Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Fountain

The Fountain
by St. John of the Cross

English version by Willis Barnstone

How well I know that flowing spring
in black of night.

The eternal fountain is unseen.
How well I know where she has been
in black of night.

I do not know her origin.
None. Yet in her all things begin
in black of night.

I know that nothing is so fair
and earth and firmament drink there
in black of night.

I know that none can wade inside
to find her bright bottomless tide
in black of night.

Her shining never has a blur;
I know that all light comes from her
in black of night.

I know her streams converge and swell
and nourish people, skies and hell
in black of night.

The stream whose birth is in this source
I know has a gigantic force
in black of night.

The stream from but these two proceeds
yet neither one, I know, precedes
in black of night.

The eternal fountain is unseen
in living bread that gives us being
in black of night.

She calls on all mankind to start
to drink her water, though in dark,
for black is night.

O living fountain that I crave,
in bread of life I see her flame
in black of night.

Ghent Altarpiece (detail), Jan van Eyck.

St. John of the Cross was a Spanish Christian mystic and poet of the 16th century.
The Eternal Fountain is an image of the Kundalini, the nourishing energy of the Holy Spirit, which John describes as the feminine aspect of the Divine.


Tilopa said...

A very beautiful poem. I have been following and admiring your blog for some time-- this is my first post.

My interpretation of St John's words is different from yours, however-- or perhaps it is the same, but I have misinterpreted your interpretation!

I take the black night to be the godhead, the Causal realm, the unmanifest or nirvikalpa samadhi (as I am more comfortable calling it... I cannot help but feel uncomfortable towards the "baggage" of the word God). If this were a correct interpretation, it would be of a "realm" that is prior to kundalini, which is manifest FROM the causal (and is subtle).

I would be very interested in hearing your interpretation of my interpretation, if you have the time and the inkling. Feel free to write me back:

Rest well, always.

jeronimus said...

Hi Tilopa.
Thanks for your kind comment about the blog.
I'm glad you are enjoying it.

I think our interpretation is probably the same.
Like you, I had in mind that the dark night is the Unmanifest but I neglected to mention this in the post. I was focussed on the Fountain as a symbol of the Kundalini and the Divine Feminine which manifests the universe.
It's interesting that a Christian saint seems to identify the Holy Spirit as a feminine being. Although their is precedent for this in the Old Testament.

jeronimus said...

Hi Tilopa.
Just wanted to add:
wishing you all the blessings of the Fountain.