The Blue Anemone

The Blue Anemone. 

There are some routines in March, that are inescapable routines for me. March is the month to look to the light and look forward to the coming spring, it is the month to gather your tax papers,  it is the month to turn our clocks forward and begin Summertime mode, and it is the time to get your patio furniture out and cleaned ( even if we are truly blessed here in CA to have patio weather year round).

March is also the time for me to read the short story of M.A. Hansen “ Logneren” and it is time to sing the beautiful Danish spring song “The blue anemone”.

The Blue Anemone What happened?

The quartz of my winter frozen heart

will have to melt by seeing it on the first day of March.

What broke through the black soil

and with its sea blue bloom gave it

a dash of the sound of the sky?

The little anemone I planted there last year

This beautiful song was written by the poet pastor and resistance fighter during 2 World War, Kaj Munk. Kaj Munk was a complicated person, a pastor, a poet, a play writer, a husband, a father, a fiercely and courageous resistance man and a man with the sense of wonder of nature and creation.

In these days of March, it is exactly 75 years ago that Kaj Munk wrote his beautiful spring poem: The Blue Anemone. Rush will play it during offertory and we will sing it later today at the Danish Service.  The poem is not only about this fine little delicate blue flower, but even more about a human being and its creator. The story of the poem and song is about this little flower taken from it home of the good soil of Lolland and brutally moved to the far West of Jutland, Vedersø. Kaj Munk wrote:

I got it from Lolland, an endearment from my birth island.

So here I went on to wait and thought: »It's going to die;

obviously, it misses its forest area, its warm air, its fat clay;

in this hostile zone, my anemone will perish; I'll never see it again«.


Now there it is, nodding so victoriously in the Jutlandic gravel

indomitable and sure despite loneliness and haze,

as if all kinds of adversity here have given it a greater value,

a little amazon, and yet my anemone like the waving shine of the lake


Because this clean color, it seems to me like consecration of spring,

it lets me inherit an eternity of hope. Then I bow down towards the earth,

tenderly stroking your silk bloom, a piece of the throne of mercy.

Oh, little anemone, how our creator is great!

Anyone who has ever visited Denmark or lived in Denmark knows the vast difference between the fat soils, and blooming lilacs of Lolland and the poor soils, wind bend trees of Vest Jutland.  Kaj Munk was born in 1898 in Lolland, and he became the pastor in Vedersø in West Jutland in 1929. He was moved like the little anemone. Kaj Munk was a pastor and a man of his time and in his time. He took a stand, he made his points, and he did not only write and give his sermons on Sundays, he wrote plays, poems, and songs. With these words he expressed his opinions and his courage to stand for what was right.

When the Germans occupied Denmark, he did not remain silent as most of the Danes did. Kaj Munk spoke. And this beautiful poem and song about the little anemone, is one of these writings from the time of resistance and courage. Kaj Munk wrote the poem in March 1943, but since he was under censorship, it couldn’t be printed and published – so he made 300 copies on his own and used them as Christmas Cards at Christmas 1943. And shortly after in January 1944 Kaj Munk was picked up by Gestapo and found executed in Hørbylunde Bakker near Silkeborg. His death did spark the resistance in Denmark. His dream and hope to wake up the Danish People, did happen with his brutal death. Like a Holger Danske , he called to fight and to freedom. Kaj Munk listened to his calling and he did not waiver. He fought for the truth and against the power of darkness.

As the beautiful poem about the little blue Anemone became known after his death, it became a public token. When the composer added the beautiful melody in 1944 and the national singer Aksel Schiøtz sang it at a memorial Service for Kaj Munk in the Cathedral of Copenhagen in 1944 and later at the moving Liberation Service in 1945,- this song and poem became a national token of freedom, faith, and hope. Just recently the song was part of the Memorial service for his royal highness Prince Henrik.

It is indeed one of the most beautiful Danish songs of spring and it is an ode to life, light, and creation. This song was voted as the 4th most beloved Danish songs on a Top 10 in 2015, and it shows how it has become part of the Danish Culture and history.  This song and the entire story of the dramatic life of Kaj Munk, is truly reflected in the Gospel of today from John. Clearly it states that we must choose, we must choose the light over the darkness.

And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God. John 3

We must choose. We must choose the light over the darkness. We must choose the truth over the lie, the love over the hate, reconciliation over retaliation, the good over the bad. To choose is to believe in the light, the truth, the love, the forgiveness and the good.

Just as we sing in yet another of by favorite songs:

I want to paint the day blue, with a ray of sunshine,

Choose light over shadow, give myself a push forward,

Believe in everything even happiness. I want to paint the day blue.

Kaj Munk chose. And He lived his life according to that choice and he died for it. As Soren Kierkegaard said it was an existential question about either or. The choice was existential as Kaj Munk once said: “You cannot be a half saint, you have to be a whole saint or not saint at all!” Halfway, mediocracy, lukewarm was not a choice for him. Kaj Munk also said that "never never never ask if it has a purpose, just ask if it is true!” As the Gospel tells us that the truth will be revealed and celebrated in the light as the lie will hide in the darkness.

We too need to choose. Choose between light and darkness, truth and lie, good and evil. We too need to have the courage to be Saints and not just lukewarm mediocre people who never dares to take a stand. A stand for what you believe in and what is true.

Kaj Munk was a complicated man of truth and courage. And joy. He loved life. He loved life, his wife Lise, his children, his calling, his parish, his country, his freedom, and Gods nature. He lived and died strong and passionately and true.

His good friend Oscar Geismar said that the true age of Kaj Munk was 12. Kaj Munk loved to have water fights and pillow fights, he loved to play and drink tea in the garden. He loved the light and thus he had to fight the darkness. He was easy to laugh and smile, he was present in the moment and he loved to play jokes.

Kaj Munk was often annoyed that people in his parish was so occupied with what was going on in the parsonage, and one particular time when he thought that the gossip was really bad, he made a big sign and nailed it to the door of the Inn: ” Sunday evening at 8 o clock there will be a lecture about life in the parsonage. Sunday evening came, but when Kaj Munk didn’t show at the packed Inn and people had waited, some of the bravest and curios people of the parish went to the parsonage, knocked on the door. Kaj Munk answered the door in his slippers and bathrobe smoking his pipe, “Excuse us, but we you not supposed to give a lecture at the Inn about the life in the parsonage tonight?” they asked. “No,” Kaj Much said, “For that kind of lecture you do not need a speaker.”

This beautiful song about the blue anemone is an ode to joy, light and life and nature. As the last verse says:

Because this clean color, it seems to me like consecration of spring,

it lets me inherit an eternity of hope.

Then I bow down towards the earth, tenderly stroking your silk bloom,

a piece of the throne of mercy.

Oh, little anemone, how our creator is great!