A Moment of Inspiration

Regular readers of this blog will know that the natural beauty of our world is a constant source of inspiration to me and today I am showing you what lies behind the way my photographs and poems are shared together.

It all began during a week’s Summer School at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen’s University Belfast, and my visit to the Linen Hall Library in July 2007.

a man with a hat reading a paper in a library

Images and Reflections, both as book and exhibition, was one of the landmarks of the Linen Hall Library’s Open Door Millennium Festival and also marked the opening of the Library’s extended premises. It brought together vivid photographs of the Ulster of the last century with powerful contemporary writing by many of the province’s leading literary figures.

Seamus Heaney selected a photograph from the 1930s of a threshing scene that fitted perfectly with his poem Threshing Day. Michael Longley chose a photograph of a towpath of the early 1900s to accompany his poem In Memory of My Parents. Brian Keenan selected an old photograph of children at a cottage in Glenoe and created the poem Album to sit alongside it. Gerald Dawe immediately decided on a photograph of an emigrant family leaving Derry in the 1930s and knew that was the image he wanted to write a poem for.

Graduation Hall at Queen's University, Belfast

Gerald was leading our poetry workshop on writing poems for and from photographs as part of the Summer School. He told us that the photograph of the emigrant family leaving Derry was pinned to a board above his writing desk for months and he enjoyed spending time with it, growing familiar with the faces inside the photograph and when the Linen Hall Library asked him if they could have a poem for the exhibition he approached it from within the image and wrote it in the mother’s voice. It is a beautiful poem called Snap, symbolising both the idea of a snapshot and the being snapped away from a life they knew.

The poem has since been included in his Selected Poems (published in 2012).

Queen's University Belfast with Summer flowers

Prior to my week in Belfast my photography and my writing had been separate interests and I rarely brought the two together. Since then I’ve written poems to accompany photographs from a variety of angles and taken photographs to accompany existing poems. I will always be grateful to Gerry for sharing his insights during his wonderful workshop.

Images and Reflections is a book I treasure to this day and it continues to inspire me. It is available from the Linen Hall Library and from Amazon.

Wishing you a blessed Sunday and a peaceful week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #115: Inspiration

Your Daily Word Prompt: Vivify

Tanka: Meadowsweet and Thistle

a swan family preening and relaxing in a moat

shaded meadow
a range of flowers
surrounds our nest
the lockdown gives us time
to see each other clearly

© Xenia Tran

a smiling crow looking at the camera

Meadowsweet and Thistle was first published in Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2020: Volume 16, Number 2. A very big thank you to Christine L Villa and the team at Ribbons for featuring my poem and putting this beautiful edition together.

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5 – 1/200 s – ISO 125, f/5.6 – 1/320 s – ISO 200 and f/6.5 – 1/250 s – ISO 100.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #148: Summer Meadow

Your Daily Word Prompt: Connote

Word of the Day Challenge: Grace

dVerse Poets: Open Link Night #270

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

Silent Sunday: Five Weeks Old

two four-week old cygnets seen from behind in the river
a pair of swans with their three cygnets on the river

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

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5 – 1/1000 s – ISO 320, f/5 – 1/200 s – ISO 200 and f/5 – 1/320 s – ISO 100.

Silent Sunday

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #35

Your Daily Word Prompt: Secure

Silent Sunday: Sweet Inspiration

three cygnets swimming by flooded grass
a pair of swans preening in shallow water

It was a lovely surprise when this young swan pair made their nest on the river. They and their three remaining cygnets are a true inspiration and continue to lift the spirits of our community in these challenging times.

Wishing you all 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/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 200, f/5.6 – 1/500 s – ISO 400 and f/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 160.

Silent Sunday

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #103: Surprise

Your Daily Word Prompt: Inspire

Silent Sunday: Hanging On To Light

macro shot of an opening purple crocus bud
macro shot of blooming purple crocus

I am very grateful for all the amazing work the health service and everyone else who is making a positive difference is currently doing.

Following the example of Spain, France, The Netherlands and India, the UK is now organising a #clapforourcarers event on Thursday 26th March at 8pm where we can show our appreciation with a massive round of applause. You can clap your hands on your doorstep, balcony or indoors and share it online through social media.

Hoping you all stay safe and well,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.5 – 1/100 s – ISO 200, f/4 – 1/50 – ISO 200 and f/3.5 – 1/125 s – ISO 100.

Silent Sunday

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Hang On

Your Daily Word Prompt: Bearing

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

Haiku: Pied Wagtail

a pied wagtail striding out on the beach

pied wagtail
oh sweet little bird
busy, busy

© Xenia Tran

a pied wagtail striding out on the beach

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/320 s – ISO 100, f/5.6 – 1/250 s – ISO 100 and f/5.6 – 1/400 s – ISO 100.

Kate’s Friday Fun Challenge: Feathered Friends

Your Daily Word Prompt: Resilient

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Action

Haiku: Winter Solstice II

the day-moon in a blue sky over Findhorn Bay

snow on the peaks
a few more sleeps before
midwinter

© Xenia Tran

a sailing boat anchored in Findhorn Bay

We wish you all a wonderful Wednesday and a blessed Winter Solstice.

With love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/5.6 – 1/320 s – ISO 100, f/5 – 1/320 s – ISO 100 and f/5 – 1/250 s – ISO 100.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #117: Midwinter

Your Daily Word Prompt: Duration

Dutch Goes the Photo Tuesday Photo Challenge: Common

Silent Sunday: Bountiful Leaves of Gold

Achany Forest

a view across the River Shin from Achany Forest in autumn colours
a view across the River Shin from Achany Forest in autumn

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday and a wonderful week ahead,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/4 – 1/250 s – ISO 100 and f/4 – 1/500 s – ISO 100.

Silent Sunday

Becca’s Sunday Trees – 8th Anniversary

Your Daily Word Prompt: Bounty

Silent Sunday: Waterlilies

close up shot of waterlily leaves unfurling in the rain
two waterlily buds opening with raindrops on the petals and leaves
a waterlily blooming on the pond in the rain

Wishing you all a blessed Sunday,

with love from Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/6.5 – 1/400 s – ISO 200, f/6.5 – 1/200 s – ISO 200, f/6.5 – 1/640 s – ISO 200 and f/6.5 – 1/ 320 s – ISO 200.

Silent Sunday

Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: Texture

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Your Daily Word Prompt: Sporadic