Beginner's Heart

poetry imageEach day of this month I’m writing poetry. (You ought to try it — really. It’s a LOT more fun when you aren’t being graded!) I’m also reading poetry daily — my own, that of others. And whenever April comes, I wonder how these habits got away from me.

Because they feed me. I feel like one of those wrinkled, just-hatched butterflies exiting the chrysalis. Sitting in a kind of poetic sun, growing stronger. I know — pretty metaphorical, huh? But it’s true: poetry is like a tonic to me.

I don’t expect I’ll convert you to writing it, necessarily. But maybe — if we’re both lucky — I’ll remind you how poetry can speak to deep places in you. And how it can even heal them.

So here’s one I love, by Elizabeth Bishop, one of my favourites. It’s a bit sad, but so lovely. And perhaps you need it, as I once did:

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.
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus