The Dark Night of the Soul

The Journey of Faith is often equated with the phrase “The Dark Night of the Soul.” It’s a time of struggle in order for us to rediscover our relationship with God. Yet the phrase itself refers to a poem by St. John of the Cross entitled “On a Dark Night,” and very much reflects the journey of faith.

Yet, surprisingly, this poem’s power is not in the desolation of the dark night, but rather, the joy of the journey of discover of our relationship with God. So, without further ado, here is the poem in its original ancient Spanish, with my translation of it.

La Noche Oscura Del Alma
San Juan De La Cruz
Tr Mark Crego 3-25-2020

Cançiones del alma que se goça d’auer llegado al alto estado de la perfecçion, que es la union con Dios, por el camino de la negaçion espiritual

Songs of the soul that are enjoyed upon having arrived at the high state of perfection, which is the Union with God, through the Way of spiritual negation.

En una noche oscura,
con ansias en amores imflamada,
¡oh dichosa uentura!
salí sin ser notada,
estando ya mi casa sosegada.

In a dark night
Burning with the desire of love
oh joyous adventure!
I went without being noticed
While all my house was at rest.

A escuras y segura,
por la secreta escala disfraçada,
¡oh dichosa uentura!
a escuras y ençelada,
estando ya mi casa sosegada.

In the safety of darkness,
By a secret ladder, disguised,
oh joyous adventure!
In darkness and concealed,
While all my house was at rest.

En la noche dichosa,
en secreto, que nadie me ueya,
ni yo miraua cosa,
sin otra luz ni guia
sino la que en el coraçon ardía.

In the joyous night,
In secret, where no-one saw me,
Neither did I look at anything;
Having no other light nor guide,
But that which blazed in the heart.

Aquesta me guiaua
mas cierto que la luz del mediodía,
adonde me esperaua
quien yo bien me sabía,
en parte donde nadie parecía.

This blaze guided me,
More surely than noonday sun,
To where awaited me
One who well understood me,
In the place no-one could see.

¡Oh noche que me guiaste!
¡oh noche amable mas que el aluorada!,
¡oh noche que juntaste
amado con amada,
amada en el amado transformada!

Oh night where you guided me!
Oh night more lovely than dawn!
Oh night where you joined
Lover with beloved,
Beloved in Lover transformed!

Y en mi pecho florido,
que entero para el solo se guardaua,
allí quedó dormido,
y yo le regalaua,
y el ventalle de cedros ayre daua.

And in my burning bosom,
Which I reserve only for my Lover,
Who remains there resting,
Whom I embrace
In the breeze of swaying cedars.

El ayre de la almena,
cuando ya sus cabellos esparzía,
con su mano serena
en mi cuello hería,
y todos mis sentidos suspendía.

When the air from the window
Parted my lovers hair,
With a calm hand,
My collar burst,
And all my senses suspended.

Quédeme y oluídeme,
el rostro recline sobre el amado,
ceso todo, y dexeme,
dexando mi cuidado
entre las açucenas olvidado.

I abandoned and forgot myself,
My face resting on my Beloved;
Ceasing all; I cast aside myself,
Leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.

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