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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dark night of the Soul - Loreena McKennitt

May, 1993 - Stratford ... have been reading through the poetry of 15th century Spain, and I find myself drawn to one by the mystic writer and visionary St. John of the Cross; the untitled work is an exquisite, richly metaphoric love poem between himself and his god. It could pass as a love poem between any two at any time ... His approach seems more akin to early Islamic or Judaic works in its more direct route to communication to his god ... I have gone over three different translations of the poem, and am struck by how much a translation can alter our interpretation. Am reminded that most holy scriptures come to us in translation, resulting in a diversity of views. - Loreena McKennitt

Dark Night of the Soul

St. John of the Cross

Upon a darkened night

the flame of love was burning in my breast

And by a lantern bright

I fled my house while all in quiet rest

Shrouded by the night

and by the secret stair I quickly fled

The veil concealed my eyes

while all within lay quiet as the dead


Oh night thou was my guide

oh night more loving than the rising sun

Oh night that joined the lover

to the beloved one

transforming each of them into the other

Upon that misty night

in secrecy, beyond such mortal sight

Without a guide or light

than that which burned so deeply in my heart

That fire t'was led me on

and shone more bright than of the midday sun

To where he waited still

it was a place where no one else could come


Within my pounding heart
which kept itself entirely for him.
He fell into his sleep
beneath the cedars all my love I gave
and by the forest walls
the wind would brush his hair against his brow
And with its smoothest hand
caressed my every sense it would allow


I lost myself to him
and laid my face upon my lover's breast
and care and grief grew dim
as in the morning's mist became light
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair
There they dimmed amongst the lilies fair


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