Elizabeth Bishop | One Art | a poem

One Art
Elizabeth Bishop
1911 – 1979

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

“Why shouldn’t we, so generally addicted to the gigantic, at last have some small works of art, some short poems, short pieces of music […], some intimate, low-voiced, and delicate things in our mostly huge and roaring, glaring world?”
― Elizabeth Bishop



Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and short-story writer. She was Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1949 to 1950, the Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry in 1956 . . .

Born: February 8, 1911, Worcester, MA
Died: October 6, 1979, Boston, MA

Movies: First Death in Nova Scotia, Bishopric
Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, United States Poet Laureate

2 thoughts on “Elizabeth Bishop | One Art | a poem

  1. Pingback: Elizabeth Bishop | One Art | a poem — the secret keeper | O LADO ESCURO DA LUA

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