The Winged Energy of Delight

Torn leaf of Basho
Four poems lost to me right now
Who could have done this?

Lately, every time a yoga teacher reads a poem in savasana, whether I have heard it before or not, it has gone straight to my heart. What started this recent trend was the following:

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvellous 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—marvellous 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—marvellous 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—marvellous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

Translated by Robert Bly

via Last Night As I Was Sleeping by Antonio Machado.

The teacher had initially connected this with Robert Bly, which was surprising, because I thought myself fairly conversant with his poetry, owning several collections and some paperbacks. But then it was established that the poem was a translation of one by Antonio Machado, from Bly’s collection entitled The Winged Energy of Delight (New York, Harper Collins: 2004). (The title of this comes from a poem by Rilke.) Being aware that he had done some translation and had collected poetry translated by others, this made sense to me. But I have not read any of this, so I was determined to acquire the book. On the last day of summer session classes, the book arrived to me by interlibrary loan. I have been happily reading not only Machado, but also Kabir, Rumi, Rilke, and Hafez. Ahead of each collection, Bly playfully sets each poet in cultural and historical context.

This evening, I had noticed, sadly, that a page was torn from Basho, so I right now I can’t read the poems on pages 185-186. More importantly, I cringe at the violation of the integrity of a book. Wouldn’t it have been easier, still, in this era, to scan or photograph the desired page? Hence, in tribute to Basho, my haiku which leads this post.

About Richard Hudak

I'm a college teacher, writer, practitioner of hatha yoga, and an avid cyclist.
This entry was posted in Discoveries, Quotations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Winged Energy of Delight

  1. Pingback: Announcing Your Place in the Family of Things | The Considered Kula

  2. Richard Hudak says:

    Reblogged this on Wholehearted Yoga and commented:

    On Friday, as a part of Pause Yoga’s celebration of Poetry Month in the Town of Amesbury, MA, I will be offering a people and some asāna. The selection I am offering will be found in the volume I mention in this blog post from 2011.

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