Draw me after You!by Clare of Assisi
English version by Regis J. Armstrong, OFM CAP & Ignatius C. Brady, OFM
Original Language Italian
Draw me after You!
We will run in the fragrance of Your perfumes,
O heavenly Spouse!
I will run and not tire,
until You bring me into the wine-cellar,
until Your left hand is under my head
and Your right hand will embrace me happily
and You will kiss me with the happiest kiss of Your mouth.
|-- from Francis and Clare: The Complete Works: The Classics of Western Spirituality, Translated by Regis J. Armstrong, OFM CAP / Translated by Ignatius C. Brady, OFM|
/ Photo by gogoloopie /
A wonderfully intimate, almost erotic poem by Clare of Assisi.
This love poem to God reads like a chapter taken from the Song of Songs. It also shows an influence of the Troubadour songs so loved by St. Francis, with possibly a suggestion of the Sufi poetry that circulated through the Mediterranean, because of the Muslim kingdoms in Spain, North Africa, and the Near East.
The image of a divine "wine-cellar" is an especially interesting metaphor, one that often occurs in Sufi writings. Wine here is a reference to the sense of sweetness on the palette during the ecstasy of deep spiritual states, the sense of "drinking" a subtle substance that spreads a warmth through the heart and belly, and the giddiness and trembling that often accompany the state. This is the marriage wine of mystical union. To refer specifically to a "wine-cellar" also recalls the sense of being carried to another place, a place apart, a hidden place in which one secretly meets the Beloved, a place sometimes called the marriage chamber.
I love the translation of the last line, "...and you will kiss me with the happiest kiss of Your mouth." Such a sweet, intimate image of divine union. Beautiful!