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SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSSToday marks the feast day of John of the...



SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS

Today marks the feast day of John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz; 1542 – 14 December 1591). Early this morning I prayed with one of his poems. Read it out loud slowly.  Dance with, and then snuggle in the flow of its words. Which is the one verse that catches you attention?  Why?  Carry that verse with you through the day.

Of Falconry, by St. John of the Cross
(January 07, 1996)

Upon a quest of love,
hope sturdy and steadfast,
I flew so high, so high,
I caught the prey at last.

In this divine affair,
to triump—if I might—
I had to soar so high
I vanished out of sight.
Yet in the same ascent
my wings were failing fast—
but love arose so high
I caught the prey at last.

Just when this flight of mine
had reached its highest mark,
my eyes were dazzled so
I conquered in the dark.
I gave a blind black surge
for love—myself surpassed!
and went so high, so high
I caught the prey at last.

The higher up I went
there, in this dizzy game,
the lower I appeared,
more humble, weak, and lame.
I cried, But none can win!
and sinking fast oh fast
yet went so high, so high,
I caught the prey at last.

Then—marvelous!—I made
a thousand flights in one,
for hope of heaven will see
all it can wish, be done.
I hoped for this alone;
I hoped; was not downcast.
And went so high, so high,
I caught the prey at last.

From “The Poems of St. John of the Cross,” third edition, original Spanish texts and English translations by John Frederick Nims. (The University of Chicago Press, 1995) pages 37-39

Here’s the original in Spanish:

Tras de un amoroso lançe,
y no de esperança falto,
bolé tan alto, tan alto,
que le di a la caça alcançe.

Para que yo alcançe diese
a aqueste lançe diuino,
tanto bolar me conuino
que de vista me perdiese;
y, con todo, en este trançe
en el buelo quedé falto,
mas el amor fue tan alto
que le di a la caça alcançe.

Quando más alto subía
deslumbróseme la vista,
y la más fuerte conquista
en oscuro se fazía,
mas, por ser de amor el lance,
di un çiego y oscuro salto,
y fui tan alto, tan alto,
que le di a la caça alcançe.

Quanto más alto llegaua
de este lançe tan subido,
tanto más bajo y rendido
y abatido me hallaua;
dixe: No abrá quien alcançe;
y abatíme tanto, tanto,
que fui tan alto, tan alto,
que le di a la caça alcançe.

Por una estraña manera
mil buelos passé de un buelo,
porque esperança de çielo
tanto alcança cuanto espera;
esperé sólo este lançe
y en esperar no fui falto,
pues fui tan alto, tan alto
que le di a la caça alcançe.

Art: Saint John of the Cross by Sr Marie-Celeste Fadden O.C.D.



This post first appeared on A-MUSED, please read the originial post: here

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