What is an ‘onkel’
A Danish word
look it up
but wait a bit before looking it up
let me feel something first
onkel’s far removed from all definitions
a longing for a moment feeling safe in
childhood but not a person a state is
what’s contained in the word, perhaps an o
maybe an letter o pronounced å. Oh Åh. Oh you onkel.
Oh my onkel. Åh ånkel. Mon oncle Jules, a title that occurs
to me, Uncle Tom, Uncle Anders, Uncle Sam and all the
other uncles one knows without knowing them, also my
own uncles and yours, but…
(I’ll say it straight away:
the most uncomfortable word in my dictionary,
closely followed by: playful uncle)
… but it’s not only childhood, the safe feeling of childhood
isn’t what it is
Eastern window-panes afar* each time I read this I sing I think
Åh, onkel Jeppe, but without thinking it even so , for he’s
not my uncle though I don’t call anyone anything just for
fun, but Flare up in the gloaming, it’s the uncle-like feeling I’ve mentioned
not the longing but the fulfilment of it, a full and round
moment as round as an uncle, and what’s more I don’t know if he borrowed
aunt Agnes’ money, and that’s uncle-like although he was younger than
she was and had this large poet’s head of hair, Moorland ponds like tiny stars
Catch the sunset’s homing.
Out in the twilight of the garden I see a yellow leaf fall to the ground,
it floats rather than falls, it takes its time
* Quotation of last verse of Jeppe Aakjær’s poem ‘Aften’.
To see it in the original and in English, go to here.