Not my writing

One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

This is the one poem I’ve completely memorized – I love everything about it. (Source!)
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.


I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did! We had to analyze this in class and I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun in my life, so there’s that. It’s just such a simple yet completely genius piece of writing. Maybe it’s because I relate to the speaker. Maybe it’s because I, too, am trying to convince myself that losing things (people) is fine. Maybe it’s how the poem gets more tragic as it progresses. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for love and heartache. Probably all of the above and then some. Okay, I’ll stop fawning over this masterpiece now (oops).


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