Man is by nature a paradoxical beast,
an absurd animal in need of logic.
He created a world out of nothing and when
he finished said,
“Now I know the secret: everything is nothing.”

 

Heart, yesterday sonorous,
doesn’t your little
gold coin jingle?
Will your strongbox
be emptied
before time breaks it?
Let’s trust that
nothing of what we know
turns out to be really true.

 

You say nothing is created?
It doesn’t matter; with the clay
of the earth, make a cup
so your brother can drink.

 

I find what I didn’t seek:
lemon-balm leaves,
with their fragrance.

 

Water and thirst are good,
shadows and sun are good,
honey from flowering rosemary,
honey from bare fields.

 

– From There Is No Road: Proverbs of Antonio Machado, translated by Mary G. Berg and Dennis Maloney (White Pine Press, 2003). Reprinted with permission of White Pine Press.