Tanka Prose: The Field of Everything

the cairn at Culloden Battlefield with fresh wreaths and flowers

The first gorse is in bloom and its warm scent of coconut and vanilla greets us as we follow the path across the moor. The rookery at Leanach Cottage is full of rooks and hooded crows. I wonder about the music the men who rest would have danced to and all their loved ones, who wanted to keep them safe.

ancient battleground –
the place where men fell
brimming with life
pilgrims and progeny
hear a skylark sing

© Xenia Tran

a path meandering through shrubs, moorland and trees with a blue flag on the right

This is another poem from a series I wrote at Culloden Battlefield during my visits in February and April. You can read two earlier poems here and here.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Your Daily Word Prompt: Elude

Kindness Glitters, poetry by Xenia Tran at Spillwords.com

Spillwords.com presents: Kindness Glitters, poetry by Xenia Tran, artist & photographer who lives and works in the Scottish Highlands.

Source: Kindness Glitters, poetry by Xenia Tran at Spillwords.com

I am deeply honoured and delighted that my poem Kindness Glitters was published on Spillwords earlier today.

A warm-hearted thank you to Dagmara K and the Spillwords team for selecting and featuring my poem here.

Wishing you all a happy Saturday and a wonderful weekend,

with love from Xenia xxx

Haiku: Here – the Silenced

Mixed Clans headstones with flowers at Culloden Battlefield

here – the silenced
still speak
war graves

© Xenia Tran

The Asahi Shimbun, 29 April 2022

close up of wreaths laid at Culloden Cairn on the 276th anniversary of the battle

Some of the wreaths and flowers from the 276th anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, which took place on 16 April 1746.

Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #197: Rule of Thirds

Haiku: For Ancestors and Progeny

Culloden Battlefield

a wooden memorial bench at Culloden with Gaelic inscription

Culloden Moor –
the grass beside the bench
a paler green

© Xenia Tran

The Asahi Shimbun, 15 April 2022

plaque on memorial bench at Culloden

Wishing you a blessed Sunday, and to all of you who celebrate, a blessed Easter too.

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Observance

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Short

Haiku: Peace Candle

second-hand bookstore
a blue and yellow candle
lit in the corner

© Xenia Tran

Haiku Dialogue, The Haiku Foundation, 9 March 2022

a lit blue and yellow candle in a wooden bookcase

It is heart-breaking to see what is happening in the world today because of one man’s fear of open and honest conversation.

It is heart-warming to see how many of us are working together for peace and freedom at the same time.

Yesterday’s visit of friendship to Kyiv by the Prime Ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia and Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister hopefully marks another step on the road to peace.

When you look more closely at the actions taken by people in support of peace for Ukraine, they all come from a place of kindness and compassion. Each and every one of these actions make a statement and make a difference.

Last Monday I signed an Open Letter (organised by The Society of Authors) to the writers, illustrators and translators of Ukraine expressing our solidarity. When I looked at the signatures more closely, I noticed that the name above mine was almost the same as my late grandmother’s. She was nearly 101 years old and lived through two World Wars.

Had she been alive today, I’m sure she would have signed the Open Letter too.

Wishing for peace and freedom in Ukraine and wishing you all a blessed Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #190: Close and Closer

Word of the Day Challenge: Statement

Haiku: Cullen Skink

close up of organic leek and potatoes

Cullen skink and stovies
a lunch-time line forms
in the rain

© Xenia Tran

The Asahi Shimbun, 18 February 2022

close up of fish and potato soup served in bowl

Cullen Skink is a popular fish soup along the Moray coast, where it is served in many restaurants, cafés and takeaways. Seeing people wait in line outside a takeaway inspired the above haiku.

This traditional Scottish soup originated in Cullen, a town that has featured a few times on this blog, most recently in January’s post Seatown.

It is an easy dish to prepare yourself. Some people use onion, we prefer leek. Some people use mashed potato with cream, we prefer cubed potato, steamed in their skin.

Ingredients:

Organic leek, organic potato, smoked haddock, milk, parsley (or lovage).

Method:

Wash, peel and chop the leek, wash and cube the potatoes. Steam the potatoes for approximately 15 minutes, the leek for 10 minutes.

In a separate saucepan, poach the smoked haddock in semi-skimmed milk for five minutes. Remove the haddock with a strainer and transfer it onto a plate. When the fish is cool enough to touch, flake it into large pieces, removing any bones, and return it to the milk in the pan.

Add the steamed potato and leek to the milk and haddock and heat together for another five minutes. Serve and garnish with fresh parsley et voilà – you have a simple, wholesome dish for any occasion.

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Thank you Cee for honouring us with this post as a CMMC Featured Blogger!

CMMC Featured Blogger Ribbon

CMMC: Close-Up or Macro

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Wholesome

Word of the Day Challenge: Occasion

Haiku: Pink Dawn

sunrise over the river with pinks and blues reflected in the water

pink dawn
a swan family feeds
on the algae

© Xenia Tran

a pair of swans and their seven cygnets feeding from the exposed seaweed near the riverbank
a swan family feeding on algae at low tide on the river

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Aquatic

Weekend Sky #54

Haiku: Window Feeder

window feeder
a robin people-watches
while he eats

© Xenia Tran

a robin looking in from the window feeder

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Window

Your Daily Word Prompt: Amenable

Highlights of 2021 – Thank you for the Love

First of all we want to say a warm-hearted thank you to all of you who visited, commented, inspired and prompted us with photo and poetry challenges. It has been another extraordinary year with beauty and loss, where kindness and magic was still to be found when we were ready to see it.

As in previous years, I am delighted to share a gallery of the posts you liked the most, season by season.

Winter

The most popular posts this season were Sunlight on her Wings (a haiku later featured in EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2021), A Dash of Dazzle, Special Moments (featuring a tanka first published in Ribbons), Softly Softly, Happy Homecoming and Violet Ray.

Spring

Spring gave birth to many beautiful and creative initiatives where we could meet virtually and lift each other’s spirits.

In April 2021 Placing Poems invited poets to write about real or imagined journeys away from the stifling realities of the pandemic to create a poetic cartography of adventures for everyone to enjoy.

I am honoured and delighted that my poem Presence was selected for inclusion. You can find it on the map when you scroll north and click on the marker for the Cairngorms National Park. Presence was the most popular post in Spring and became the most popular post of the year.

Other popular posts in Spring were Natural Healing, Welcome to the World, Gold in the Shadows, Wonderful World (featuring haiku first published in the Asahi Shimbun, Autumn Moon Haiku Journal and Sharing Our Horizon) and Lily of the Valley.

Summer

Travel restrictions were lifted and tourists flooded into the Highlands. We decided to stay close to home to avoid the crowds and enjoy the magic of familiar places.

We also wanted to protect our area’s natural beauty for future generations and started the Tranature Grove with Trees for Life. The trees in our grove are carefully planted in protected sites in the Scottish Highlands where they will create homes for wildlife and forests for the future.

The most popular post in Summer was Caring for River Wildlife, featuring the calendar I contributed four photographs to in aid of our local wildlife trust. Other popular posts this season were Red Rose (featuring a tanka first published in Ribbons), The Changing Season, Dandelion Clock, Colours of the Setting Sun and A Postcard from the Country.

Autumn

Autumn started off warm and offered some glorious walking days where the colours were just beginning to change. A new calm had returned to the area and it was a joy to be out and about.

The most popular post in Autumn was Weathered Wood (featuring a haiku first published in Haiku Dialogue). Other popular posts were Garden Gold, A Serene View, Community Spirit, Stars on the River (featuring a haiku first published in The Bamboo Hut) and COP26 (featuring a haiku first published in the Asahi Shimbun).

Thank you for walking along with us here.

If you want to read more about our year, feel free to check out the 2021 highlights on our sister blog Whippet Wisdom.

We send you our warmest wishes for a healthy and happy 2022 – may your year be filled with joy, peace and wellbeing!

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #180: Favorite Images of 2021

Haiku: COP26

Cairngorms National Park

autumn in the Cairngorms with low cloud between the mountains

COP26…
small seeds are sown
to save the forests

© Xenia Tran

The Asahi Shimbun, 19 November 2021

We are deeply honoured and delighted that the above haiku has also been included in the World Haiku Series 2021, with a beautiful Japanese translation by Mr Hidenori Hiruta.

pine trees reflected in a lochan in autumn

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

CFFC: Reflections or Shadows