2.12.2005

Elizabeth Bishop.

The following is my favorite of Bishop's poems. This is for the Lioness, who is in need of it.

One Art

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, to 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.



best,
paulmonsterlibrarian

3 comments:

The Lioness said...

Very beautiful but seems so unattainable. I don't want to have to master it, see. I did google her and couldn't find actual poems, just essays and sites abt her. Will try harder.

paulmonster said...

Please don't interpret my sending of this poem as any sort of prescriptive. It is simply a moving poem that I love.

I don't want to master this art, either. I don't believe even she does. The irony is, it's an art that can't be mastered. But there is loveliness even in the un-masterable art of loss, the sort of loveliness Bishop is extraordinary at pointing out.

I see this in the light touch of the rhymes, in the graceful progression of images and ideas, and in the gentleness of the poem's voice.

More soon.

The Lioness said...

Oh no, I didn't take it to mean that, no worries. I was simply complaining I can't do it, never could, even w the smallest things and that's actually something that gives me grief. The one way I'm anal. I did find it lovely, lovely and disquieting. That's poetry's job I suppose and I suppose it's also why I'm sticking to thrillers and Sci-Fi these days, hadn't thought of it. You Do make me think! :D