One Art

Oooh, I finally found this one too; I’ve been looking for it for a long time. It’s a poem by Elizabeth Bishop I discovered two years ago, and it’s related to my previous post. Well, halfway anyway, until the poem discreetly shifts tone near the end and you realize the pretense of courage that the author had been keeping…yeah, hopefully that’s not what I had been expressing myself. The subtlety and the rhythm of the build up are fantastic, and the aftermath profoundly sad. Poetry. That’s why it’s so difficult to write them.

One Art

Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day.  Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel.  None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch.  And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones.  And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied.  It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

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