature. The book features poetry, breathtaking photographs of the Scottish Highlands, and our two adopted whippets Eivor and Pearl. The majority of the poems are haiku, haibun and tanka, written in rhythm with the seasons. The poems and photographs illuminate each other and are both calming and inspiring, inviting you to dip into this collection many times over.

Between Heather and Grass is Xenia Tran’s second book of verse, complete with photographs of the spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands and not forgetting her two gorgeous rescue whippets. The complementary poetry and photos capture the majesty of…

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Haibun: Autumn Equinox

a male swan and his cygnet in the pond

We’re enjoying an Indian Summer. Here and there some leaves are changing colour, a few float along the stream into the pond. The only cygnet that remains is showing his first white feathers. His parents have changed their plumage too. The sun travels lower through the sky, wrapping our world in warmest light.

one last wave
before the muddy roads
autumn equinox

© Xenia Tran

swan parents in new plumage on either side of their growing cygnet

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday and a happy September Equinox tomorrow.

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5 – 1/30 s – ISO 200, f/4 – 1/250 s – ISO 160 and f/4 – 1/400 s – ISO 200.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #105: September Equinox

Paula’s Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word in September (Yr 4) – Avian

Sunday Stills: Signs of Autumn

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


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