Poetry Sunday, just because: Losing

Yesterday, I came across this article in the NYT and was delighted by the first two paragraphs. The writing was every bit the well-crafted witty exposition for which I love the newspaper. When I shared the article with the BF, he pointed out the allusion to Elizabeth Bishop's poem on losing (ah, the benefits of a liberal arts education). Curious, as I have never managed to cross paths with her writings in all my years of schooling, I did what anyone with a question does nowadays: I Googled her. And there it was: One Art. Rather unexpectedly, the poem really struck a nerve. It seems that these days, when the weight combined of failed and dead-end experiments, the years already spent in grad school, and the dimly-lit path ahead becomes often a bit too much to bear, it is indeed easy to become adept at the art of losing. So here it is for myself and for you, should you need it, a little reminder against that slide into disaster.

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.


Blogger Philippa said...

Thank you

9:06 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Wonderful poem. Thank you for sharing it.

11:26 AM  

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