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

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

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!

Recommended Books: Clare of Assisi

Francis and Clare: The Complete Works: The Classics of Western Spirituality All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time Sacred Voices: Essential Women's Voices Through the Ages Sacred Companions Sacred Community: Reflections with Clare of Assisi

Draw me after You!