6 Aug 2010

To Dorothy -- Marvin Bell

[1937–current, American]

You are not beautiful, exactly.
You are beautiful, inexactly.
You let a weed grow by the mulberry
and a mulberry grow by the house.
So close, in the personal quiet
of a windy night, it brushes the wall
and sweeps away the day till we sleep.

A child said it, and it seemed true:
“Things that are lost are all equal.”
But it isn’t true. If I lost you,
the air wouldn’t move, nor the tree grow.
Someone would pull the weed, my flower.
The quiet wouldn’t be yours. If I lost you,
I’d have to ask the grass to let me sleep.

Source: Bell, M (2003), Nightworks: Poems 1962–2000, Copper Canyon Press. Originally published in Stars which see, stars which do not see, 1977.

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