One Art

I just discovered a new favorite poem, One Art by Elizabeth Bishop.  It has a deep meaning to me that is probably not the exact meaning the author meant for the poem.  Here it is to mean something to you, if you like.

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.


One comment on “One Art

  1. Larissa says:

    I looked into your website a little today and enjoyed reading. I too write. I dont think I did back when we knew each other. I also find it amusing that you are the 3rd friend of mine to have lived in an intentional Christian community house. The other two were in a Catholic community called Loaves and Fishes that opened its doors to the homeless. If you think living with a bunch of Christians with a mission is hard, think about inviting over people to share your house for weeks at a time not knowing anything about them other than that they are currently homeless and trying to get them to abide by rules of non-violence and sobriety. I met a lot of interesting people there. I used to volunteer. I would have had to have lost my mind to move in as a member though…so my main thought when I realized that you had moved into an intentional Christian household was, hmmm, must really love your parents to honor your father’s life work this way. You may see it differently. I have other friends who are minister’s kids. One joined a wierd Christina cult in Menomenie for 7 years where I went once and learned what a real fire and brimstone sermon is. When was the last time you went to a baptism and the minister informed you ad nauseum that you aren’t worthy of the air god lets you breathe? Hope the answer is never. Anyway, I need to write tonight myself for the sake of writing and I thought I would start with saying hellow to you and wishing you a happy new year. That poem you posted about losing things, its lovely, its the story of 2008. Larissa


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