O love, you living flame
who wound with tender fire
my very soul, down to its depths descending!
No longer hushed by shame,
come now, to your desire;
sunder the veil that parts for sweet befriending.O soft subjection!
O wound that joys beget!
O gentle hand! O touch with pleasures rife
that hints at resurrection
and ransoms every debt!
You have done death to death, and made it life.O fiery lamps ignited-
whose bright resplendent gleams
light those deep caverns where the mind, in hiding,
dwelt blind and all benighted-
your dazzling radiance streams
warm rays on the beloved there abiding!How tenderly you love me
and conjure in my breast-
that secret place where you alone are treasured-
how”your sweet breath above me-
by heaven’s good possessed-
with what rare lover’s skill have I been pleasured!

Articles by St. John of the Cross, translated by Rhina P. Espaillat

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