Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Poet Reflects on Losing Things

A poem by Elizabeth Bishop,
sent to me by a friend
after my mother shared her anxiety about losing things...

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.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

3 comments:

Deb Peterson said...

Anne--I've been enjoying your journal so much. Thank you for taking the time to share this poem--I love the sentiment.

Novabella said...

Great poem!

One thing I've learned in living beside my dad's adventures with LBD-- you never ever know when any particular time will be the last time. The last time he might be able to play an instrument, to use the computer, to fix a doorknob. So I have really tried to learn to take the time to slow down and enjoy the moments and stories he is able to share. Instead of counting losses, I am trying to hoard "last times."

Great blog-- you have more followers than you know!

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