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For many years, Fr. Alfonso Gálvez has written numerous poems, whose beauty sets them among the classics of the Spanish mystical poetry during the Golden Age. Many of them have been inserted into his varied works, but never had they been gathered together as a whole. In the year 2009, most of his poems were brought together in his book The Lost Songs (2009), but soon this edition fell out of favor with the author. In the year 2013, this work Florilegio made its appearance, in which the poems present in The Lost Songs are referred to, with the modest purpose of commenting on some of the stanzas from the point of view of human-divine Love, Joy, Hope, and nostalgia for the beloved. In 2016, the greater part of his poetic work, revised and enhanced, would be published in the work Cantos del Final del Camino (2016).

Poetry is the art that expresses Beauty through words, whether it is by the use of verse or prose. This is the fundamental thesis of Fr. Alfonso Gálvez, as stated in the “Introduction” to his work Florilegio. In turn, Beauty is one of the transcendentals of Being, together with Goodness, Unity, and Truth. And since Being is identified with God, the highest poetry is that which attempts to express the Beauty of God. Putting it thus, Fr. Alfonso Gálvez clearly establishes a distinction between Poetry that expresses the Beauty of God as Love, revealed to us in Jesus Christ (Mystical Poetry), and poetry that is made up of versified words used to encourage devotion and piety in the Christian people, and which has been erroneously titled religious poetry. In the same way, any other method of using verse to express something other than Beauty, be it the beauty of creatures or of the Creator, should never be called poetry, as often occurs with those who would use it for political or social ends. Ultimately, “whatever presents itself as Poetry, but is devoid of content, either because it says nothing, or because it lacks beauty, in reality has little to do with what might be considered as a product of the Muses of Poetry”.

Following therefore the poetry-building method of our own classic St. John of the Cross, and making use of the lyre, for the most part, but also of the quartet, quartetto, and linked tercet, the author then proceeds to comment on some of his mystical poems, putting them in relation not only to the Song of Songs, but also to the poetic tradition of the Golden Age and to the mystical author par excellence: As you walk towards hills above..., Beloved, I am longing..., At night he left for the distant mountain range..., In the peaceful calm of night..., If you should see me again..., And there my ended woes and sorrows left me..., And once his work was finished at days end..., The calm, resplendent deep seas..., To the distant stars I climbed..., My Bridegroom’s voice is for me..., At my Love’s side I lingered..., Sweet Philomena again..., to highlight just a few. They make this book a delightful presentation on both poetic beauty and on the Beauty and Love that is God.


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