Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart


day 6, National Poetry Month ~

 Elizabeth Bishop is another poet who is easy to love. She makes her art almost invisible, effortless. Like those invisible zippers that hold the pieces together…

This is a poem I return to again & again. It’s a villanelle — an old & demanding form. In Bishop’s hands, it seems like conversation…And it has everything to do w/ beginner’s heart. Change. Loss, attachment ~ it touches on each of these & more.

Here’s Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘One Art’:

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.


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