The Castle Within–dVerse OLN

Earthen Lamp–Labeled for non-commercial reuse.

The Castle Within
A Sestina
Revised 7/25/19

The Soul
Journey to a place that’s sacred,
travel above, below, within.
I walk a path of emptiness
not knowing who it is I seek.
Clouds catch colors that fill the sky
casting reflections on pure water.

Satan
Naked, submerged in fetid water,
utter words, evoke the sacred,
brandish ideas across the sky,
soak in lies that stir within
not knowing what it is you seek
embracing only emptiness.

not understanding emptiness,
your thirst ne’er quenched by stagnant water
you do not know the source you seek
cathedrals, temples, though deemed sacred
cannot answer those doubts within
though spires stretch, they reach not sky.

Drowned in mystery—above, the sky.
Below—a trough of emptiness
that murkiness you find within.
Troubled tempest of primal water
envelops all that you hold sacred,
eludes the meaning that you seek.

What is it, soul, that you seek?
To know who lies beyond the sky?
To touch the silk of all that’s sacred?
To fill the void of emptiness?
Blissful, to float in limpid water?
To satisfy yearnings within?

The Soul
Satan, begone, for here within
the castle of my soul I seek
not to probe the depth of water,
nor soar to crystal heights of sky.
You tempt, betray my emptiness,
eschew the gifts that I hold sacred.

Love Speaks
Your emptiness has birthed the sacred,
immersed in water—filled within
because you seek, you touch the sky.

(Based on the writings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.)

I rewrote this 2011 poem for dVerse Open Link Night, paying more attention to the form–a Sestina with an attempt at iambic tetrameter.

The Dark Night–dVerse Poetics

Photo: jjhiii24.wordpress.com

Photo: jjhiii24.wordpress.com

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 morrow—
only haunting memories of days
unfolded 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.

Anthony’s prompt for dVerse Poetics is to write to darkness, but bring in a bit a light. This is based on “The Dark Night of the Soul” by John of the Cross. The doors to the Poetry Pub will open Tuesday, 3:00 PM EDT. We would love to have you stop by.

The Dark Night–Jingle’s Poetry Potluck

the dark night of the soul

Submitted to Jingle’s Poetry Potluck: http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/  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 morrow—
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.