FEBRUARY 5, 1954
NEW YORK, Thursday—Every child who has ever been allowed to read fairy stories must have read and enjoyed those written by Hans Christian Andersen. He was a great storyteller who lived from 1805 to 1875 but he was a poet as well as a storyteller and when he was on his deathbed, knowing he was soon to die, he wrote his own death poem. Someone translated it and sent it to me the other day. I like it so much that I want to share it with my readers.
To great realms of the spirit
God ordered me, I went in faith,
Forward with brow uplifted,
All that I gave belonged to God,
My talents quite unknowing
I sang what heart and feeling brought,
Like birds, like flowers growing.
Goodbye, my friends beloved!
Bear me away, you mighty death,
Although this life I covet.
Have thanks, O God, for life and breath,
Have thanks for what's advancing,
Above time's ocean fly! O death!
To wonders beyond fancying.
On Tuesday, after a morning at the American Association for the U.N. office, I went to lunch with Mrs. Lewis Thompson, who is determined to see that next year's conference in Philadelphia shall deal adequately and in a new way with the question of juvenile delinquents. She wants to draw the home and school and the church closer together to prevent the rapid increase in our institutional population. She wants to hear people discuss it adequately by discussing the role of the home, the school and the church and evaluating their strengths and their failures. I think she sold her idea to all the gentlemen present, and there may well be some rather novel programs at the next prison conference.
In the afternoon I went to the Harper Building and visited Mr. Cass Canfield in his office, something I might have done a long time ago, but I enjoyed doing it Tuesday. It is always pleasant in an atmosphere where books surround you.
Harper's Magazine has much to do with camps and camping and so the camp directors' convention, which is meeting here, held a tea in Harper's offices and it was a very pleasant and agreeable hour which I spent talking with them. They came from all over the United States, Wisconsin to Maine, and I was given some alluring invitations to stop and see their camps this coming summer.