Saturday, April 10, 2010

Living Flame of Love

This fourth poem of St John of the Cross I came across this morning. The book has a somewhat dank smell of basement living. It cost $1.50 some time ago - at least 35 years ago.

It is 271 pages on 4 short stanzas. A cursory read of the first few pages reveals a knowledge such as I have not seen in most blogging on the Bible.

The book is translated edited and with an introduction by E. Allison Peers from the critical edition of P. Silverio de Santa Teresa C.D. Probably it is online somewhere. I found it. (Or something close to it.) To think I could get $4.00 for this used copy - hah!

Here's the poem. But the exposition is astonishing. Perhaps I shall find a way to cite a bit here and there... Is it easier to understand than the Jabberwocky? There are people who have said to me that my sentences are grammatical but they can't understand them. (It would be fun to create some grammatical Hebrew to this effect - at least we know which letters form the grammar ...- maybe some day.)

Oh, living flame of love
That tenderly woundest my soul in its deepest centre,
Since thou are no longer oppressive, perfect me now if it be thy will,
Break the web of this sweet encounter.

Oh, sweet burn! Oh, delectable wound! 
Oh, soft hand! Oh, delicate touch
That savours of eternal life and pays every debt!
In slaying, thou has changed death into life.

Oh, lamps of fire, In whose splendours 
The deep caverns of sense which were dark and blind
With strange brightness
Give heat and light together to their Beloved!

How gently and lovingly thou awakenest in my bosom,
Where thou dwellest secretly and alone!
And in thy sweet breathing, full of blessing and glory,
How delicately thou inspirest my love!

Beloved, be still, and do not answer. But in this taste of eternal life, glory in the Spirit which from the Son, and in the Son, glories, God in God on your behalf, in this fragile earthen skin-bottle. Be still, Beloved.