Beautiful, powerful words have helped me through some of the darkest moments in my life.
I'm sure it isn't surprising or unique that, having grown up gay in the South, as an atheist, and with bipolar disorder, I have had to compile my own scripture to guide and sustain me.
I'd like to share some small but powerful bits of language that have been fuel when my fires burned dangerously low, and which inspire me now. The Psalms in Sunday school never sounded so sweet as these. I hope this little trio of Bees and Gods inside inspires others as well.
"The Greeks bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language—the word 'enthusiasm'—en theos—a god within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a god within, and who obeys it."
- Louis Pasteur
Last Night As I was Sleeping
by Antonio Machado
Last night as I was sleeping,I dreamt—marvelous error!—that a spring was breakingout in my heart.I said: Along which secret aqueduct,Oh water, are you coming to me,water of a new lifethat I have never drunk?Last night as I was sleeping,I dreamt—marvelous error!—that I had a beehivehere inside my heart.And the golden beeswere making white combsand sweet honeyfrom my old failures.Last night as I was sleeping,I dreamt—marvelous error!—that a fiery sun was givinglight inside my heart.It was fiery because I feltwarmth as from a hearth,and sun because it gave lightand brought tears to my eyes.Last night as I slept,I dreamt—marvelous error!—that it was God I hadhere inside my heart.
The Arrival of the Bee Box
by Sylvia Plath
I ordered this, clean wood box
Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift.
I would say it was the coffin of a midget
Or a square baby
Were there not such a din in it.
The box is locked, it is dangerous.
I have to live with it overnight
And I can't keep away from it.
There are no windows, so I can't see what is in there.
There is only a little grid, no exit.
I put my eye to the grid.
It is dark, dark,
With the swarmy feeling of African hands
Minute and shrunk for export,
Black on black, angrily clambering.
How can I let them out?
It is the noise that appalls me most of all,
The unintelligible syllables.
It is like a Roman mob,
Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!
I lay my ear to furious Latin.
I am not a Caesar.
I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.
They can be sent back.
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.
I wonder how hungry they are.
I wonder if they would forget me
If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree.
There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades,
And the petticoats of the cherry.
They might ignore me immediately
In my moon suit and funeral veil.
I am no source of honey
So why should they turn on me?
Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free.
The box is only temporary.