The Ultimate Love Poem: A Conversation with Marvin Bell

Marvin and Dorothy

Literary magazine The Rumpus recently published an interview by Emily Sernaker MFA '18 with poet and Pacific MFA faculty member, Marvin Bell.

She asks Bell about his widely praised poem, "To Dorothy," that he wrote for his wife. These 14 lines have appeared everywhere from wedding ceremonies to anniversary cards to tattoos. 

Read the full interview on The Rumpus.

Listen to Marvin Bell read the poem.

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 and Dorothy

Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program

Apr. 6, 2018