Song of the Soul that Delights in Reaching the Supreme State

of perfection, that is, the union with God,

by the path of spiritual negation.

Upon a darkened night

on fire with all love’s longing

– O joyful flight! –

I left, none noticing,

my house, in silence, resting.

Secure, devoid of light,

by secret stairway, stealing

– O joyful flight! –

in darkness self-concealing,

my house, in silence, resting.

In the joy of night,

in secret so none saw me,

no object in my sight

no other light to guide me,

but what burned here inside me.

Which solely was my guide,

more surely than noon-glow,

to where he does abide,

one whom I deeply know,

a place where none did show.

O night, my guide!

O night, far kinder than the dawn!

O night that tied

the lover to the loved,

the loved in the lover there transformed!

On my flowering breast,

that breast I kept for him alone,

there he took his rest

while I regaled my own,

in lulling breezes from the cedars blown.

The breeze, from off the tower,

as I sieved through its windings

with calm hands, that hour,

my neck, in wounding,

left all my senses hanging.

Self abandoned, self forgot,

my face inclined to the beloved one:

all ceased, and I was not,

my cares now left behind, and gone:

there among the lilies all forgotten.


San Juan de la Cruz

The Dark Night, 1999