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.
(1976)


Elizabeth Bishop wrote this poem towards the end of her life, just three years before she died. She suffered many losses during her life starting at a very young age. This poem is about the losses both large and small that she suffered and how none destroyed her life. Some hurt more than others, the loss of a friend or lover that she speaks of in the last stanza “even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love)”; probably the hardest loss of all in her mind. None of these losses destroyed her, however, she survived each and went on with her life. She uses alliteration, assonance, and imagery