18 JUNE 1961

by Dag Hammarskjold (1905-61) tr. by Leif Sjoberg

He will come out
Between two warders,
Lean and sunburnt,
A little bent,
As if apologising
For his strength,
His features tense,
But looking quite calm.

He will take off his jacket
And, with shirt torn open.
Stand up against the wall
To be executed.

He has not betrayed us.
He will meet his end.
Without weakness.
When I feel anxious,
It is not for him.
Do I fear a compulsion in me
To be so destroyed?
Or is there someone
In the depths of my being,
Waiting for permission
To pull the trigger.

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