Friday, October 24, 2014

St John Of The Cross - Verses on the Ecstasy of Deep Contemplation

I entered where there is no knowing,
and unknowing I remained,
all knowledge there transcending.

Where no knowing is I entered,
yet when I my own self saw there
without knowing where I rested
great things I understood there,
yet cannot say what I felt there,
since I rested in unknowing,
all knowledge there transcending.
Of peace and of holy good
there was perfect knowing,
in profoundest solitude
the only true way seeing,
yet so secret is the thing
that I was left here stammering,
all knowledge there transcending.
I was left there so absorbed,
so entranced, and so removed,
that my senses were abroad,
robbed of all sensation proved,
and my spirit then was moved
with an unknown knowing,
all knowledge there transcending.
He who reaches there in truth
from himself is parted though,
and all that before he knew
seems to him but base below,
his knowledge increases so
that knowledge has an ending,
all knowledge there transcending.
The higher he climbs however
the less he’ll ever understand,
because the cloud grows darker
that lit the night on every hand:
whoever visits this dark land
rests forever in unknowing,
all knowledge there transcending.
This knowledge of unknowing
is of so profound a power
that no wise men arguing
will ever supersede its hour:
their wisdom cannot reach the tower
where knowing has an ending,
all knowledge there transcending.
It is of such true excellence
this highest understanding,
no science, no human sense,
has it in its grasping,
yet he who, by self-conquering
grasps knowing in unknowing,
goes evermore transcending.
And in the deepest sense,
this highest knowledge lies,
of the divine essence,
if you would be wise:
his mercy so it does comprise,
each one leaving in unknowing,
all knowledge there transcending.

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