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Ebook The Poems of St John of the Cross by San Juan de la Cruz read! Book Title: The Poems of St John of the Cross
The author of the book: San Juan de la Cruz
Edition: New Directions
Date of issue: January 17th 1972
ISBN: 0811204499
ISBN 13: 9780811204491
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 577 KB
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Any heart ardent with prayer will find an illumined and faithful companion in San Juan de La Cruz (Saint John of the Cross), justifiably honored within his tradition with the appellation Spiritual Doctor.

Many poets who write in Spanish consider San Juan to be first among poets in that tongue.

In San Juan's verse, divinity is often known simply as el amado, the beloved, the only balm able to cure the soul's gaping wound of separation from divinity. In his writing, San Juan finds himself in the predicament of having to invoke sensual images to convey what is beyond the senses. And, like his friend Teresa of Avila, he is painfully aware of the inability of words and concepts to express the divinity. In one passage he writes that it is precisely our limited conceptions of the beloved that wound and kill us daily, and that to blossom spiritually we must constanty transcend such arrows.

After all, Juan found himself incarcerated by a powerful institution in the business of producing limited conceptions of the beloved: the Church. They shoved Juan into a dark, cramped dungeon, where he subsisted on mere crumbs -- and divine mana.

His crime: to call for deeper prayer so that the soul can embrace divinity nakedly, without eccesiastical middle men. But, San Juan's call came at a time when the Church favored rigid ritual and dogma over interior piety, which it disesteemed as an activity reeking of the practicies of their great new challange, Protestantism.

In the darkness of his dungeon cell, Juan became absorbed into the light of divinity. His verse is his testament to the fact that nothing in the world can bring peace to the soul except the embrace of the beloved, and that this is our true vocation.

In one verse he writes of the soul as white dove (blanca palomica):

En solidad vivia
y en soledad ha puesto ya su nido,
y en soledad la guia
a solas su querido,
tambien en soledad de amor herido.

A literal translation:

She lived in solitude,
and in solitude she made her nest
and all alone her lover
led her in solitude,
also wounded in solitude by love.

Nims' translation:

Hers were the lonely days;
in loneliest of solitudes her nest.
Her guide on lonesome ways
her love -- ah, loneliest,
that arrow from the desert in his breast.

Anyone with a little Spanish can see how severely Nims has departed from the meaning, for the sake of rhyme.

Verse, famously, is that which evades translation. The attempt, though, puts one in company with San Juan in his efforts to render the Word in mere words.

Effective translations re-imagine rather than merely attempt to recreate the original. What such a translator seeks, as does San Juan, is not memisis but a felt resonance between two souls, a spiritual harmony that transcends differences and details of embodiment.

Ezra Pound's translations of Chinese verse succeed in this, as do San Juan's "translations" of what lies beyond all knowledge.

Most translators -- of both verse and spirit -- lack Pound's and San Juan's gifts. Yet, we must laud them for bringing us into any degree of felt affinity with the forces that inspired their art.

If readers prefer a more literal translation, I suggest Willis Barstone's renderings, which have the same title as the one here under consideration.

Those who do not speak Spanish may wish to read both in order to have two lenses into San Juan's world.

Those who do speak Spanish will surely experience both spiritual and embodied bliss.


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Read information about the author

Ebook The Poems of St John of the Cross read Online! San Juan de la Cruz (English: St. John of the Cross), born Juan de Yepes Álvarez, was a major Counter-Reformation figure, a Spanish mystic, Catholic saint, Carmelite friar & priest. He was a reformer of the Carmelite Order & is considered, along with St Teresa of Ávila, as a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. He's also known for his writings. Both his poetry & his studies on the growth of the soul are considered the summit of mystical Spanish literature & a peak of all Spanish literature. He was canonized as a saint in 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII. He is one of the 33 Doctors of the Church.


Reviews of the The Poems of St John of the Cross


ARTHUR

A hard book, obviously not for everyone.

JAMES

Reality has surpassed expectations.

IVY

You can, and you should read it.

HARVEY

Now this book is one of my favorites!

SKYE

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