SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: ANTONIO MACHADO

LAST NIGHT, AS I WAS SLEEPING, I DREAMT MARVELOUS ERROR!

by Antonio Machado


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.


Antonio Machado (1875-1939) was one of Spain’s most esteemed modern poets. He has been referred to as “a poet of time and memory.” Machado was prominent in the Spanish literary movement known as The Generation of ’98. He published a number of works during his lifetime, beginning with Soledades in 1903 and ending with Juan de Mairena in 1936. Machado’s death was related to the Spanish Civil War. When he died, in his pocket was found his last poem, “Estos días azules y este sol de infancia.

Editor’s Note: This poem was a request. If you have a request of your own please feel free to post it as a comment. Of course, I will not post a poem that I do not stand behind. But how can one not stand behind a poem by one of Spain’s greatest modern poets, especially one with such a line as: “And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey from my old failures.” I have yet to find poets that blow me away in quite the way that Spanish poets do.

Want to read more by and about Antonio Machado?
Poetry Chaikhana
Famous Poets and Poems
Green Integer

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Contributing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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3 Responses to SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: ANTONIO MACHADO

  1. Lisa says:

    Poignant and uplifting…at the same time it pierces the heart (just contemplating my own failures). I suppose that’s the mark of a great poem~ the way it reveals what is most human in us. I have just one request (not sure if you consider him a real poet): Leonard Cohen’s “Dance me to the end of love”

  2. Deborah says:

    I agree with this: “I have yet to find poets that blow me away in quite the way that Spanish poets do.” Any suppositions of why they resonate so deeply?

  3. Cambria says:

    I have a request, please post a poem by this poet. http://www.flashpointmag.com/macoliver1.htm because he is beautiful and I love him but I’ll never be able to tell him.

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