The fire rises in me

by Symeon the New Theologian

English version by Ivan M. Granger
Original Language Greek

The fire rises in me,
     and lights up my heart.
Like the sun!
Like the golden disk!
Opening, expanding, radiant --
     Yes!
     -- a flame!

I say again:
     I don't know
     what to say!

I'd fall silent
-- If only I could --
but this marvel
     makes my heart leap,
it leaves me open mouthed
     like a fool,

urging me
     to summon words
     from my silence.

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

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This is a poem of fire and silence.

Why fire? In ecstasy, there is often a sense of heat -- filled with immense love -- that permeates the body. This warmth seems to emerge from the seat, flares in the belly, and rises upward, fanning out at the heart.

The fire rises in me,
and lights up my heart.


As this fire moves through the body, it also moves through the awareness, consuming all thoughts (or, more accurately, the tremors from which thoughts emerge).

I say again:
     I don't know
     what to say!


This fire burns away even the thought of "I" -- only the sense of this living flame remains.

it leaves me open mouthed
     like a fool...


But the heart, giddy with the expanding vista of bliss, nonetheless wants to share its joy. Though it has no words left, it still wishes to speak of "this marvel,"

urging me
     to summon words
     from my silence.



Have a day of bliss, fire and silence!



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
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The fire rises in me