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Dark Night

by
 (John of the Cross) 


 In a dark night, when the light
 burning was the burning of love (fortuitous
 night, fated, free,--)
 as I stole from my dark house, dark
 house that was silent, grave, sleeping,--

 by the staircase that was secret, hidden,
 safe: disguised by darkness (fortuitous
 night, fated, free,--)
 by darkness and by cunning, dark
 house that was silent, grave, sleeping--;

 in that sweet night, secret, seen by
 no one and seeing
 nothing, my only light or
 guide
 the burning in my burning heart,

 night was the guide
 to the place where he for whom I
 waited, whom I had long ago chosen,
 waits: night
 brighter than noon, in which none can see--;

night was the guide
 sweeter than the sun raw at
 dawn, for there the burning bridegroom is
 bride
 and he who chose at last is chosen.
* As he lay sleeping on my sleepless breast, kept from the beginning for him alone, lying on the gift I gave as the restless fragrant cedars moved the restless winds,-- winds from the circling parapet circling us as I lay there touching and lifting his hair,-- with his sovereign hand, he wounded my neck- and my senses, when they touched that, touched nothing.
.
.
In a dark night (there where I lost myself,--) as I leaned to rest in his smooth white breast, everything ceased and left me, forgotten in the grave of forgotten lilies.

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