Tuesday, July 22, 2014

be sweet to me world

The artist's job is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.

- Gertrude Stein

Landscape And Soul

by Stephen Dunn

Though we should not speak about the soul,
that is, about things we don't know,
I'm sure mine sleeps the day long,
waiting to be jolted, even jilted awake,
preferably by joy, but sadness also comes
by surprise, and the soul sings its songs.

And because no one landscape compels me,
except the one that's always out of reach
(toward which, nightly, I go), I find myself
conjuring Breugel-like peasants cavorting
under a Magritte-like sky - a landscape
the soul, if fully awake, could love as its own.

But the soul is rumored to desire a room,
a chamber, really, in some far away outpost
of the heart. Landscape can be lonely and cold.
Be sweet to me, world.

- from the Cortland Review

I, too, am waiting for my soul to be jolted awake this summer. Trying not to succumb to despair. Wanting to get to work.

What has helped is that yesterday I finally wrote something. I'd been taking notes and jotting odd words down, stray images, in my notebook all summer towards an essay-poem, poem-essay. Disparate seeming things. Unconnected things. Finally, I felt awake enough to put them together, to make sense of it all in that way.

As always it's the work that keeps despair away.

A good long walk in the morning is a good restorative, too. Very often, I walk down this closed road, which leads to the small stand of trees.

All along the utility corridor path, these yellow weeds.

The field they mowed down a few weeks again is already coming back.

Here you can glimpse the buildings across the highway - the red strip is the Shopper's Drug Mart.

And then these beauties along the fence:

Lastly, walking home through the 'dry pond' in the middle of my neighbourhood.

And me asking all along, be sweet to me world, be sweet....and it is, you know, it is.


  1. I do community work and am currently in a leadership position. I've been working hard on being direct and in recent meetings, I see how that had paid off. Now I'm trying to bring the focus back to other parts of my life, mostly photography and writing. So I see "be sweet to me, world" as a way to be direct about what I want. Thank for this!

  2. Hope your mood picks up sound so down and sad this past week or so

  3. Is it possible google has lost my comment TWICE??? Sigh. It looks like the world is trying hard to be sweet. How lovely you have those rolling green fields all around.......I hope whatever has saddened you, that your heart finds its strength to make its way through. All the best. One last click. Please google dont eat my comment.

  4. dear friends, how good you are. I think my literary-sadness etc has been showing through....and there I thought I was hiding it so well.... :)

    The world is indeed sweet.....xo to you all.

  5. With so many horrible things going on in this world lately, it is nice to be reminded that there is still some sweetness to be found...why I love coming here to visit. I think I need to go for a walk...


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