|Dag Hammarskjold trekking in the Swedish far north.|
(Photo: Gosta Lundquist, in the collection of Nordiska Museet)
Lean fare, austere forms,"The poem suggests the extent to which Hammarskjold acquired a sense of the sacred not only from religious literature and from those around him for whom Christianity was alive, but also from experience in Nature. The perception of the real, faithfully recorded here, cuts through theory and ideals to make itself known as the first fact. ... In summer he wrote of "the sacrament of the arctic summer night", in autumn of "the opening bars in the great hymn of extinction".
Brief delight, few words,
Low down in cool space
One star -
The morning star.
In the pale light of sparseness
Lives the Real Thing.
And we are real.
... "The mountains provide a new solitude", he wrote " ... It wasn't solitude for its own sake or in fearful withdrawal; it was solitude for the sake of more acutely perceiving "the Real Thing" and to be real alongside it."
- from "Hammarskjold - A Life" by Roger Lipsey, c. 2013, University of Michigan Press, p. 34