Sunday 19 April 2015

Passing by, leaving his mark


I remember a line from John of the Cross that I love very much: "no cogeré las flores, ni temeré a las fieras": I will not pluck the flowers, nor will I fear the wild beasts. I will not let the good things detain me, nor will I let the bad things overwhelm me.

Here are the verses: beautiful.

Buscando mis amores
iré por esos montes y riberas;
no cogeré las flores,
ni temeré a las fieras,
y pasaré los fuertes y fronteras.
¡Oh bosques y espesuras
plantadas por la mano del Amado!,
¡oh prado de verduras
de flores esmaltado!,
decid si por vosotros ha pasado.
Mil gracias derramando
pasó por estos sotos con presura;
y, yéndolos mirando,
con sola su figura
vestidos los dejó de su hermosura.

In an English translation which I wish could be improved:

3. Seeking my Love
I will head for the mountains and for watersides,
I will not gather flowers,
nor fear wild beasts;
I will go beyond strong men and frontiers.
4. O woods and thickets,
planted by the hand of my Beloved!
O green meadow,
coated, bright, with flowers,
tell me, has he passed by you?
5. Pouring out a thousand graces,
he passed these groves in haste;
and having looked at them,
with his image alone,
clothed them in beauty.

I find myself thinking of the beauty of Bether, and of the marvellous images that still fill my mind and heart of the road to Bether, the valley of Rephaim, not so far from Bethlehem and Cremisan, where the young David must have grazed his sheep. An April month, gloriously springtime, with the spring of the eunuch baptized by Philip, and the ruins of the Byzantine monasteries, and Vernet making us read the Psalm of the Good Shepherd under a fig tree thrusting out tender green leaves and little figs, with Ratisbonnians sitting around.

"Looking for my Beloved, I head for the mountains and the streams. The flowers are wonderful in springtime, and we hope to see the gazelles, but the wild beasts are long vanished. The strong men and the checkpoints are there though, not the same ones, but new. But nothing seems to diminish the beauty of woods and thickets planted by the Beloved, green meadows, coated bright with flowers. He has been here, he has seen this which his hand has planted. And even though he passed in haste, and a long time ago, even his look was enough to clothe them in beauty."

y, yéndolos mirando,
con sola su figura
vestidos los dejó de su hermosura.


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