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.
 
From The Complete Poems 1927-1979 by Elizabeth Bishop, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Used with permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved. CAUTION: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, LLC.

Poems by This Author

At the Fishhouses by Elizabeth Bishop
Although it is a cold evening,
Filling Station by Elizabeth Bishop
Oh, but it is dirty!
In the Waiting Room by Elizabeth Bishop
In Worcester, Massachusetts,
Little Exercise by Elizabeth Bishop
Think of the storm roaming the sky uneasily
Over 2,000 Illustrations and a Complete Concordance by Elizabeth Bishop
Suicide of a Moderate Dictator by Elizabeth Bishop
This is a day when truths will out, perhaps
The Armadillo by Elizabeth Bishop
This is the time of year
The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop
I caught a tremendous fish
The Moose by Elizabeth Bishop
From narrow provinces
Visits to St. Elizabeths by Elizabeth Bishop
This is the house of Bedlam.


Further Reading

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