for valentine’s day

As much as I like chocolate, I really don

I usually like holiday displays in stores. Christmas, Easter, you name it, I’ll enjoy the tacky decorations and the reminder that it is, once again, holiday season. Except in February. I wholeheartedly dislike the paper hearts in store windows, the admonition to buy expensive and uncomfortable lingerie to surprise your special someone, the silly knick-knacks that somehow celebrate love. Valentine’s Day tends to be too sappy for me, too unrealistic and not in tune with what I think love is. But since February is known as the month of love, I though I’d post a love poem as poem of the month. My favorite love poem, in fact. And the reason that it’s my favorite is because it isn’t sappy or unrealistic or starry-eyed, but true, and it speaks of people as they are: flawed, but intensely loved and lovable.

To Dorothy

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.
– Marvin Bell


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