“One Art” by 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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August 29, 2006. books for grown-ups.

3 Comments

  1. jackie replied:

    This is a classic, lovely poem– but not the most cheerful of blog entries. You all okay?

  2. landismom replied:

    Yeah, it just struck me as a good entry for the anniversary of Katrina.

  3. jackie replied:

    Okay, smacking my forehead now. Good call.

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