One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

May 2, 2008 – 2:55 pm

How does losing become an art? And can youcreally master the art?

I don’t think one can. You may desperately try to convince yourself that losing is not very difficult to deal with. That there is an art to it, and like every other art, one can master its techniques.

This poem caught my eye because the author seemed intent in trying to convince herself that losing something is not a disaster. Indeed, some things are sometimes meant to be lost, but this does mean that we are not allowed to feel bad if they do.

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.

  1. 1 Trackback(s)

  2. Aug 12, 2014: lonnie

Post a Comment