Then shall I leap into loveby Mechthild of Magdeburg
English version by Frank J. Tobin
Original Language German
I cannot dance, Lord, unless you lead me.
If you want me to leap with abandon,
You must intone the song.
Then I shall leap into love,
From love into knowledge,
From knowledge into enjoyment,
And from enjoyment beyond all human sensations.
There I want to remain, yet want also to circle higher still.
|-- from Mechthild of Magdeburg: The Flowing Light of the Godhead (Classics of Western Spirituality), by Mechthild of Magdeburg / Translated by Frank J. Tobin|
This brief poem dances with us into deeper and deeper communion. It begins with us in the passive state of total surrender to the Divine ("I cannot dance, Lord, unless you lead me"). And indeed we are led. We are led to leap with abandon, into love, into knowledge, into enjoyment, and then "beyond all human sensations."
And just when we think there is nowhere else to go, when we "want to remain" in that still and expansive unity, Mechthild hits us with an explosion of new and incomprehensible aspiration "to circle higher still."
Our journey with Mechthild carries us from the passive to the fiercely active, yet it is in the passive that we leap and dance, and it is in the most wildly yearning that we are most complete and content and quiet...