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Published on Jul 4, 2009

Words by Imants Ziedonis. Music by Raymond Pauls (who is playing the piano). Performed by Andris Berziņš.
Imants Ziedonis, who started his working life as a road worker, became a teacher and librarian. He is a prolific poet whose work has been widely translated. A formative thinker on Latvian culture, he has published almost twenty volumes of poetry as well as non-fiction about rural Latvian life and culture. The first collection of Ziedonis poems, 'Zemes un sapņu smilts' (Sand of Earth and Dreams), was published in 1961. He has also writen children's books for which he received the Hans Christian Anderson Award. Among his many awards is the Latvian 'Order of the Three Stars' (1995). A deputy in the Latvian Parliament in the 1990s, he was the Prime Minister's Adviser for Culture.

Šī Dieva zeme ar Gaujas lejām,
Ar stārķu ligzdām un kurmju ejām.
Ar Cēsīm, Talsiem un jaunām sejām,
Ar ļaužu balsiem un Raiņa dzejām.

(This land of God, with the Gauja valleys
With stork nests and mole tunnels
With Cesis, Talsi and young faces
With a host of voices and Raina's poems)

Par verga algu es tajā sirgšu,
Par indes malku es viņu pirkšu.
Ar zelta atslēgām es slēgšu, slēpšu,
Kā puskauts āzis par viņu brēkšu.

(For a slaves wage I there will suffer
For a draught of poison I will buy her
with a golden key I will die and hide
Like a half-killed goat I will yell for her)

Ak, svētā brīve kā tad es jūtu,
Cik, esmu nesis to smago un grūtu.
Kad tā vairs nav tik cik melns aiz naga,
Tad es tik apjaušu cik bija smaga.

(Oh, sacred freedom like which I feel
How I am he will carry it heavy and difficult
When it ceases to be a little
Then I will be so apprehensive how was the drudge)

Šo liktens zemi šais svētvakaros,
No manas dvēseles kāds noņem nost.

(This land of destiny in these holy evenings
nobody can remove it from my soul)

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