Guest poem submitted by Pavithra Krishnan:
(Poem #639) One Art
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.
The concept of loss has long been favoured by the poets. In their turns they have variously bemoaned the loss of beauty, youth, fame, life -- and love. The poetry of loss is a genre unto itself. Immediately poignant by its implications of tragedy. Freighted with an irrevocable absence. Often shadowed by pain, sadness. ... yeah, I think loss works pretty darn well in verse. And I'm also certain Elizabeth Bishop understood all this. Perhaps better than she might have cared to. There is a courageous pretense built into this poem that I like. Bishop is wry, funny and flippant and very determined not to sound weepy-eyed. The fierce repetition of the line "the art of losing's not hard to master" makes you wonder how far and fast she's had to lose. To me Bishop is valiantly attempting to make believe for awhile that the experience of loss may be impersonalised into perfection by practising it as an art (take a breather). That she succeeds in convincing neither herself nor her reader, hurts her verse not the least. Pavithra.