The Dark Night–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck


the dark night of the soul

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck: http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/ย  for which the theme this week is Peace, Relaxation, Spirituality. I chose to focus on one of the more difficult aspects of the spiritual life, termed by the Spanish Carmelite mystic, St. John of the Cross, as the dark night of the soul. Though it seems counterintuitive, this phase of spirituality can bring about a deep sense of peace.

“Oh, night that guided me more surely than the light of noonday to the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me–a place where none appeared. Oh, night that guided me, oh, night more lovely than the dawn, oh, night that joined Beloved with lover, lover transformed in the Beloved!”

St. John of the CrossDark Night of the Soul

The Dark Night

When night is bathed in ebony
and even stars are wont to pierce
through veils of clouds,
you stumble forward,
grasping crumbled walls
that close you in.

Bleak thoughts now pummel you
like angry fists that rage against
injustice. You breathe oppressive air,
musty, stagnant, born of rank suspicion
that your need shall never know
relief, that hunger rests un-sated.

Today there is no morrowโ€”
only haunting memories of days
unfolding without joy, Your faith
betrayed, you open wide your hand
and watch hope slip out between your
fingers, free of empty promises.

Tonight you stand alone,
shrouded by the chill of winter,
without clear vision. Death stretches
out his hand; you reach to take it,
but not before the nightingale sings.

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39 thoughts on “The Dark Night–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck

  1. i really like your writings ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for visiting my blog, and I put you on my blogroll

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  2. I’m not a spiritual person, but I appreciate this poem and its description of the “dark night” in a person’s life. Everybody experiences darkness, in one form or another. This is excellent poetry!

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  3. Really enjoyed the read. Powerful language used. Thank you for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. not before the nightingale sings….
    hmm.. sometimes I feel like strangling the nightingale to take that hand, Victoria.. a piercing poem..

    mine is here:
    http://leonnyes.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/searching/

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  5. Sam says:

    “your faith betrayed…” powerful words.

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  6. Carl says:

    This is a beautiful poem!

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  7. Ms. Peaches says:

    Victoria! I enjoy this dark spiritual piece very much it has a wonderful flow – I started reading it in my head and thought “no, start over and read it out loud” thanks for sharing!

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  8. Pat Cegan says:

    Have you read the book about Mother Teresa’s letters to her spiritual advisors? For all her miraculous and beautiful work, she suffered a life time of “dark nights of the soul.” Her letters were compelling!

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  9. Pat Cegan says:

    You are right that this parallels my poem. I have learned to welcome, or at least, recognize these moments that precede huge shifts for me. I now just say, what I am supposed to learn here. Your poem is one of the most beautiful poems I have read. Thank you for sharing this very personal and touching time that we all have. hugs, pat

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  10. Lyn says:

    What a phrase..”there is no morrow”..so deeplu felt. I love the hope of the nightingale!

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  11. […] liv2write2day's Blog Fiction, Poetry and Spirituality « The Dark Night–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck […]

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  12. pamela says:

    Victoria, a nice balance between dark and light.
    Well written piece.

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  13. thingy says:

    Unbelievably touching. This was so haunting.

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  14. mstevensson says:

    Beautiful and powerful! Well written

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  15. Kim Nelson says:

    You create deeply flavored imagery here. And I agree with your premise… my greatest personal growth has often developed on the heels of my greatest challenges, my darkest nights.

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  16. Bodhirose says:

    This is stunningly powerful. I could feel that place so well–of course I have been there… I’m sure many can relate to these tormenting feelings.

    That photo is very powerful as well and illustrates your words perfectly.

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  17. I especially enjoy the stanza beginning with “today there is no morrow”… I am a fan of John of the Cross. Such a beautiful soul. I am grateful for your courage in writing on this theme.

    Thank you!

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  18. hpicasso says:

    such a feeling of reward amidst finality…and he was a poet as well (I’m a googleholic)…your words capture time

    Peace, hp

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  19. yelena m. says:

    Beauty is the word for this poem. Loved the picture and words preceding the work with a quote from St. John. Thank you for sharing it very much.

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  20. Angela Cohan says:

    This is a powerful piece–great work.

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  21. tigerbrite says:

    Very spiritual and expressive. Got right to my heart as a friend died the day before yesterday.
    I have always loved John of the Cross poetry, especially when translated by Kathleen Jones… perfection.
    You might be interested in my blog about him
    http://planetcyberluz.com/2010/07/11/a-dark-night/
    Best wishes.

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  22. PinkLady says:

    darkness so consuming that one would wish for death to take him only to realize in the end that it is the same feeling of hopelessness that led him to find the light.

    what a hauntingly beautiful poem…

    http://pinklady-bing.blogspot.com/2011/01/peace-relaxation-and-spirituality.html
    http://pinklady-bing.blogspot.com/2011/01/last-dance.html

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  23. Scent of my heart says:

    Dark night engaged in words so beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

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  24. tasithoughts says:

    I felt the power of dark and light in your poem. Great read.

    JP

    http://tasithoughts.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/beyond-the-ceiling/

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  25. This poem reminds me of a cloudy day as the sun cracks through over the horizon. You have a true talent for building realistically beautiful imagery. Very much enjoyed the poem.

    crb.

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  26. Reflections says:

    Beauty, depth, soul piercing words, all leading to a peaceful song.

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  27. “Tonight you stand alone,
    shrouded by the chill of winter,”

    An excellent and engaging poem.

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  28. danroberson says:

    What a beautiful poem. Thank you.

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  29. Kavita says:

    OH wow!! There are days like this in each of our lives!! Days when nothing seems to make sense, when nothing goes your way!! Ugghhh
    But then, every tunnel has to end.. with light!!
    Loved the beacon-of-hope feel you have given to this poem towards the ends… it really very beautifully captures the essence of fighting against odds..
    A superb poem!

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  30. Brennan Bogert says:

    I really like the classic feel here, it’s almost Thomas Merton like

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  31. And the nightingale does sing. Profoundly beautiful. Much enamoured of John.

    Well done, Victoria. Thank you for this one.

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  32. Jingle says:

    the image makes me laugh.
    very superb piece.
    thanks for sharing with potluck…

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    A++

    Like

  33. souldipper says:

    To write it so well, you know it. Deep and piercing. What a fabulous photo – an eye within an eye.

    Like

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