Tim Tomasi: A favorite poem

Full of Hope I Climbed the Day
St. John of the Cross (1542 – 1591)

When I heard this poem read by Werner Erhard, the founder of ‘est’ training, in 1978 at a seminar on Love, I was overwhelmed by the emotion of ‘love.’ At that time I was also hunting for love. Two years later I met my late partner Rudi who I knew immediately was my soul-mate. I had “caught my prey”… or did the prey catch me? Either way, I experienced the meaning of this poem. When Rudi and I took vows, he read this poem to me. Though St John spoke of spiritual love, Love and love, are they not the same?

Tim Tomasi
Retired Physician, age 69
San Jose

Full of Hope I Climbed the Day

Full of hope I climbed the day
while hunting the game of love,
and soared so high, high above
that I at last caught my prey.

In order to seize the game
— the divine love in the sky —
I had to fly so high, high
I floated unseen and became
lost in that dangerous day;
and so my flight fell short of
height — yet so high was my love
that I at last caught my prey.

Dazzled and stunned by light
as I rose nearer the sun,
my greatest conquest was won
in the very black of night.
Yet since love opened my way
I leapt dark, blindly above
and was so high, near my love,
that at last I caught my prey.

In this most exalted quest
the higher I began to soar
the lower I felt — more sore
and broken and depressed.
I said: None can seize the prey!
and groveled so low, so low
that high, higher did I go,
and at last I caught my prey.

By strange reckoning I saw
a thousand flights in one flight;
for hope of heavenly light
is achieved by hoping now.
I hoped only for this way
and was right to wait for love,
and climbed so high, high above
that at last I caught my prey.

St. John of the Cross (1542 – 1591)
English version by Willis Barnstone

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1 Comment

Filed under Favorite Poem

One response to “Tim Tomasi: A favorite poem

  1. Tim, I’ve read St. John of the Cross often in high school. But this is another side of him, of his thoughts. Thanks.
    Mary Lou

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