May in Lithuania

We climb the greenest hills
to listen to a cuckoo bird.
And doodlebugs in giant swarms,
Children’s delight.
Bird cherries dressed in bride-like white
with lilacs by the side
of drying clothes on lines
like prayer cloths
above the crumbled sidewalks.
Magpie, the curious, hops about
and lifts its tail as long
as days are long in May.

The cuckoo bird sings by the river,
We count the echo:
coo-coo, coo-coo, coo-coo
To determine our springs yet to come.
If you carry money in your pocket,
when the first coo-coo of the spring is heard
You will be rich forever,
The old man says.

The richness in this soil,
The rising fog, fresh rains,
and faces deep in wrinkles,
black fingernails, widows in black
scarves and handbags full of candy
for the children of the town.
White storks stride
across green meadows
As greenhouses flap their
worn wings on the hillsides.

I hold the bread black with abundance
Sun is pale here, as if yellow
has spilled out into
the gold of butter
egg yolks and honey,
and draped over the edges of the crust
Like yellow hair of local girls.
We listen to the morning church bells
bellowing across the town,
and the old accordion serenades us
from the distance.




About BeeHappee

Where have all the bees gone? Where have all the flowers gone?
This entry was posted in Lithuania, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to May in Lithuania

  1. bobraxton says:

    richness of this soil

  2. DM says:

    I too love black bread πŸ™‚ Good to hear from you!

    • BeeHappee says:

      Before we left, kids kept asking: what do you eat for breakfast in Lithuania. I said: bread and butter. They kept wondering, how can you just eat bread and butter for breakfast. The bread is such, that you can eat bread and butter for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

      • DM says:

        My grandma immigrated to America from Germany when she was 19. When I would stop by their house for some strong black coffee, she always served open face sandwiches made with hearty home made bread (normally rye), butter, and cheese. I’ve read before, the breads of Europe play a much more central place in the day to day diets than here in the US. Talking about this stirs my desire to make bread again πŸ™‚ DM

        • BeeHappee says:

          πŸ™‚ Oh, they take their bread seriously. I was giggling this morning listening to my parents. In the town, the bakery discontinued one type of rye bread (which was their favorite and made by hand) and now they are panicking although there are about 100 other varieties of rye bread. The store is even taking votes of people as to which bread they are liking best. I had not had much luck making my own bread that matches the bakery bread here in taste or texture.

  3. shoreacres says:

    I can see it — and it reminds me of certain places I’ve visited in this country, which mostly aren’t known, and are better off for it. I thought I might put a nickel in my pocket and look for a coo-coo, but then I remembered: I’m already rich — just not in the way most people would recognize.

    The poem’s lovely, and it’s even nicer to see you pop up. Happy visiting! (although you may be home now).

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you, Linda! I am scrambling to catch up with reading your writing and some others, miss it so much, all that good stuff as always.
      Yes, life flows slower here in general. People chatting in the streets, or weeding potato fields with the hoes. There are superstitions about coo-coo birds here that are interesting, e.g. however many coo-coos you count, that is how many years more you may live. (I am glad I heard quite a few this time). We were at the Baltic seashore yesterday and the sand is so white and fine, like nowhere I had seen before.

  4. poem knock monkey out with delight.

  5. noblethemes says:

    Stunningly beautiful, peaceful and so delightful! πŸ™‚

  6. nicoleaugust says:

    Spring is always delicious !

    • BeeHappee says:

      I think all seasons are, life is, and now kiddos are enjoying picking lettuce and chives, salads flowing over edges and grandpas spoiling with ice creams. πŸ™‚ Soon strawberries to come, and then wild blueberries.

  7. Joanna says:

    So close! I recognise the scene you create with your poem as many things are the same here in Latvia. Will you make it up here to see us? You can send an email via the blog if you are able to – the easiest way to contact us at the moment πŸ™‚ Enjoy your time with family, now back to the weeding

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you, Joanna! Yes, definitely, we are planning to drive up to Latvia, and possibly to Estonia too if we have enough perseverance. My folks travelled through Latvia a couple years back and said it was beautiful. Best of luck with the weeding, and we will be in touch. πŸ™‚

  8. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    I can imagine everything you say, though I have never been there. Everything sounds so beautiful. I love seeing it through your eyes and heart.

  9. Scott says:

    Great to see you here, Kristina. And May in Lithuania looks and sounds great.

  10. Hariod Brawn says:

    Absolutely exquisite, Kristina; you capture so evocatively a mood, a pace, an attitude, a feeling. Many congratulations on this very fine piece of work. With all best wishes, Hariod.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Dear Hariod, thank you for your kind words. We are amused by these May bugs which are apparently so abundant in Europe now. They were practically extinct during my childhood here due to nitrogen usage or pesticides, and now they are back in huge amounts.

      • Hariod Brawn says:

        Thankyou for the exceptional photograph, Kristina – those colours are quite wonderful! I live in Somerset, England, and as of yet, and unusually, have not seen a single May Bug this month. That would seem at odds with the fact that they are in abundance in Europe, although perhaps it is mainland Europe where they are currently thriving?

        • BeeHappee says:

          There is an abundance of them here, some are destroying the plants, sidewalks covered in them, in one spot, people were shoveling them with shovels. According to Wikipedia, they should be present in UK, at least in the old days they apparently were. My parents say they used to play with them as kids also (like Nikola Tesla πŸ™‚ ), by tying a string or a straw to a bug’s leg and watching it fly:

          • Hariod Brawn says:

            My goodness, that sounds like the biblical plague of locusts! And yes, every year I see Maybugs doing their drunken dances through the air, but as I said, none yet so far this year where I am. Thankyou for the interesting link, Kristina. H ❀

          • bobraxton says:

            As children in NC we did that – with those we called “June bug”

  11. Bill says:

    So beautiful and evocative. Being rooted in a place is a wonderful thing–good for the soul. A blessing for you and your children.

    I wonder what your doodlebugs are. When I was a boy that’s what we called ant lions (I never heard them called that until I was an adult and had moved away). To get them to come to the surface we’d put our faces as close to the ground as possible and repeat “Doodlebug, doodlebug, your house is on fire. Come get a bucket of waaa-ter.” It worked every time.

    We were also told that if a rooster crowed while we were making a bad face, it would freeze that way. I hope you are rich forever, whether the coo-coo cooperates or not.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you, Bill. Yes indeed, no need for coo-coo to determine our happiness.
      Doodlebugs are these bugs pictured on photos above, here they are called Karkvabaliai – based on a small willow bushes. (Cockchafer in English). I had never seen the in the USA, but here they are becoming overwhelming and starting to destroy plants. As are the snails, millions of them here in the gardens (and Colorado beetles/potato beetles of course! πŸ™‚ )

  12. Michael says:

    Beautiful images, Katrina. I love the connections between the color black, the richness of the land, and the bread. Makes me hungry for a piece of that earthy nourishment! Your descriptions transport us to another land… I can see the butter, juxtaposed with the bread, surrounded by the sound of the accordian player…


    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you, Michael! The bread and the butter is the Great Marriage indeed. πŸ™‚ As is the sand and the sea we watched yesterday. Thank you for stopping by.
      Peace to you too.

  13. Wait a minute…. You’re back home? On this side of the Large Pond?
    No wonder you went quiet…. AND I MISSED OUT ON IT!

    I hope you are having a great stay, but by the looks of the writing you are.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Hej, Ron, I was about to write you. πŸ™‚ Saw your comment on Ben’s blog, and it made me smile, because that same windy day, we were at the edge of the woods, watching birch trees and aspens shake in the wind. The tall thin birches, aspens and pines is what makes this Northern Europe so beautiful and comparable to really no place else, I think.
      We were on the Baltic beaches yesterday. I will keep adding photos to my FB page, will see you there. Looks like you had been busy with the gardens, and it is looking great.
      I am sitting here over breakfast, planning trips across Latvia and Estonia, reminiscing with my dad about his travels over to lake Baikal, Siberia, and the Soviet days.
      De mazzel,

      • De mazzel?? Wow, it’s been a while since someone said that to me πŸ™‚
        How long will you be staying?
        Lake Baikal and Siberia…. ahh, if only…

        And please show pics on your blog. I for one am seriously cutting down on FB. My friendlist has all but vanished and I use it for having contact with certain groups mostly.

  14. migarium says:

    Hi dear BeeHappee! Today, when I check my blog, I canceled you and some other Earthling friends blog from follow list mistakenly. I hope I could fix it. When I use the phone I can make somethings like that, you know due to my fingers, they are not compatible to these machines of mankind πŸ™‚

    And my Earthling friend, maybe this conduced to write to you right now. For a while I was thinking, when BeeHapppe will turn back? I miss your posts which are taking me away from this crazy planet, toward peaceful points:)

    • BeeHappee says:

      Ha, Migo, sticky fingers. Thank you for the compliments, I suppose I had had too much peace here on the golden beaches reading Lithuanian poetry and Paulo Coelho and having no discipline at all to write. πŸ™‚

      • migarium says:

        If you do have peace at there, my dear Earthling friend(this is unique situation you know on this crazy planet;)), I am happy for you! And you enjoy from the situation for all of us! πŸ™‚

  15. smilecalm says:

    a beautiful travel, BeeHappee!
    i hope you are now safe & rested
    for the adventure happening
    now πŸ™‚

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