Antonio Machado 1875 – 1939

“My soul is not asleep. It is awake, wide awake. It neither sleeps nor dreams, but watches, its eyes wide open, far off things, and listens at the shores of the great silence.” – Antonio Machado

“Travelers, there is no path. Paths are made by walking.” – Antonio Machado


While visiting Collioure, a strikingly beautiful beach village, several years ago with a friend, we ventured into the cemetery. On that first visit, I became quite curious as there were a large crowd of people surrounding one of the graves. The group stayed for quite some time and it seemed that it was a pilgrimage. After they moved on, I was able to take a look and unfortunately nothing more having my camera out of commission at the time. When my friend returned to France this time and suggested a visit to Collioure, I checked out my camera and prepared for capturing these photos. 


While this group of four is a much smaller gathering than what I witnessed the last time I was here, there seems to be a steady stream of those coming to honor the great poet. It would have been lovely to have a closer shot but I did not want to intrude.


As you can see, to the right of the headstone is a mailbox for those who want to leave a message. Those tiny white stones which appear to be scattered are actually placed as remembrances from those who come to pay their respects. Most have messages on them. Some simply have a date or initials. If you look back at the first photo in this post you can see some of those stones more clearly.


 “The wind, one brilliant day, called                                                                                                to my soul with the odor of jasmine.

‘In return for the odor of my jasmine                                                                                                 I’d like the odor of all your roses.’

‘I have no roses; all the flowers                                                                                                           in my garden are dead.’

‘Well then, I’ll take the withered petals and the yellow leaves                                                  and the waters of the fountain.’

the wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:                                                                          ‘What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?’

– Antonio Machado

Born in Seville, the young Antonio moved with his family to Madrid in 1883 where he and his brother, Manuel, joined the Free Educational Institution. This was where Antonio discovered his passion for literature. At the age of seventeen, he lost his father and took on a series of jobs including acting. At the dawning of the new century, he joined his brother in Paris. Manuel already had gained employment as a translator. In Paris, Antonio encountered Jean Moréas and Paul Fort and other contemporary figures in the literary world including Oscar Wilde. Such connections supported his decision that he too would be a poet.Antonio’s first poems were published in a literary journal, Electra, in 1901 and followed two years later by his first collection in 1903, Soledades. A second edition was published in 1907.

Antonio was offered a teaching position, French, in Soria and there he met Leonor Izquierdo Cuevas. He married Miss Cuevas in 1909 when he was 34 years old and the young lady was fifteen. Three years later they returned to Paris. Unfortunately, Leonor developed tuberculosis and returned to Spain where she died on 1 August, 1912. Antonio was devastated by his loss and shortly after the publication of Campos de Castilla, he left Soria for good. His next home was in Baeza, in Andalusia. He published a new edition of Campos de Castilla in 1916 in which he included poems on the death of his wife.

Machado taught French in Segovia from 1919 to 1931 and this allowed him to live closer to his brother who was in Madrid. The closeness allowed them to collaborate writing a number of successful plays. Antonio also enjoyed a romance with Pilar Valderrama, a married woman who he later writes of in later poems using the name, Guiomar.

While still in Segovia, he declares the Republic using the Republican flag which he raises on the town’s hall to the accompaniment of the French National Anthem, La Marseillaise.  His philosophical leanings and moral declarations become increasingly clear in a series he published on the eve of the Spanish Civil War using the pseudonyms, Able Martin and Juan de Mairena. Machado was in Madrid when the war broke out and he was separated from his brother, a separation that would last for the rest of their lives.

His writing continued but made clear his sympathies were with the Republican Party. Machado, brothers José, Joaquim and their mother, were evacuated to Valencia then later to Barcelona.When the Second Spanish Republic fell, they were forced to escape into France where they found themselves in Collioure. He died on 22 February, 1939. He was buried there in Collioure. His mother died shortly after and is also buried nearby.  

If this is your introduction to Antonio Machado, I do hope you will explore his work and enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you.







Quote page…

Perhaps you have never visited the Quote page? If you have, it may have been awhile. I have just added some new quotes. Some may inspire you. Some may make you angry. Some you may write down for further examination. Regardless, if any of them get you thinking, inspired your creativity, or help you see another side to a situation, then I have done my job. Here are a few to get you started. If you have a favourite, I would love to know. Now please check out what else is there. 


“People feel like the system is rigged against them, and here is the painful part, they’re right, the system is rigged.”  Elizabeth Warren


“Peace cannot be kept by force; It can only be achieved by understanding.”              Albert Einstein.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H.L. Mencken

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” Thomas Jefferson


I hope you have found something that captures your imagination among these examples. Now, please check out what else is new on the Quotes page… 




“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen”
– Leonardo da Vinci

The Greeks founded this southern French city in the sixth century BC. Later, the Roman Empire came to the city and connected the city to Narbonne by the Domitian Way. Later, the Visigoths who settled there invaded Béziers.  
During the crusade to purge the land of the Cathars the papal legate from Rome was given orders to “Kill them all, let God sort them.” The burning of Béziers and the massacre of its population took place on July 22, 1209.
One of the first cities in the southern part of France to be chartered, a government and consuls who exercised their power over the ancient Roman Forum was Béziers.
Pierre-Paul Riquet was born in Bézieres in the early 1600’s. He drew and designed the Canal du Midi, which profoundly altered not only the landscape but also the activity of the area. Louis XIV obtained permission for the canal to be built. I have enjoyed many strolls and meals along the banks of the canal. The canal itself will be a future topic on this blog. Monsieur Riquet had achieved what no other person had to date. The canal was the solution for providing water to the channel, permanently by linking the Garonne (Atlantic) and the Mediterranean. This would provide, develop and secure trade between the two seas.

The most propitious period for Béziers was in the nineteenth century. With the advent of the automobile and open trade in the wine market that employs a great number of people it lead to an unparalleled increase in the population and fortunes were created.
The most auspicious period in the history Beziers is situated in the nineteenth century. The growth of industry, car, and open trade in the local wine market and wine world, which employs thousands of people, lead to unprecedented population growth.
Today, Béziers is a city of just over 70,000 people. When I visited Béziers in 2006, I found a lovely bookstore and picked up Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. While I was not interested in carrying such a large book around France, the shop owner highly recommended it. Coming out of the bookstore at lunchtime, I followed my nose to the neighboring café and enjoyed a most delicious lunch in the sunshine. I am looking forward to visiting Béziers in the spring and exploring more of its wonderful layers. From previous experience, I know that the wines of the area are well worth the trip alone.

Being a poet myself, I was intrigued with the lovely Parc des Poetes. This city is certainly worthy of your consideration. If you are interested, you can view my other blog at: