Articles and Poems


Ten Things Religious Pundits Need To Know About Gnosticism
by Jordan Stratford
The Vine
Jim Burklo
A Humbled God
Jim Burklo
I Entered Where I Did Not Know
St. John of the Cross

I Entered Where I Did Not Know
(Entreme Donde No Supe)

by St. John of the Cross
This poem of St. John of the Cross describes
with utmost accuracy the experience of Gnosis.
Posted by Rosamonde


I entered where I did not know,
And there remained unknowing,
All reason now transcended.

I did not know the door
But when I found the way,
Unknowing where I was,
I learned unheard of things,
But what I heard I cannot say,
For I remained unknowing,
All reason now transcended.

My knowledge was fulfilled
With serenity and peace.
In deepest solitude
I found the narrow way:
A secret giving such release
That I was left there stammering,
All reason now transcended.

I was so fully drunk,
So dazed and far away,
My senses were released
From feelings of my own.
My mind had found a surer way
A knowledge of unknowing,
All reason now transcended.

And he who does arrive,
Collapses as in sleep;
For all he knew before
Now seems of little worth,
And so his knowledge grows so deep
That he remains unknowing,
All reason now transcended.

The higher he ascends,
The darker is the wood;
It is the shadowy cloud
That clarified the night,
And so the one who understood
Remains at last unknowing,
All reason now transcended.

This knowledge by unknowing
Is such a soaring force
That scholars argue long
But never leave the ground.
Their reason always fails the source:
To understand unknowing,
All reason now transcended.

This knowledge is supreme
And meets a blazing height,
Though formal reason tries,
It crumbles in the dark.
For one who would control the night,
By knowledge of unknowing
He will have all transcended.

This is my final word,
The highest learning lead
To an ecstatic feeling
Of the most holy Being;
And from his mercy comes his deed:
To make one stay unknowing,
All reason now transcended.

Translation by Willis Barnstone Originally published by Doubleday & Company Inc. in "An Anthology of Spanish Poetry," edited by Angel Flores, 1961. This is the best translation of the original I have ever found. Above all, it accurately captures the deep meaning of the poem.

I have carried this book with me through the five countries I have lived in since this version of Prof. Barnstone was first published. It is a treasure.