The Art of Losing

I’ve lost something recently. I can’t pinpoint what day it was exactly that it was lost, and that might be contributing to my failure to locate it. Who even knows? Our house is turned upside down daily by the whirling dervish that is Mary Bullock, and with the holidays and a camping trip and dinner guests, there really is no telling where the thing has been stuffed. Probably the trash can, if we’re honest with ourselves.

But today for some reason I felt like if I didn’t find that thing, my head would explode. I’ve looked everywhere.  All the logical places and– because it’s me here– all the illogical places, too. No dice.

On the upside, it did remind me of this poem, which is one of my favorites, favorites favorites. Former student readers, I hope you remember this one:
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.

Made me feel a little better. I haven't lost any rivers lately.  
That I know of. 


One thought on “The Art of Losing

  1. Oh, that's a good one. I love that poem too. It always makes me want to cry, or at least it makes me get that little catch in my throat that alerts me to the presence of real poetry.

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