Sunday, 29 March 2015

O living flame of love

O living flame of Love,
how tenderly You wound
my soul’s deep heart.
Make happy ending of
our sweet embrace that, bound,
would pains impart.

O searing, are you sweet;
O wound, are you delight
from such a hand.
Your mortal touch of heat
sets dying life alight,
all debt thus banned.

Now deep, where feeling dwelt
in caverns blind, obscure,
shine lamps of fire !
In warmth let them be felt,
and lovely light be pure
for their Desire.

Where good and glory rest
Your secret breathings wake
from sleep and move,
so gentle in my breast,
by tender pains to make
me fall in love.

St John of the Cross ODC 1542-1591
English translation and adaptation by Mark Woodruff (c) June 1999.
This is a compact version of a fuller translation with another line in each stanza from 1998 that I am revising still.  It goes with a musical setting that I have also been written, but the verses are more poem than hymn.

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