And I saw the river
over which every soul
must pass
to reach the kingdom of heaven
and the name of that river saw suffering:
and I saw a boat
which carries souls
across the river
and the name of that boat
was love.

St. John of the Cross is one of Spain’s top poets. He tried to reform his monastic order and was tortured and imprisoned by his own church. In his tiny prison, while being starved and recovering from being beaten, he wrote many poems, including The Dark Night of the Soul. Seamus Heaney includes a portion of the poem in his work Station Island XI (insight courtesy of Malcolm Guite whose meditation on the poem is found at this link.).