As emphasized in our most recent issue of Nordstjernan, Midsummer is the most magical time of the year and it’s not just about the partying; it’s about recognizing the gifts of nature, embracing the passage of time and celebrating Sweden’s cultural heritage. For many, it is a symbolic day of spending time together, a day of renewal and hope.
All of June is a special time in Sweden, full of light, hope and new beginnings. Nature is at its peak, nights are long, life seems without end. Swedish author Harry Martinson may have said it best in his poem “Juninatten.” Published in the 1953 work Cikada and a dedication of the author’s love of natural science it was voted the favorite summer poem by Dagens Nyheter readers in 2020. Martinson later released the epic science fiction poem Aniara: en revy om människan i tid och rum, his international claim to fame. The work depicts the tragedy that occurs when a spaceship of Mars-bound colonists is set off course. This existentialist weaving of space and humanity was a key contributor for him to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1974, “for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos.” Criticism for his selection as a Nobel Laureate allegedly led to Martinson dying by suicide in 1978.
Ulf Barslund Martensson

Juninatten
av Harry Martinson

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Nu går solen knappast ner,
bländar bara av sitt sken.
Skymningsbård blir gryningstimme
varken tidig eller sen.

Insjön håller kvällens ljus
glidande på vattenspegeln
eller vacklande på vågor
som långt innan de ha mörknat
spegla morgonsolens lågor.

Juninatt blir aldrig av,
liknar mest en daggig dag.
Slöjlikt lyfter sig dess skymning
och bärs bort på ljusa hav.

The June Night
by Harry Martinson

Just now the sun will barely set
only dims its glow.
Twilight turns to hour of dawn
neither early nor late.

The inland sea holds the evening’s light
gliding on the water’s surface
or stumbling on the waves which
long before they darken,
reflect the flames of morning sun.

The June night never comes around
mainly feels like a dewy day.
Like a veil, its twilight rises
to be carried away on shining seas.