Last Night As I Was Sleeping

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Last Night As I Was Sleeping, is a poem by Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly that I found in a book called, Ten Poems to Change Your Life, by Roger Housden.

Inspired by the idea of making a moment, a “We” out of the quiet, internal act of reading a poem, this song seemed to come out of a dusty road in the Spanish countryside that Machado walked with the children he taught in a one-room schoolhouse. In the chorus I imagined Machado or The Poet, Universal, to suddenly interrupt the poem and turn toward the reader, eager to tell us a secret about what a poem can do to us, how it becomes not words on a page, but a living moment, embodied:

Dear Reader,
“I want you to sing and to feel.
Let me steal the hour for a moment.
I want you to breathe, deeply breathe.
Your life, your only life, depends upon it.”

Here is the poem by Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly.

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


Poem by Antonio Machado, translation by Robert Bly, arranged and adapted to song with additional chorus by Michelle Bloom, 2008 All Rights Reserved. Recorded in The Bloom Room, session facilitated by Jonathan Berry/ voice and guitar by Michelle Bloom/ mandolin and percussion by Jonathan Berry.   No form of this song has been sold while we seek permission from the authors and publishers.  Live performances have included additional choreography by Hilary Thomas, Artistic Director of the Lineage Dance Co.

© 2011 All Things Bloom.

6 Responses to Last Night As I Was Sleeping

  1. Anne says:

    Just beautiful, Michelle!

  2. Paula says:

    Carri Ann sent me here, lucky me! It’s just lovely.

  3. Gina says:

    Chilling and heartwarming at the same time, only you. Bravo. ~Gina

  4. Steve says:

    I remember you demoing this song for us at at the Glen songwriting workshop 2008. So good to hear it in the light of day, and to (re)discover your music.

  5. Michelle says:

    Hi Steve, that was such a great workshop in Sante Fe. I love The Glen and Image Magazine and Karin and Linford of Over the Rhine. Thanks for finding me here.

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Copyright 2014 Michelle M. Bloom