Monday, April 11, 2011

Poetry Month

As I mentioned in a recent smorgasbord, April is National Poetry Month. My contribution in this annual discussion of poetry comes from the late, great Elizabeth Bishop:
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.
Bishop belongs to a generation of American poets that I am quite fond of. Bishop, Robert Lowell, Philip Booth, Charles Olson and the slightly older Marianne Moore, Robert Frost, Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), William Carlos Williams, and Ezra Pound--many of whom were not only contemporaries, but also friends. This is one of my favorites of Bishop's and one I am happy to share for National Poetry Month.

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