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Lines by heart: The Cloud of Unknowing

Written by Rachael Norris, 7th February 2021

Today's Lines by Heart reading is brought to us by Bristol Hub Leader at The Reader, Michael Prior. Michael recites The Cloud of Unknowing - put yourself to the test and see if you can memorise this poem too.



The Cloud of Unknowing

And think not, because I call it a darkness or a cloud, that it is any cloud condensed out of the vapours that float in the air, or yet any darkness such as in your house at night, when the candle is out. For such a darkness and such a cloud you can certainly imagine by subtle fancies, as though it were before your eyes, even om the clearest day of summer; and likewise, on the darkest night of winter you may imagine a clear shining light. But leave such falsehood alone. I mean nothing of the sort. When I say a 'darkness,' I mean a privation of knowing, just as whatever you do not know, or have forgotten, is dark to you, because you cannot see it with your mind's eye. And for this reason, that which is between you and yor God is termed, not a cloud of the air, but a cloud of unknowing.


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