“Forelsket” by Ele Davis

I can’t help falling in love. With words. With art. With artful words. With wordful art. So, with Ele Davis’s permission, I’m sharing with you one more of her paintings and word choices that I saw at The Gentry in Cochrane. It is a particularly enamored, smitten word, and a subject painted lovingly, with all the red and blue shades of the heart. All of which says forelsket.

If that word doesn’t look like so lovely and loving to you, that’s not surprising; we’re speaking English, and it’s a Danish word. It may bring some sense of flora to your eyes, but it will be sketchy if so, and other resonances are even less likely. In English, the letter in particular is funky but tends towards the unromantic. But in Danish, it’s the heart of elske, ‘love’, as in Jeg elsker dig, “I love you.” (That does not sound the way it looks to English eyes; on hearing it, we would expect to see something more like ya elska dye.)

Wise men say only fools rush in, but in Danish it’s the for that rushes in to make elske into forelske, ‘fall in love’. The past participle of that is forelsket, and it can be used as an adjective or adverb, like lovestruck or lovingly. Forget about saying it the Danish way – the is dropped and the final is reduced to a sound between the th in then and the in Calgary – but you can put the stress on the el, anyway. That’s el as in for love – and as in Ele Davis, whose paintings and words I think are lovely.

With people, being too widely and freely lovestruck could be complicating, of course. But with artful things – images, languages, what have you – you are free to fall in love with whatever you choose, or whatever chooses you. And the more that is forelsket, the better.

4 responses to “forelsket

  1. Is that word associated with helter-skelter?

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