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The Dark Night

Songs
of the soul, which rejoices at having reached
that lofty state of perfection:
union with God by the way
of spiritual negation

Once in the dark of night
when love burned bright with yearning, I arose
(0 windfall of delight!)
and how I left none knows-
dead to the world my house in deep repose;

in the dark, where all goes right, thanks to a secret ladder, other clothes,
(O windfall of delight 1)
in the dark, enwrapped in those-
dead to the world my house in deep repose.

There in the lucky dark,
none to observe me, darkness far and wide·,
no sign for me to mark,
no other light, no guide
except for my heart-the fire, the fire inside!

[1]

That led me on
true as the very noon is-truer too ! –
to where there waited one
I knew-how well I knew!-
in a place where no one was in view.

O dark of night, my guide!
night dearer than anything all your dawns discover!
o night drawing side to side
the loved and lover-
she that the lover loves, lost in the lover!

Upon my flowering breast,
kept for his pleasure garden, his alone,
the lover was sunk in rest;
I cherished him-my own1-
there in air from plumes of the cedar blown.

In air from the castle wall
as my hand in his hair moved lovingly at play,
he let cool fingers fall
-and the fire there where they layJ-=
all senses in oblivion drift away.

I stayed, not minding me;
my forehead on the lover I reclined. Earth ending, I went free,
left all my care behind
among the lilies falling and out of mind.

Brad Miner is senior editor of The Catholic Thing, senior fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute, and Board Secretary of Aid to the Church In Need USA. He is a former Literary Editor of National Review. His new book, Sons of St. Patrick, written with George J. Marlin, is now on sale. The Compleat Gentleman, is available on audio.