Haiku: A Helping Hand

blown off-course
the coastguard gathers
at the boat slip

© Xenia Tran

I wrote this haiku in honour of the brave volunteers from the RNLI who will go out in all weathers to rescue people from our seas, lakes, rivers and floods.

If you want to find out more about what they do, are interested in volunteering or wish to support them in other ways please visit their website here.

Wishing you all safe harbour,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

A Helping Hand was first published in The Asahi Shimbun, 4 June 2021. A warm thank you to David McMurray for including my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Question

Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word – Flow, Tidal

CFFC: Blue

Tanka: Red Rose

a red rose
how grandmother blushes
when she sees him
after all these years his voice
the longest in her mind

© Xenia Tran

When my grandmother moved into a retirement home she met her first True Love (from High School) at the breakfast counter and it felt as if they’d never been apart.

He placed a red rose on her breakfast plate each morning and they had one blissful, love-filled year together before he passed away.

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Red Rose was first published in Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2021: Volume 17, Number 2. A very big thank you to Michael McClintock and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this wonderful edition together.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #154: One Photo Two Ways

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Haiku: Wonderful World

grandpa’s lazybed
his potatoes still grow
in the corner

© Xenia Tran

(Autumn Moon Haiku Journal 4:2, Spring/Summer 2021)

settling down
three generations
of oxen

© Xenia Tran

(Asahi Haikuist Network, The Asahi Shimbun, 5 February 2021)

ascending moon
we graft the roots
of our evergreen

© Xenia Tran

(Asahi Haikuist Network, The Asahi Shimbun, 19 March 2021)

such beauty
following a butterfly
who knows the way

© Xenia Tran

(Sharing Our Horizon, A Journey Through the Scottish Highlands
with Two Adopted Whippets by Xenia Tran)

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

A warm-hearted thank you to the editors of the Autumn Moon Haiku Journal and The Asahi Shimbun for featuring my haiku and putting these beautiful publications together.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #153: It’s a Wonderful World

Word of the Day Challenge: Treasure

Haiku: Entwined

cherry blossom
an old pen
fills with ink

© Xenia Tran

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

The above haiku was first published in Autumn Moon Haiku Journal 4:2, Spring/Summer 2021. A very big thank you to Bruce Ross for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

Your Daily Word Prompt: Twine

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Haiku: Seeds of Peace

periwinkle among green leaves and snapdragon buds

laurel leaf
the seeds of peace
she planted

© Xenia Tran

a bluebell bud appearing between lily of the valley

snowmelt
remembering her life
anew

© Xenia Tran

a sun-lit periwinkle flowering among spring leaves

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/1.8 – 1/1600 s – ISO 400, f/1.8 – 1/1600 s – ISO 450, f/1.8 – 1/1600 s – ISO 800 and f/1.8 – 1/1600 s – ISO 125.

The above haiku were first published in EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2021 – Entering the Earth as part of a haiku sequence which includes our earlier poems Shapes and Shadows and Sunlight on her Wings. A big thank you to Jim Kacian and The Haiku Foundation for featuring my poems and putting this beautiful edition together.

Cee’s Flower of the Day

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

Haiku: Sunlight on her Wings

an oystercatcher in flight above the water

filled with love
her lasting footprint
in this world

© Xenia Tran

an oystercatcher rising through the sky next to a rainbow

This post is dedicated to our dear haiku friend Kristjaan from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai who lost his mother to Covid-19.

Our thoughts are with him and his family at this difficult time and with all of you who recently lost a loved one.

Wishing you a peaceful Sunday and a blessed week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/6.5 – 1/1600 s – ISO 1000, f/5.6 – 1/125 s – ISO 100 and f/5 – 1/800 s – ISO 400.

The above haiku has subsequently been published in EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration 2021 – Entering the Earth as part of a four-haiku sequence which includes Seeds of Peace and Shapes and Shadows. A warm thank you to Jim Kacian and The Haiku Foundation for featuring my poems and putting this beautiful edition together.

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai: Memories of a Loved One

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #131: Emotions

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