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“Song of the Soul That Rejoices In Knowing God Through Faith.”

28 February 2017

Below is the Irish Poet Seamus Heaney’s translation from St John of the Cross’, “Song of the Soul That Rejoices In Knowing God Through Faith.”  It is included in Heaney’s collection titled Station Island XI.  

Without hope, Without fear --Nota Bene.jpg

As if the prisms of the kaleidoscope

I plunged once in a butt of muddied water

Surfaced like a marvellous lightship

.

And out of its silted crystals a monk’s face

That had spoken years ago from behind a grille

Spoke again about the need and chance

.

To salvage everything, to re-envisage

The zenith and glimpsed jewels of any gift

Mistakenly abased …

.

What came to nothing could always be replenished.

.

‘Read poems as prayers,’ he said, ‘and for your penance

Translate me something by Juan de la Cruz.’

,

Returned from Spain to our chapped wilderness,

His consonants aspirate, his forehead shining,

He had made me feel there was nothing to confess.

.

Now his sandaled passage stirred me on to this:

.

How well I know that fountain, filling, running,

Although it is the night.

.

That eternal fountain, hidden away

I know its haven and its secrecy

Although it is the night

.

But not its source because it does not have one,

Which is all sources’ source and origin?

Although it is the night.

.

No other thing can be so beautiful.

Here the earth and heaven drink their fill

Although it is the night.

.

So pellucid it never can be muddied,

And I know that all light radiates from it

Although it is the night.

.

I know no sounding-line can find its bottom,

Nobody ford or plumb its deepest fathom

Although it is the night.

.

And its current so in flood it overspills

To water hell and heaven and all peoples

Although it is the night.

.

And the current that is generated there,

As far as it wills to, it can flow that far

Although it is the night.

.

And from these two a third current proceeds

Which neither of these two, I know, precedes

Although it is the night.

.

This eternal fountain hides and splashes

Within this living bread that is life to us

Although it is the night.

.

Hear it calling out to every creature.

And they drink these waters, although it is dark here

Because it is the night.

.

I am repining for this living fountain.

Within this bread of life I see it plain

Although it is the night.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 1 March 2017 1:24 pm

    Reblogged this on hesychastic.

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