Tuesday, December 2, 2014

CAROL : mitt hjerte alltid vanker

the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; 
but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.




er er min lengsel hjemme
"Der er min lengsel hjemme," sings this boy with angel's voice in words that mean where my yearning finds its home.  I love this carol, new to me this year, written by a Danish Lutheran bishop in 1732.

Mitt hjerte alltid vanker
i Jesu foderom,
der samles mine tanker
som i sin hovedsum.
Der er min lengsel hjemme,
der har min tro sin skatt;
jeg kan deg aldri glemme
velsignet julenatt!

My heart always wanders
to where Jesus once was born,
there I collect my thoughts
and unify them together.
There my longing finds its home,
there my faith has its treasure;
I can never forget you
O blessed Christmas night! 


Listening to this carol with its longing to find a home in that Jesus who was born homeless fills me with a great yearningJesus who wandered with no place to lay his head even when He was grown.  Jesus who died on an open hill.

These cold landscapes are the kind of country my Danish forebears came from.  A winter country where since childhood I've located the writing part of me: Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales opening the way to Izak Dinesen's winter tales making space for Inger Christensen's poetry.  A winter country that opens to miraculous spring and daylong summer.

I want to open that part of my heart and my soul this Christmas to the eternal summer radiance that Christmas promises, which is just what this carol says,  

Akk, komm jeg opp vil lukke 
mitt hjerte og mitt sinn
og full av lengsel sukke:
"Kom, Jesu, dog herinn!
Det er ei fremmed bolig, 
du har den selv jo kjopt
sa skal du blive trolig, 
her i mitt hjerte svopt."


Ach! I want to open
my heart and my soul
and full of longing sigh,
 "Oh come, Jesus, here within!
This is no a stranger's housing
You've paid for it Yourself. 
Here you can safely stay, 
swaddled in my heart.


I can't sing it like an angel.

I can't sing it like the voice of winter.


(But doesn't this look just like a Hans Christian Andersen story --
the bored aristocrats, the royal bride,
the Lapland singer with the voice of arctic wind?
Couldn't this be the last scene of a story by Izak Dinesen?)


When this displaced Finnish folksinger stands in the Norwegian court that displaced her ancestors and sings this Norwegian carol in her arctic Sami it makes that winter place in me resonate.  In this world of exiles and outcasts, where can we find home unless we make it from the Truth that finds home within the deepest place inside us?

En spurv har dog sitt rede
og sikre hvilebo,
ensvale ma ei bede
om nattely og ro.
En love vet sin hule 
hvor den kan hvile fa
--skal da min Gud seg skjule
I andres stall og stra?

A sparrow has its nest
and safe place of rest,
a swallow can expect
a peaceful night's shelter.
The lion  has his cave
where he can find rest
--must my God take shelter
in another's stable and straw?







Lyrics: Mitt hjerte alltid vanker


Danish English
Mitt hjerte alltid vanker

i Jesu føderom, der samles mine tanker
som i sin hovedsum.
Der er min lengsel hjemme,
der har min tro sin skatt;
jeg kan deg aldri glemme
velsignet julenatt!
My heart always wanders

To where Jesus once was born. There I collect
and unify my thoughts.
There my longing finds its home,
there my faith has its treasure;
I can never forget you
O blessed Christmas night
En spurv har dog sitt rede

og sikre hvilebo, ensvale ma ei bede
om nattely og ro.
En love vet sin hule
hvor den kan hvile fa
-- skal da min Gud seg skjule
I andres stall og stra?
A sparrow has its nest

and safe place of rest A swallow can expect
a peaceful night's shelter
The lion has his cave
where he can find rest
— Must my God take shelter
in another's stable and straw?
Akk, kom jeg opp vil lukke

mitt hjerte og mitt sinn og full av lengsel sukke:
Kom, Jesus, dog herinn!
Det er ei fremmed bolig,
du har den selv jo kjøpt,
så skal du blive trolig
her i mitt hjerte svøpt.
Ach! I want to open

my heart and soul And full of longing sigh,
Oh come Jesus here within
This is no stranger's housing, you bought it of yourself
Here can you safely stay, swaddled in my heart

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