MY HEAD WAS RESTING ON MY LOVEHere is a recording of one of my husband’s favourite poems, The Dark Night of the Soul, by the Spanish Catholic priest, mystic and Carmelite friar, Saint John of the Cross (1542 – 1591) The translation is by the great Roy Campbell. Such a deeply haunting poem of religious conversion. Absolutely sublime. The poem printed below is the David Lewis translation, also a thing of wonder. Love Susie. x

The Dark Night of the Soul


In a dark night,

With anxious love inflamed,

O, happy lot!

Forth unobserved I went,

My house being now at rest.


In darkness and in safety,

By the secret ladder, disguised,

O, happy lot!

In darkness and concealment,

My house being now at rest.


In that happy night,

In secret, seen of none,

Seeing nought myself,

Without other light or guide

Save that which in my heart was burning.


That light guided me

More surely than the noonday sun

To the place where He was waiting for me,

Whom I knew well,

And where none appeared.


O, guiding night;

O, night more lovely than the dawn;

O, night that hast united

The lover with His beloved,

And changed her into her love.


On my flowery bosom,

Kept whole for Him alone,

There He reposed and slept;

And I cherished Him, and the waving

Of the cedars fanned Him.


As His hair floated in the breeze

That from the turret blew,

He struck me on the neck

With His gentle hand,

And all sensation left me.


I continued in oblivion lost,

My head was resting on my love;

Lost to all things and myself,

And, amid the lilies forgotten,

Threw all my cares away.

Translated by David Lewis