Apr 30, 2008

first cuckoo –
I step outside barefoot
to count my years
pirma gegutė –
išeinu basas laukan
metų skaičiuoti




In Lithuanian folk the cuckoo is a mysterious and magic bird. Until the cuckoo's call is heard, venturing outdoors in bare feet is dangerous even if the weather is warm because the earth underneath is still frozen and can cause ailments. The cuckoo's call dispels the last vestige of winter and ensures the cold is gone for good. When a person hears the cuckoo's first call he or she may ask: "How many years will I live?" The answer is the number of times the cuckoo calls after the question.

17 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely haiku and thanks for sharing the story behind it!

Borut said...

Serious content delicately packaged. And an interesting story about your local superstions connected with the cuckoo... Thank you!:)

polona said...

isn't blogging great! we have fun and learn new things along the way :)
i like the haiku and it works well once you know the superstition.

in slovenia they say you must have some money with you when you first hear the cuckoo. in that case, the year ahead will be prosperous but otherwise it will be bad.

(spooky... word verification says zhizn)

Ron Eklof said...

I read, it means something.
I hear the story behind the reading... it means something else.
Thank you for the background

Oh, calling cuckoo
You tell me more than you know
Don't stop your song now

Masago said...

That is so cool, never heard that before. P.S. What are the ailments?

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

thanks for the extra work -- so interesting!

Ričardas said...

Juliet, thanks and welcome.

Borut, thanks for the comment on the package and it's not superstition - it's true :)

Polona, we have the same saying regarding the money and this year I was keeping wallet in my hands when I've heard the cuckoo - finally, I'll get prosperous for at least a year:)

Ron, what a great comment! I wish she didn't stop on 26th cuckoo...

Masago, it's strange, I thought it's a common knowledge about cuckoo:) I'm glad you found something new.
(ailment - a bodily disorder or chronic disease)

Andrew, you are always welcome, thanks for visiting.

PATRICIJA said...

in slovenia we have very rain spring this year, so we don't hear much cuckoos...only crows...

Paul said...

the cuckoo
knows
when the cold season goes.

Neda said...

Thank you so much for your visit and lovely comment. I am so glad I "discovered" your blog too ")

haiku-shelf said...

here we tell the same about the cuckoo


i hope that you will have many, many, many years (with good health and joy and a lot of love!)

Ričardas said...

Patricija, I hope the rain will stop soon in Slovenia and you will hear your cuckoo although sometimes I think it is better not to hear her.

Paul, she knows indeed and I trust her.

Neda, you are welcome any time.

Angelika, thanks, I've got 26 this time but I will try again after 25 years to get more :)

Masago said...

"ailment - a bodily disorder or chronic disease"

... yes, I know what ailment means, I was just wondering which ailments were caused by this activity. :-)

FARfetched said...

But… what if you don't WANT to know how many years you have? :-) The cuckoo is not native to this land, so I have to guess when it's OK to walk barefoot outside.

I was never that close to my grandfather, so I never learned about this or other Lithuanian traditions. Thanks for sharing it.

Ričardas said...

Masago, I see what you mean now. My grandmother used to say that I would get pneumonia or radiculitis or a number of other ailments that even do not have names in medical encyclopedia :)

Farfetched, I think you don't need to ask if you don't want to know. Otherwise you should buy a clock with cuckoo, only that your life expectancy would be very predictable then... but never ending. Don't forget to wind up the clock though. :)

Tikkis said...

Some twenty years ago I also was listening the cuckoo: one, two, three... ten.

Bill said...

Very evocative, even without the background information.

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