I am starting an American-Danish dictionary, truncated, quite primitive. Here it is, 20+ words.
Twilight tusmorke although some prefer the more poetic skumringstimer
dusk skumring (perhaps because in certain parts of Denmark you can see the foam of the ocean better as the sun is going down?)
field mark or felt
My revised edition will be perhaps better alphabetizied, have a few more entries, and be more accurate.
I started this exercise because I had surfed over to a poem by a contemporary Danish writer named Stinne Hedrup.
The first stanza of the piece reads like so (and contains most of our “words of the day”:
I disse skumringstimer
kan længslerne få øjne
der drømmer om at elskes
og spinder gamle løgne.
De stirrer fjernt på verden
som de slet ikke ser
på det som er forsvundet
og aldrig bli’r til mer’.
Using a convenient computer function, I was able to create this derivative work (when I say “primitive” above, it is ironic since I am still using this billion-dollar computer page application):
In these twilight hours
can longings have eyes
who dreams of loved
and purrs old lies.
They stare at the distant world
they do not see
of it as the disappearance
and never just can not wait for more.
And from that my dictionary, or ordbog dansk. Leaving aside meaning, context, pronounciation, beauty. Just an exercise in words.
My own version of this would go something like:
It is twilight
When I see foam
I think of having a beer.
Perhaps in a glass, mug, stein or in my dreams, a skull.
Or in my fledgling Danish:
No dis to skumringstimer
som ojne beer.
My favorite Scandinavian word is skol, the drinking toast. It appears to derive from the practice of celebrating your victory by using your vanquished opponent’s skull as your chalice. I cannot help wandering from my original train of thought of Danish poetry to skull or skol ( or skal) because of my recent fascination with Gerhard Richter (not a Scandinavian, but an East German). The bottom line is that I am simultaneously looking into the relationship between jazz and art (for example, Bill Frisell’s 858 commission inspired by a Richter series of paintings, abstracts, not one of his skulls), and jazz and poetry — the poem here by Stinne Hedrup is actually part of her collaboration with the composer and bassist Anne Mette Iversen, who I recently found reason to contact out of the blue, and that sparked an interest.
Anne Mette’s first cd utilized poetry from her friend Stinne. Anne Mette is from Denmark but has been based in New York for a number of years and is associated with a group of emerging jazz artists clustered geographically and calling themselves Brooklyn Jazz Underground. And spending five minutes on her site, or with any of the BJU artists I promise to be much more rewarding than having read this blog entry.
edit to add, about 400 posts later, October, 2012:
Pretty in pink, Tennis player Caroline W from Denmark (and thank you to Paula Kirkeby for passing on the clipping about Anne Mette Iversen, which is were this began).