Friday, December 28, 2012

Poetry Friday: A Blessed Illusion for the New Year

Antonio Machado and his wife, Leonor.

For the new year, here is a poem from Antonio Machado. I found it while reading Naomi Shihab Nye's lovely collection, HONEYBEE,  in preparation for my January residency lecture at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Nye uses Machado's poem as an epigraph to her book, guiding the tone and musical key of her own poems.

Last  night I dreamed -- blessed illusion --
that I had a beehive here
in my heart
and that the golden bees were making
white combs and sweet honey
from my old failures.

          --Antonio Machado
             Translated by Robert Bly

"Old failures" - I can think of many of my own. But here's wishing us all a 2013 filled with white combs and sweet honey. 
Naomi Shihab Nye with her father, Aziz Shihab
P.S. When I read interviews, I'm often impressed by the intelligence of the people being asked questions, but I don't usually find myself thinking, "This person would be a lovely friend." In the case of of this interview of Nye, I did think so.
The Poetry Friday round-up is being hosted today over at Carol's Corner. Head over there to see what other people have posted.


  1. Julie,
    This poem made me cry. This poem has felt like a year of failures. How I hope they are being turned into sweet honey! And I have thought for many years that I would love to have Naomi Shihab Nye as a friend. She seems to have such a gentle, strong soul!

  2. Machado's poem put me in mind, too, of a line from Robinson Jeffer's poem, The Stonecutters, which says that our "pained thoughts" can find "the honey of peace in old poems."

  3. This poem is like an old friend. Thanks for bringing it out to visit :-) People have picked such wonderful poems to begin a new year!

  4. I worry my failures like a tongue finding a sore in my mouth.

    Here's to more honey!

  5. Julie are you hosting the Poetry Friday round up this week on March 1? I have a FIB up on Coyotes, and I'm giving away a copy of Charline Profiri's new rhyming riddle picture book GUESS WHO'S IN THE DESERT.
    The party's at