Thursday, August 5, 2010

Keenly Experiencing One Art

I came across this poem by way of the movie In Her Shoes. Cameron Diaz's character Maggie May learns the poem and is taught a way of understanding it. She gives her understanding of Elizabeth Bishop's words and I think she summed it up quite well. It's one of the best scenes in the movie.

I am in a continued state of loss. I'm trying to pick up the pieces... I...will leave that for another entry. Let's get to the poem.

____________________________

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.