“Once in the dark of night,
my longings caught and raging in love’s ray
(O windfall of delight!)
I slipped unseen away
as all my home in a deep slumber lay.

Secure, in more than night,
close hid and up the stair a secret way
(O windfall of delight!)
in the night, in feigned array
as all my home in a deep slumber lay.

There in the lucky dark,
stealing in secrecy, by none espied;
nothing for eyes to mark,
no other light, no guide
but in my heart: that fire would not subside.

That led me on—
that dazzle truer than high noon is true
to where there waited one
I knew—how well I knew!—
in a place where no one was in view.

O dark of night, my guide!
O sweeter than anything sunrise can discover!
O night, drawing side to side
the loved and lover,
the loved one wholly ensouling in the lover.

There in my festive breast
walled for his pleasure-garden, his alone,
the lover remained at rest
and I gave all I own,
gave all, in air from the cedars softly blown.

All, in wind from the wall
as my hand in his hair moved lovingly at play.
He let my soft fingers fall
and I swooned dead away
wounded: all senses in oblivion lay.

Quite out of self suspended—
my forehead on the lover’s own reclined.
And that way the world ended
with all my cares untwined
among the lilies falling and out of mind.”

firma-san-juan-de-la-cruz

 

 

—San Juan de la Cruz, La noche oscura del alma
Tr. John Frederick Nims

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