Sweet Honey from Old Failures

macro shot of honey bee on a honeycomb (natural product)

Last night, as I was sleeping by Antonio Machado

English version by Robert Bly

Last night, as I was sleeping, I dreamt — marvelous error!– that a spring was breaking out in my heart. I said: Along which secret aqueduct, Oh water, are you coming to me, water of a new life that I have never drunk?

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.

Last night, as I was sleeping, I dreamt — marvelous error!– that a fiery sun was giving light inside my heart. It was fiery because I felt warmth as from a hearth, and sun because it gave light and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, as I slept, I dreamt — marvelous error!– that it was God I had here inside my heart.

by Antonio Machado (translated by Robert Bly

This is one of my most beloved poems. It speaks to my heart and enlivens my spirit in a way that is deeply personal and universal at the same time.

I just love the image of golden bees making sweet honey from all of my old failures! Rather than focusing on the way failure tests your mettle as fire does to steel, the poet looks in the direction of the heart and speaks of sweetness and honey. Jackets insulated “The heart, like the grape, is prone to delivering its harvest in the same moment that it appears to be crushed. parajumpers The beehive in your heart is humming precisely because of those failures.” from Ten Poems to Change Your Life by Roger Housden.

When I first read these lines years ago, warmth filled my heart as I saw more clearly than ever that somehow everything in my life has it’s own unique place. Imagine the possibility that even the most difficult, dark or disappointing experience can be the raw material that surfaces with the sweetness of honey. There is a wholeness, an ecology to our experience.

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