Sweetness from Failure

Dreamlike Honeycomb

Dreamlike Honeycomb

A verse from “Last night, as I was sleeping” by Antonio Machado:

“Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt – marvelous error! –
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.”

[full version]

When I first encountered this verse of the poem, I was going through a dramatic and traumatic change to my life and how I experience it. I was on the bus, reading “Radical Acceptance…” and… there was something about the imagery of golden bees and white honeycombs that brought me to tears.

It is pure.
And the thought of having that purity inside you… of creating it out of your failures and misgivings and wasted fear and doubt… it still evokes such a powerful reaction in me, that I really can’t properly describe the visceral feeling that the words create.

I also love the juxtaposition of “marvelous error!” The poet’s delight at the inventiveness of his dream vision, as well as the action described, is palpable and so completely expressed in that one phrase. There is a sense of disbelief, almost of “I can’t believe I never thought of it this way before; it’s so simple!”

It is amazing that a few lines can be such a powerful source of – ongoing – inspiration: Everytime I read this verse, I get something new out of it.

I look forward to the bees continuing their work.


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