Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Carpe Diem #982 Latvia

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First this: I promised you at the start of this month that our new Theme Week would start on June 20th, but as you already have seen I haven't started that Theme Week. I underestimated the research and time for our Europe Ginko. I want to apologize for this. Because of the underestimation of this month's research I have decided to do no Theme Week this month. I will create the planned Theme Week next month. I am sorry.

Okay back to today's stage in our Europe Ginko. We are going to the North of Europe, to Latvia, one of the three small Balkan states. We visited this part of Europe earlier this month when were in Estonia ... and now we are going to visit Latvia. Latvia became a member of the European Union (EU) in May 2004.

Latvia officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Belarus to the southeast, as well as a maritime border to the west alongside Sweden.

Latvia has a rich history and has always kept its own identity notwithstanding influences from outside of the country or foreign rules to let go of their (for example) own language. So I think the Latvians are a very proud and strong race.

Let us take a closer look at the natural beauty of Latvia and I hope to inspire you all to create wonderful haiku. One of the first things which came in mind was a beautiful cape. Cape Kolka on the northern tip of Latvia at the gulf of Riga.

Cape Kolka
rough sea
destroyed the old tree
seagull cries

© Chèvrefeuille

Cape Kolka is in my opinion the reflection of the strength of the Latvian people as described earlier in this post. Look at that strong tree surrounded by young trees. In perfect harmony ... death and life ... that's the power of the Latvians. They survive and stay close to themselves ... is this not also the strength of a haiku poet? Staying close to our roots, rooted in the strong barren earth one with nature.
As I was doing research for this episode I also sought for haiku by Latvian poets, but it wasn't easy to find them. What I did encounter was Latvia's own short (haiku-like) poem ... the Daina. It's a nice poetry form, but not well known outside Latvia because of the language and culture of Latvia. Only the Latvian people can understand these Dainas which were orally given from the one generation to the other generation. An example: 

« Sen to Rigu daudzinaja, Nu to Rigu ieraudziju, Visapkart smilšu kalni, Parti Rīga udeni.  »

« For a long time Rīga has been glorified, finally I saw it, everywhere around the sandy hills, Rīga, even in the water.  »

I don't know the name of the poet, but this Daina sounds similar to a haiku. It brought a haiku by Basho in my mind, which you all surely know too, because I used it as an example for one of our Haiku Writing Techniques "repetition":

Ah! Matsushima!

© Basho 

Latvia has the fifth highest proportion of land covered by forests in the EU.
still life -
forests covered in million of colors

amazing autumn

© Chèvrefeuille

Look at those forests, amazing ...

And than ... I ran into a wonderful image of  Venta Rapid, the widest European waterfall, in Kuldiga. Cherished by the Latvian people and protected by European laws as an natural monument of Latvia.

Venta Rapid at Kuldiga
the sweet sound of water
resonates through the summer air
a croaking frog

© Chèvrefeuille

Latvia is really an awesome country ... rich soil for haiku ... and here are a few of Latvia's most known haiku poets:

Gaisma ir zobens
Tā tevi nocērt līdz pašai
Tavas tumsas saknei

Light is a sword 
That will cut you
To your darkest roots

© Leons Briedis, Latvia, (“World Haiku 2010 No.6”, p.13. )

Or what do you think of these beauties by Valdis Jansons:

Poetess's car:
silver handles and piston rods...
a train far away

Invisible thread:
a black butterfly pulling
the yellow locomotive

Night train...
after sleep, I wake up
within my dream

© Valdis Jansons

Or these by the well-known haiku poet Janis Petersons:

A frozen window.
The TV set
Keeps silent too...

A pink sunbeam
In dark blue ice.
Evening in March.

Tiny Lizard on a wall

Old stone wall in sun. 
A tiny lizard on it. 

Autumn thoughts
Like swallows on a wire
Before flying away

© Janis Petersons

Well ... I hope you did like our visit to Latvia ... it was again a joy to create this post and I hope that I have inspired you all to create haiku, tanka and other Japanese poetry forms.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 27th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Lithuania, later on.


  1. Ese comes from Kuldiga....wonderful post again Chev, and your haiku seemed to fit the landscape desctibed perfectly.

  2. Carpe Diem European Ginko # 982 Latvia:

    before dawn
    grazing on seaside grass
    the blue cows of Vidzeme

  3. very interesting photos and haiku. I had already posted at my log; when i came to see your prompt, saw the tree stump photo & haiku so i linked up


    much love...

  4. Thanks for introducing me to this lovely country....