Noche oscura

by San Juan de la Cruz
translated by Eric Rosenbloom
copyright 1999



In a dark night,
With longings fired in love
— O happy fate! —
I went unnoticed,
While my house was calm.

In darkness, certain,
By disguised and secret ladder
— O happy fate! —
In darkness, concealed,
While my house was calm.

In happy night,
In secret, that nobody saw me,
Nor I anything,
No light and guide
But what in my heart was burning.

It guided me
More surely than the midday light
To where he waited,
Who well I knew,
There where no one appeared.

O guiding night!
O night more kind than break of day!
O night that joined
Love with love,
Love in her lover transformed!

On my flowering breast
All kept for him alone —
Left sleeping there —
And I gave myself,
And the cedars gave the air their smell.

The scent of his brow
When I spread his hair,
His calm hand
Hard on my neck,
And all my senses suspended.

I lost myself,
I lay my face against my love,
Everything stopped,
My cares were left
Between the lilies all forgotten.