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.

Bishop is talking about the loss of everyday things, such as keys or an hour badly spent, but she’s using the poem to compare those losses to the death of a loved one.  If she loses her keys or a watch it isn’t a big deal to her, because she has accepted that she will lose things.  What she is getting at, ultimately, is that the loss of a loved one is much harder to deal with.  She tries to play it off as just like losing anything else, but her pain at the loss shows through.

“–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.”

What really struck me about this poem, though, was the title.  “One Art.”  Poetry is one form of art, painting is another, music is another, and now losing things is an art as well?  She refers to losing things as an art, the art of losing.  In this way she makes losing things beautiful and poetic, an actual art form.  She views losing things like she does her poetry.  They are both art to her.  It just seems contrary to the point of the poem.  If losing things ain’t no thang to her, then why would she refer to it as an art?  Doesn’t art inspire emotion in its onlookers?  It’s that duality that trapped me into the poem and made it so intriguing to me.

Does anyone know how to upload pictures and stuff on the new wordpress layout?