Tanka Prose: Special Moments

faint green aurora just above the mountains across the water with a lighthouse and pier

As sleet mingles with snow, we find ourselves in a new national lockdown. To protect ourselves, to protect each other, we want to do the right thing. We stay at home once more, create our own rituals in the lull between storms.

lighting candles
on your beach and mine
we close our eyes
open them in unison
and feel the love arrive

© Xenia Tran

a faint green aurora over the hills under a star-lit sky

We had a faint aurora on Friday night, visible with the naked eye, and the hand-held taken photographs with a low shutter speed created an almost abstract effect.

The poem was written three months ago and we’re hoping to start easing out of lockdown in mid-April.

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/8 s – ISO 3200.

Special Moments was first published under the title Tier 4 in Ribbons, Winter 2021: Volume 17, 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.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #139: Special Moments

Weekend Sky #20

One Word Sunday: Light

Tanka: The Light Always Returns

snow-covered trees next to lit victorian street lights and parked cars

deep at night
the moon on snowy windows
sparkles, sparkles
the light always returns
your smile behind the lens

© Xenia Tran

dawn breaking in a snow-covered street with the street lights still lit

Wishing you all a wonderful new day,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/3.5 – 1/15 s – ISO 1600, f/5.6 – 1/20 s – ISO 1250 and f/5 – 1/25 s – ISO 800.

The Light Always Returns was first published in Ribbons, Winter 2020: Volume 16, Number 1. A very big thank you to Christine L Villa and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Tomorrow

Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word – Quintessential

Word of the Day Challenge: Generous

Looking Back at 2020: Thank you for the Love

The year began full of promise and we had a new pair of swans moving into the river before any of us had heard of Covid-19. Two days into Spring we went into lockdown and travel restrictions weren’t lifted until early July.

Many of us had to find new ways of working and being and I want to thank all of you who shine a light and are an inspiration to others.

The emphasis this year was on collaboration and I contributed forty-eight poems to a variety of journals, videos, anthologies and works of art.

My heartfelt gratitude for all our readers who read, comment and share our posts on social media. Below are the ones you liked best, together with some other highlights from each season.

redshank snoozing and sunning on tidal sands

We went into full lockdown on 23 March 2020 and focused on the beauty found in our local environment. In late Spring we revisited, virtually, a lovely fishing village we had travelled to the previous December in The Pier at Findochty. This was the most popular post in Spring and would become the most popular post of the year.

The other most popular posts in Spring were Lily of the Valley, Pink Flow, Lunaria Annua, Little Blue Flower and Yellow Curve.

Spring also saw haiku poets from around the world contribute to EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2020 in honour of the Year of the Nurse. I contributed six haiku to this collaboration, two of which were later anthologised.

macro shot of a bumble bee feeding on lavender, seen from behind

Travel restrictions were lifted at the beginning of July and the Highlands were crowded with tourists from other parts of the country. We waited for everything to settle and did more virtual travelling, this time to Belfast, in order to pay homage to one of the teachers who inspired me in A Moment of Inspiration.

The other five most popular posts in the Summer were Angel’s Share, Morning Glory, Earthlight, Sweet Inspiration and Summer Meadow.

Summer also saw me guest-host the Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge on the theme of Sanctuary.

two swans with three young cygnets on the river

In Autumn we entered a Tier system according to the number of Covid-19 infections and people from higher tiers were prevented from travelling to lower tiers. This resulted in a huge reduction of tourists and we could walk more safely throughout the Highlands, which was in Tier 1, without running into visitors from high Covid areas.

The most popular posts in Autumn were Truly Tranquil, Walking Wonderland, Starlings on the Roof, Highland Heather, Along the Loch Shore and Harvest Moon.

Autumn also saw the publication of The Helping Hand Haiku Anthology, edited by Robert Epstein, which includes three of my poems, Bundled Wildflowers, edited by Bryan Rickert, which includes one of my poems and the Dutch anthology Aan het Woord 2020, edited by Ferre Denis, Maria de Bie and Nol Hovens, which includes three of my poems. In addition, one new poem was featured in the Haiku-kantelkalender (Haiku Calendar) 2021, edited by Ferre Denis. Falling Petals received an honourable mention in the International Section of the 2020 Haiku Invitational at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and ten haiku were featured in the World Haiku Series with Japanese Translations by Mr Hidenori Hiruta.

a red squirrel on a wooden squirrel feeder in a pine tree

After a busy Autumn we stayed closer to home as Winter rolled in and the temperatures dropped. It became a time for Christmas socials via Zoom and catching up with friends at a safe social distance.

The most popular posts in Winter were Treasures, The Name of the Flower, Making Lemonade, All Souls’ Night, Lines at Dusk and When Winter Melts Away.

Winter also saw forty of my images published in Frameless Sky Issue 13 where I was the Featured Artist and the release of the beautiful anthology Dance Into the Light, edited by Michael Dylan Welch, featuring one of my poems.

A very big thank you to the editors and publishers who featured my work throughout the year.

seagulls feeding in the surf

This has been a year like no other and we sadly lost a number of friends and members of our writing community to Covid-19 and to cancer without being able to say goodbye in the way we normally would.

It has also been a year of growing and connecting in new ways and of communities coming together.

A huge thank you to Frank, Kristjaan, Misky, Ronovan and the team at dVerse Poets for your inspiring poetry prompts, to Brian, Christine, Emily, Heather, Katherine, Ping, Punam, Kristian and Sheryl for your wonderful word prompts and to Becca, Cee, Jez, Lisa, Paula, Sue & Gerry, Terri and Amy, Ann-Christine, Patti & Tina for your fabulous photographic prompts.

We leave with you a song by Show of Hands that seems fitting for our times:

Thank you again for the love and we wish you all a blessed, healthy and happy 2021.

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Your Daily Word Prompt: Tidings

Word of the Day Challenge: Wishes

Sunday Stills: Your 2020 Retrospective

Haiku: All Souls’ Night

a snowy winter scene in the Cairngorms

all souls’ night
my great-grandparents
play in the snow

© Xenia Tran

close up of branches and heather covered in heavy snow

These images were taken in November 2017 at the start of a beautiful Winter.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/250 s – ISO 320, f/4 – 1/800 s – ISO 100 and f/4 – 1/320 s – ISO 250.

All Souls’ Night was first published in Autumn Moon Haiku Journal, Volume 4:1, Autumn-Winter 2020-2021. A very big thank you to Bruce Ross for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Sunday Stills: Winter Wonderland

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Leaves and Trees

Your Daily Word Prompt: Optimism

Tanka: Ambient

an abandoned shed in the woods

blackbirds sing
around the cobwebbed shed
a key turns
for a glimpse of you
tapping and chiselling wood

© Xenia Tran

an abandoned shed in the woods

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/80 s – ISO 400, f/2.8 – 1/160 s – ISO 500 and f/2.8 – 1/80 s – ISO 250.

Ambient was first published in Ribbons, Fall 2020: Volume 16, Number 3. A very big thank you to Michael McClintock and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #125: You Pick It

Your Daily Word Prompt: Ambient

Word of the Day Challenge: Architecture

Wordless Wednesday: Truly Tranquil

a female mallard duck on an overhanging branch above the water
a woodland pond surrounded by leafless trees

We are honoured and delighted that two new haiku in Dutch as well as a Dutch interpretation of Little Blue Flower have been included in the anthology Aan het Woord 2020 – de geur van geluid, edited by Ferre Denis, Maria de Bie and Nol Hovens, published by Haiku Kring Nederland and Haiku-centrum Vlaanderen. A big thank you to the editors for including my poems and creating this beautiful anthology.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday and Happy Thanksgiving to our friends across the water,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/160 s – ISO 800, f/5.6 – 1/125 s – ISO 800 and f/4 – 1/160 s – ISO 200.

Wordless Wednesday

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #85

Your Daily Word Prompt: Tranquil

Tanka: New World

close up of a small firepit on the beach

words of old friends
create new worlds …
by the firepit
we marvel as the sun sets
in fading lines of surf

© Xenia Tran

a lensball on a rock in the water at sunset

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/4.5 – 1/40 s – ISO 250, f/5 -1/8 s – ISO 1600 and f/4 – 1/20 s – ISO 800.

New World was first published in Ribbons, Fall 2020: Volume 16, Number 3. A very big thank you to Christine L Villa and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Earthweal Open Link Weekend #43

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #122: The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Your Daily Word Prompt: Tidbit

Tanka: Only Silence

a church lit up at night with reflections in the water

there is no sound
from the puddles in our street
only silence
where the wind just blew
and rattled all the rafters

© Xenia Tran

light falling through the night sky

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/8 s – ISO 1600, f/6.5 – 1/15 s – ISO 4000 and f/6.5 – 1/1 s – ISO 800.

Only Silence was first published in The Bamboo Hut, Number 4 – 2020. A very big thank you to Steve Wilkinson for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Carpe Diem #1837: Blowing in the Wind

Haiku: Falling Petals

detail from a piece of pastel art featuring a woman

falling petals
he finds his mother
behind the rain

© Xenia Tran

pastel art of a woman appearing through a rain of cherry blossom

Working with pastels has been a hobby for many years and in my younger years my pieces were on display in cafés, art centres and at a local hospital.

My poems are mostly inspired by real-life experiences and sometimes by a dream or meditation. The above haiku was inspired by a dream and I tried to re-create the moment that sparked the poem in this painting.

I am deeply honoured and delighted that this poem was awarded an Honourable Mention in the International Section of the 2020 Haiku Invitational at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. A big thank you to judges Agnes Savich, Beth Skala and Gary Hotham for selecting my poem and many congratulations to all the winners.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs and original art (soft pastel on glass paper) by Xenia Tran.

Word of the Day Challenge: Hobby

Tanka: Earthlight

lensball resting on seaweed at sunset by the sea

the air so clean
in our lockdown days
a healing
pulsing through the stars at night
were earthlight weeps and breaks

© Xenia Tran

sunset on the beach at low tide with silhouettes of two people walking

Earthlight was first published in Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2020: Volume 16, Number 2. A very big thank you to Michael McClintock at Tanka Café 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/5.6 – 1/40 s – ISO 800, f/5.6 – 1/13 s – ISO 1600 and f/3.4 – 1/30 s – ISO 100.

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #39

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

Earthweal Open Link Weekend #32

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