ISBN is

978-0-226-40108-9 / 9780226401089

The Poems of St. John of the Cross

by

Publisher:Univ of Chicago Pr (Tx)

Edition:Hardcover

Language:English

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About the book:

The Poems of St. John of the Cross, translated by Ken Krabbenhoft, burn with the ecstatic fury of the Psalms and sail in the radiant peace of the poet Rumi.

St. John of the Cross was born in Spain in 1542 and was imprisoned in 1577 for his devotion to the teachings of St. Teresa of Avila. During his imprisonment, he wrote most of the poems that have earned him the reputation as the greatest poet of the Christian mystical tradition. The poems, presented here in a beautifully printed, lightly illustrated Spanish/English edition, often blur the line between romantic and religious love, in the tradition of Song of Songs. "On a Dark Night," for example, begins with a lover whose gender is not identified, stealing out of a house, down a secret ladder, following "my only light and guide / the light that burned in my heart," to find "the one I knew would come, / where surely no one would find us." The poem ends with a breathtaking image of spiritual and sensual contentment: "On the ramparts / while I sat ruffling his hair / the air struck my neck / with its gentle hand, / leaving my senses suspended. / I stayed; I surrendered, / resting my face on my Beloved. / Nothing mattered. / I left my cares / forgotten among the lilies." These are poems to read aloud to a lover, poems to read silently before God, poems that quiver before the world's beauty and thankfully seek to describe something beyond it--a God whose undeniable intimacy with humanity always edges toward the ineffable. --Michael Joseph Gross

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