Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Just when it has seemed I couldn’t bear
one more friend
waking with a tumor, one more maniac

with a perfect reason, often a sweetness
has come
and changed nothing in the world

except the way I stumbled through it,
for a while lost
in the ignorance of loving

someone or something, the world shrunk
to mouth-size,
hand-size, and never seeming small.

I acknowledge there is no sweetness
that doesn’t leave a stain,
no sweetness that’s ever sufficiently sweet ....

Tonight a friend called to say his lover
was killed in a car
he was driving. His voice was low

and guttural, he repeated what he needed
to repeat, and I repeated
the one or two words we have for such grief

until we were speaking only in tones.
Often a sweetness comes
as if on loan, stays just long enough

to make sense of what it means to be alive,
then returns to its dark
source. As for me, I don’t care

where it’s been, or what bitter road
it’s traveled
to come so far, to taste so good.

. Sweetness by Stephen Dunn
.Photograph by LifeLovePaper and via her flickr stream


  1. What a beautiful poem. I've never heard it before, thanks for sharing.

  2. the sweetness is the whole point, the thing that gets us through the unending hard stuff.

  3. Stephen Dunn is one of my favorite modern poets .. he is just brilliant with the english language.

  4. Thank you for this, dearest Peony.


play nice.