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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Poem: “Stanzas of the Soul” by John of the Cross

 One dark night, 

fired with love’s urgent longings 

– ah, the sheer grace! – 

I went unseen, 

my house being now all stilled.


In darkness, and secure, 

by the secret ladder, disguised, 

– ah, the sheer grace! – 

in darkness and concealment, 

my house being now all stilled.


On that glad night, 

in secret, for no one saw me, 

nor did I look at anything, 

with no other light or guide 

than the one that burned in my heart.


This guided me                  

more surely than the light of noon 

to where he was awaiting me 

– him I knew so well – 

there is a place where no one appeared.

O guiding light! 

O night more lovely than the dawn! 

O night that has united 

the Lover and his beloved, 

transforming the beloved in her Lover.


Upon my flowering breast 

which I kept wholly for him alone, 

there he lay sleeping, 

and I caressing him 

there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.


When the breeze blew from the turret, 

as I parted his hair, 

it wounded my neck 

with its gentle hand, 

suspending all my senses.


I abandoned and forgot myself, 

laying my face on my Beloved;    

all things ceased; I went out from myself, 

leaving my cares 

forgotten among the lilies.

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