Haibun: Pulse of the Ancients

a brindle whippet sniffing the moss on the trunk of an ancient oak tree

September’s sun dapples through green and ochre leaves as the path meanders past a three-hundred-year-old sycamore, still standing strong. A few dog-less people make a fuss of Misty as she skips past them to the sunny side of the wood. A robin sings his heart out on a garden fence, where the path passes a few houses. We cross a small wooden bridge over the burn, one side of the water green with algae. Once we turn left, we see her.

Birnam Oak
six hundred years old and more
this autumn

close up of the bark and lichen of an ancient oak tree

One of the last living relics from a medieval forest that once grew here, her girth is around seven metres. The oak’s lower branches are so heavy they are supported by stilts and part of the trunk is hollow.

Shakespeare is said to have visited this area in 1589 when he was an actor and later immortalised the wood in his play Macbeth. This tree would have been mature when Shakespeare walked here. Touching the bark with my left hand, I feel a pulse that gets stronger and stronger the longer I leave it there, filling my palm with heat that travels down my arms and my spine, as if they are branches.

then and now
a mild south-easterly
tingles the leaves

© Xenia Tran

Birnam Oak, lower section in the warm September sun

I am guest-hosting Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets tonight and the bar opens at 8pm GMT.

Wishing you all a happy Monday,

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Frame

dVerse Poets: Haibun Monday – September Song

Haibun: They Walk Beside Us

Cairngorms National Park

a memorial plaque placed on the stump of a pine tree

The sky is grey above the hills and we set off with raincoats wrapped around our waists. We walked this trail so many times the last twelve years, in all weathers. With Seamus weaving through the trees, sniffing moss and lichen and Ruby, always by my side in rhythm with my stride. With Eivor, leaping across streams and puddles to keep his paws dry, and Pearl, walking into the same streams to cool her legs and have a drink. Their smiles still linger here, their paw prints are embedded in the soil.

Here we are with Misty, who is as wide-eyed and enchanted by the glen as all the others were. For a while it feels as if we are walking with them, including those who Misty knew.

forest trail
changed forever
we greet the sun

© Xenia Tran

the ruins of Castle Eilein in the loch

We saw this beautiful memorial plaque on the stump of an ancient pine and can imagine the young man’s spirit and his loved ones finding peace here too.

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

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Mirror

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #139

dVerse Poets: Open Link Live #322 August Edition

Puente Poetry: Breakwater

a brindle whippet sniffing seaweed beside an exposed breakwater at low tide

in grey-blue light after the rain
the day starts gently on the sands
where we pause and gaze at
the glittering retreating sea

~ with the flow of the wind ~

we keep each other safe
through attentiveness and love
between columns draped with tooted wrack
we find an overabundance of treasures

© Xenia Tran

a brindle whippet sniffing seaweed on an exposed breakwater at low tide

Wishing you all a happy Thursday and a peaceful rest of the week,

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word in July 2022 – Texture

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Column

dVerse Poets Open Link Night #321: Blast Off

Haibun: The Puppy Within

a picture of a blue and brindle whippet puppy

Misty’s family came over for a visit this weekend and it was lovely to see them again. After a walk on the beach we went back to our house and they gave us this beautiful picture of Misty as a puppy that had been hanging on her late owner’s wall.

Misty is still very playful. She loves flinging her toys around the room as well as my slippers. Showing her the picture, she sniffs it and looks thoughtfully at her younger self. Then she turns towards the wall with pictures of our other dogs, where she is happy for us to hang it.

fruits of summer –
between blackcurrant bushes
forget-me-nots bloom

© Xenia Tran

a smiling brindle senior whippet in a dog bed with a green toy

Wishing you all a happy Monday and a peaceful new week,

with love from Misty and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

CFFC: Symbolizes an Act of Kindness

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge: Twin

dVerse Poets: It’s OLN Live

Tanka: Walking Back in Time

old road
we walk back in time
between the trees
from last year’s seeds
whose dream is now emerging

© Xenia Tran

Wishing you all a happy Thursday and a peaceful rest of the week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Tanka Thursday: Walk

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #159: Postcards

dVerse Poets: Open Link Night #297

Haibun: Flower Moon

For Martina

a black whippet in a raincoat on a wooden platform by a loch

Walking through the glens and hills, we meet other walkers who love being here. The purity, the solitude, the wind moving through the pine. It’s as if their branches are opening wide to greet us with a warm welcome.

It is the day after the funeral of our much loved vet. The family asked anyone who wants to say goodbye to wear something blue.

flower moon
her spirit rises
from the mountains

© Xenia Tran

the southern shore of Lochan Uaine in Spring

We were very sad to learn one of our local vets has died in an accident while hiking in Glencoe, a place she dearly loved.

We thank her for her care and kindness and our thoughts are with her family, her friends and her colleagues at this difficult time.

Wishing you all a peaceful Thursday and may you all stay safe.

With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Settings: f/1.8 – 1/1250 s – ISO 500, f/1.8 – 1/1250 s – ISO 450 and f/1.8 – 1250 s – ISO 125.

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #149: Blue and Green

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #192: Flower Moon

dVerse Poets Haibun Monday: Flower Moon

Haibun: A Star Follows

a black whippet walking through a tidal pool with a ball

The sea retreats as the sun rises, leaving ripples in sand and glittering water. It’s great to be back on the beach. Pearl runs after balls and catches them mid-air. Eivor walks more quietly and gazes past the headland. We both rest our eyes on the mountains and hear a gentle voice saying Stay, stay a little longer.

august moon
walking through tidal pools
a star follows

© Xenia Tran

a blue and white whippet running through a tidal pool with a ball

The above haiku is an echo poem to the closing haiku in A Message from the Stars, a tribute to our nephew Jamie Baker (1977-1986) that features in Between Heather and Grass.

A later version of this haibun was published in haikuKATHA Issue 11, September 2022.

Below is a trailer video for the book which includes this haiku, as well as a clip of Eivor and Pearl on the beach you see in the photographs above.

A special post will follow later this month about the money we have raised so far with the sale of the book.

We wish you all a happy Thursday and a wonderful rest of the week,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/2.8 – 1/2000 s – ISO 100.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #150: Sturgeon Moon

Sunday Stills: Beautiful Beaches

Jez Braithwaite’s Water Water Everywhere #39

dVerse Poets: Open Link Night #271

Rag Tag Daily Prompt: Stars

Haibun: Memories in Motion

a black whippet walking through the dunes below a pine forest

It’s our first journey to the bay since the hundred days of lockdown. In my mind’s eye we visited this pebbled shore a few times, walking through old photos and the memories collected. Now I can feel the wind buffet around us, see my grandmother’s face appear in the clouds once more.

learning to fly
the kindness of herring gulls
on bright water

© Xenia Tran

During lockdown I’ve been looking at new ways of merging poems and images and participated in a few collaborative projects with other poets, artists and photographers. The above video is the first I wove together and you can see the second one I produced in A Star Follows.

Wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx.

Photographs and video by Xenia Tran.

dVerse Poets Poetics: 8th Year Anniversary

Twiglet #185: A Bookish Day

Word of the Day Challenge: Movable

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Haibun: Celtic Heartbeat

a black whippet running on the beach beside a turquoise sea

Echoes of drums and fiddles float through an open window, a virtual ceilidh in full swing. Dogs run big circles on the beach beside the turquoise water. My mind drifts and settles. Becoming sand, becoming sea.

new ways
to share our voice
spring sunshine

© Xenia Tran

a blue and white whippet running on the beach with a ball

Wishing you all a very happy Tuesday,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, Settings: f/3.2 – 1/2000 s – ISO 100 and f/2.8 – 1/2000 s – ISO 100.

dVerse Poets Quadrille #106: Drum

Ronovan’s Weekly Haiku Challenge #310: Share & Voice

Haiku: Misty Rain

silhouette of a whippet by a rock on a misty beach

misty rain
we walk with you in spirit
even when unseen

© Xenia Tran

silhouette of a man carrying a canoe in the mist

For more than fifty years I have taken part in peaceful demonstrations and art projects in support of equality and fair treatment of all. We have come a long way and still have further to travel to create a world where everyone feels welcome.

Wishing you all a peaceful Thursday and may you stay safe and well,

with love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx

Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.

Camera: Canon Powershot SX60 HS, Settings: f/4 – 1/1000 s – ISO 100, f/6.3 – 1/1000 s – ISO 125 and f/6.3 – 1/1000 s – ISO 160.

Frank J Tassone’s Weekly Haikai Challenge #141: Justice

dVerse Poets Poetics: Rain