86 Sermons on Song of Songs

photo by Alexander Lam via Unsplash

The 12th-century monastic, Bernard of Clairvaux, wrote 86 sermons on the Song of Songs…

86 Sermons on Song of Songs

Bernard of Clairvaux no

doubt wrote many more.

The more scandalous never made it out of his cell.

But he knew that there was nothing more essential

than the one theme of desire.

If he couldn’t make that means of communication work

we might as well be damned.

But who would cop to such hunger, unseemly

as it is?

To look out

on our fields of plenty, our beautifully

stocked shelves in innumerable super

stores, over waves of

grain, our full tank of

gas, and say ‘It’s not


I want more.  I want the burning

engine of purpose, the alluring

seduction of beauty, the cause converting

me into roiling motion and threatening

to reduce me

to essence or

oblivion, the release

from solipsism, the laying

myself at Her feet,

the mystic union, and yet


I am insatiable in this desire.

I am transgressive in my wants.

86 sermons is a drop in the bucket compared

to what I will do for Love.

Alex Joyner

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