Danish Language Blog

September Blues Posted by on Sep 23, 2011 in Traditions

Hyben – rose hips

Hyben – rose hips

Whenever you catch a tog (train) or bus in Denmark, you are sure to encounter a number of people with white Apple earbuds in their ears, relaxing to much of the same r’n’b and pop music as the rest of the (Western) world. However, the Danes have a very rich song tradition themselves. While the classic vise/r ([folk] song/s) and sang/e (song/s) may not be the most invigorating iPod fodder in a jammed InterCity train, the singalong music is very much alive in other settings. At bryllup/per (wedding/s), firmafest/er (”corporational parties”) and – you name it – Danes love to make their voices heard in a song or two. Singing together is, I feel, something quintessentially Danish… A lot of the good ole tunes can be quite solemn and a bit sad – after all, they were penned well before e-mailing and Facebook came along to make people feel connected and happy. And let’s face it: Denmark isn’t Spain or France. Why not embrace a bit of Danish melancholia? There’s beauty in that, too.
I’d like to share Septembers himmel er så blå – ”Semptember’s sky is so blue” – with you. It matches the current season perfectly:

Septembers himmel er så blå,
The sky of September is so blue,
dens skyer lyser hvide,
its clouds are gleaming white,
og lydt vi hører lærken slå
and loudly we hear the larch warbling
som før ved forårstide.
like earlier in spring.

Den unge rug af mulden gror
The young rye grows from the soil,
med grønne lyse klinger,
with green, bright blades,
men storken længst af lande for
but the stork went farthest from the land
med sol på sine vinger.
with sun on his wings.

Der er en søndagsstille ro
There is peace like on a silent Sunday
imellem træ’r og tage,
among the trees and roofs,
en munter glæde ved at gro,
a quiet joy of growing,
som var det sommerdage.
as were it summerdays.
Og koen rusker i sit græs
and the cow tugs at her grass
med saften om sin mule,
with juice around her muzzle,
mens bonden kører hjem med læs
while the farmer’s driving home with loads
der lyser solskinsgule.
shining yellow like sunlight.

Hver stubbet mark, vi stirrer på,
Each field of stumps we’re glancing at
står brun og gul og gylden,
stands brown and yellow and golden,
og røn står rød og slåen blå,
and the rowan stands red and the sloe blue,
og purpursort står hylden.
and purply black stands the elder.
Og georginer spraglet gror
And dahlias grow multicoloured-ly
blandt asters i vor have,
among the asters of our garden,
så rig er årets sidste flor:
so rich is the year’s last blossom:
oktobers offergave.
October’s sacrifice.

De røde æbler løsner let
The red apples loosen easily
fra træets trætte kviste,
from the tree’s tired twigs,
Snart lysner kronens bladenet,
Soon the crown’s foliage will brighten,
og hvert et løv må briste.
and each leaf must burst.
Når aftensolen på sin flugt
When the evening sun in its flight
bag sorte grene svinder,
vanishes behind black branches,
om årets sidste røde frugt
of the year’s last red fruit
den tungt og mildt os minder.
it reminds us, heavily and mildly.

At flyve som et forårsfrø
Flying like a springseed
for sommerblomst at blive
in order to become a summer flower
er kun at visne for at dø,
is just withering in order to die
kan ingen frugt du give.
if you can’t give any fruit.
Hvis modenhedens milde magt
If you learnt the mild power of maturity
af livet selv du lærte,
from life itself,
da slår bag falmet rosendragt
then behind a faded rose dress
dit røde hybenhjerte.
your red rose hip heart is beating.


(Otto Mortensen 1949 – Alex Garff 1949)

Keep learning Danish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.