The Light of Your Way

by Symeon the New Theologian

English version by Ivan M. Granger
Original Language Greek

Holy are you, O Lord, holy, blessed and One.
Holy are you, and generous

for you have flooded my heart
     with the light of your way,

and you have raised up in me
     the Tree of Life.

You have shown me a new heaven
     upon the earth.
You have shown me a secret Garden,
     unseen within the seen.

Now am I joined soul and spirit
     present in your Presence --

your Presence that has waited long in me,
your Presence, the true Tree of Life,
     planted in whatever this earth is,
     planted in whatever it is that men are,
          planted, and rooted in the heart,

your Presence all at once revealing your Paradise
alive with every good green thing:
     grasses and trees and the fruiting bounty,
     a world of flowers!
          sweet-scented lilies!

Each little flower speaks a truth:
     humility and joy,
     peace, oh peace!
     kindness, compassion,
          the turning of the soul,

and the flood of tears
and the strange ecstasy
     of those bathed in your light.

-- from Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey, by Ivan M. Granger

<<Previous Poem | More Poems by Symeon the New Theologian | Next Poem >>


/ Photo by respres /


View All Poems by Symeon the New Theologian

Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Notice the imagery of light (a constant theme in Symeon's poetry)--

for you have flooded my heart
     with the light of your way...


--and the Tree of Life--

and you have raised up in me
     the Tree of Life.


These lead us to recognize God's Presence within:

Now am I joined soul and spirit
     present in your Presence --

your Presence that has waited long in me...


Knowing the sacred Presence, our blindness is removed and we finally see through the surface of things.

You have shown me a new heaven
     upon the earth.
You have shown me a secret Garden,
     unseen within the seen.


We discover the heaven that has always been hidden within the earth, shining beneath the gauze of the seen.

That leads to a startling realization: All of creation, the living earth itself, is a sacred, living garden, waiting for our eyes to open:

your Presence all at once revealing your Paradise
alive with every good green thing:
     grasses and trees and the fruiting bounty,
     a world of flowers!
          sweet-scented lilies!


People are always looking for their paradise somewhere else, somewhere "out there," but it is always and ever right here, within, in the present moment, present in the Presence. The problem is in how we see the living planet and our own selves -- or, rather, how we don't see them.

your Presence, the true Tree of Life,
     planted in whatever this earth is,
     planted in whatever it is that men are,
          planted, and rooted in the heart...


The Tree of Life is the center of the Garden, yet it is rooted in the heart. When we finally see it within, we see it everywhere, for it fills our awareness. As we find our hearts and discover the real life within, then we naturally interact with each other and the planet in awe and reverence. And in this way we steadily reveal paradise to one another.

Each little flower speaks a truth:
     humility and joy,
     peace, oh peace!
     kindness, compassion,
          the turning of the soul,

and the flood of tears
and the strange ecstasy
     of those bathed in your light.



Recommended Books: Symeon the New Theologian

Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry The Book of Mystical Chapters: Meditations on the Soul's Ascent from the Desert Fathers and Other Early Christian Contemplatives Hymns of Divine Love: Songs of praise by one of the great mystics of all church history Christian Mystics: Their Lives and Legacies throughout the Ages
More Books >>





The Light of Your