The Sweetness

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Sweetness by Stephan Dunn

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.

In Stephan Dunn’s poem “Sweetness”, he elaborates on the importance of life and how we deal with the tragic events that occur. He also adds how those with mental disabilities can get away with things that “normal people cannot by acting sweet and innocent. The “sweetness” isn’t necessarily a specific tone but more of an attribute to encourage those who are depressed.

Dunn uses the line, “to make sense of what it means to be alive” to encourage the reader to really think into depth and how fortunate they really are. In the little time that we have on this Earth, we should all be caring for one another instead of judgmental and picky. The tone of “Sweetness” is caring because as the reader keeps scrolling along, they start to realize more and more how life can be taken away very quickly without any kind of...
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