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Dark Night Poetry

Poetry I encountered during my own 7-8 year "Dark Night", "Emptiness", "Rotting", "Void" period of my spiritual life, which was an extreme blessing in disguise. Very difficult... maybe not completely over... but so worth it all. I hope this helps you.

There IS light at the end of the tunnel. Know that!

Love, Love, Love

"I said to my soul, be still,

and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing;

wait without love,

For love would be love of the wrong thing;

there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought,

for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light,

and the stillness the dancing."

from section III of EAST COKER (No. 2 of 'Four Quartets') ~ T.S. Eliot

The Invitation When God comes in your house it is only by your invitation, but even your invitation is God's, for she has always been landlady and tenant, windows and walls, the fire in your hearth and the cold wind blowing at your door. At first, her visits seem so welcome. She brings tea and cookies and loves you so sweetly inside your own heart. You keep inviting her back by your prayers and meditations, imagining you've found the one you always wanted who will hold you on her endless lap and take away your pain forever. But pretty soon, she starts arriving unexpectedly, at odd hours of the day and night, and every time she comes, she takes something away– a pretty picture here, a bookcase there, maybe even some trash you are happy to be rid of in your basement. But at some point, it occurs to you she intends to move in completely. And now the mind starts backing up: "Perhaps you could come back another day, after I've worked on my house, after I've bought nicer furniture, after I've finished my fight with evil, after I've planted a peace garden." But you must know that if you invite God in, sooner or later she will set up house, and when she does, beware; for she tosses out every single thing she does not need, which, in the case of the personality, is every single thing you thought you were. Every thought and cherished belief she just throws out on the garbage heap; and that might be fine if she replaced them, but she never replaces those sacred thoughts; she utterly destroys them. She strips the coverings off the walls, and peels the paper from the window glass, opens the door to invite in the wind, and every creature you wanted kept out. Sometimes she cleans your house gently, dismantling it room by room. But often, she just comes in with a torch, and you feel in your gut the fire burn in the center of your separate comfort, and you watch the contents of your house melt and turn to ash, and the roof blow off. And just when you think there is nothing more that she could take, she opens the ground beneath the barely intact shell of your house, and all the levels of your being fall into the space that has no name; and you are left alone in all the world, without a map, without a path, without a point of view. And you know you are creator of your dreams, your dreams of mountains and rivers, calm seas and storm clouds, crashes of lightning and spacecraft, beautiful babies asleep at the breast, joyful dancing and puppies at play, Spring's new blossoms, and the threat of Winter's war. And at this point, what you are inside your house is simply What is looking out. Nothing's left but what is looking, yet everything you see is you. Now your life turns inside out. Your body is the world of being looking out of Just What Is. And strange as it seems to the mind of your memory, you enjoy each dance of yourself, even the pains you hoped to be rid of, you experience fully without regret. For everywhere your eye may look, all it sees is infinite love displaying itself in creation. And just to be completely honest, there are times you might be tempted to rebuild your house of concepts, for the mind just loves to think; but the fire of Truth resides within you, where it always lived before you knew, and it keeps revealing moment to moment what is false and what is true. So what can be said about what happens when God takes over her house? She laughs and simply sips her tea, washes her dishes and sleeps when it's time, then goes to find another house where there has been an invitation, an invitation to come in from the deep, deep love of Herself. © Dorothy Hunt, Only This

Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower

"Quiet friend who has come so far, feel how your breathing makes more space around you. Let this darkness be a bell tower and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength. Move back and forth into the change. What is it like, such intensity of pain? If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night, be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses, the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you, say to the silent earth: I flow. To the rushing water, speak: I am."

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29 ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

poem from the Book of Hours

"You darkness from which I come, I love you more than all the fires that fence out the world, for the fire makes a circle for everyone so that no one sees you anymore. But darkness holds it all: the shape and the flame, the animal and myself, how it holds them, all powers, all sight —

and it is possible: its great strength is breaking into my body. I have faith in the night."

Rainer Maria Rilke

Translation by David Whyte

Dark Night of the Soul Songs of the soul rejoicing at having achieved the high state of perfection,

the Union with God, by way of spiritual negation. "Once in the dark of night, Inflamed with love and yearning, I arose (O coming of delight!) And went, as no one knows, When all my house lay long in deep repose All in the dark went right, Down secret steps, disguised in other clothes, (O coming of delight!) In dark when no one knows, When all my house lay long in deep repose. And in the luck of night In secret places where no other spied I went without my sight Without a light to guide Except the heart that lit me from inside. It guided me and shone Surer than noonday sunlight over me, And lead me to the one Whom only I could see Deep in a place where only we could be. O guiding dark of night! O dark of night more darling than the dawn! O night that can unite A lover and loved one, Lover and loved one moved in unison. And on my flowering breast Which I had kept for him and him alone He slept as I caressed And loved him for my own, Breathing an air from redolent cedars blown. And from the castle wall The wind came down to winnow through his hair Bidding his fingers fall, Searing my throat with air And all my senses were suspended there. I stayed there to forget. There on my lover, face to face, I lay. All ended, and I let My cares all fall away Forgotten in the lilies on that day."

St. John of the Cross Translation by A.Z. Foreman

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