Poem of the Week, by Antonio Machado

Thursday I had some minor heart surgery to fix a lifelong glitch. There was a moment of pure fear before they went to work –it’s my heart, you know?– and I asked them all please to take good care of me. Later I didn’t think I remembered anything, but then, the next day, I had a memory of my heart burning inside my chest. Because it had literally been burned, lasered in four places. And I thought of this poem, which is one of the five I would bring to a desert island if I hadn’t already memorized it. Golden bees making sweet honey out of past bitterness.

Last Night I Had a Dream
– Antonio Machado (translated by Alan Trueblood)

Last night I had a dream–
a blessed illusion it was–
I dreamt of a fountain flowing
deep down in my heart.
Water, by what hidden channels
have you come, tell me, to me,
welling up with new life
I never tasted before?

Last night I had a dream–
a blessed illusion it was–
I dreamt of a hive at work
deep down in my heart.
Within were the golden bees
straining out the bitter past
to make sweet-tasting honey,
and white honeycomb.

Last night I had a dream–
a blessed illusion it was–
I dreamt of a hot sun shining
deep down in my heart.
The heat was in the scorching
as from a fiery hearth;
the sun in the light it shed
and the tears it brought to the eyes.

Last night I had a dream–
a blessed illusion it was–
I dreamed it was God I’d found
deep down in my heart.

 

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