14 Dec 2011

Dark Night of the Soul - St John of the Cross



Dark Night of the Soul
Songs of the soul rejoicing at having achieved the high state of perfection, the Union with God, by way of spiritual negation.

Once in the dark of night
When love ignited me, I yearned and rose
(O stroke of sheer delight!)
And went though no one knows,
Leaving behind a house in cold repose.

In darkness all went right.
By secret ladders, in clandestine clothes,
(O stroke of sheer delight!)
In darkness I arose
Leaving behind a house in cold repose.

And in the luck of night
In secret places where no other spied
I went without my sight
Without a light to guide
Except the heart that lit me from inside.

It guided me and shone
Surer than sunlight in the noonday blue
And lead me to the one,The one I truly knew
Who waited with nobody else in view.

O guiding dark of night!
O dark of night more darling than the dawn!
O night that can unite
A lover and loved one,
A lover and loved one moved in unison.

And on my flowering breast
Which I had kept for him and him alone
He slept as I caressed
And loved him for my own,
Breathing an air from redolent cedars blown.

And from the castle wall
The wind came down to winnow through his hair
Bidding his fingers fall,
Searing my throat with air
And all my senses were suspended there.


I stayed there to forget.
There on my lover, face to face, I lay.
All ended, and I let
My cares all fall away
Forgotten in the lilies on that day.


H/t to Frank Webster at Why I am Catholic for the translation.

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