Friday, November 16, 2007

Reaching Towards Relief


I've been wending my way through a book, Tomcat In Love by Tim O'Brien, recommended by Brit Boy. The epigraph is the last sentence of this poem, which I had read before in a class, but hadn't really noted. Now I'm noting. I hope you'll enjoy it - I think it's now one of my top five.

(The other four would be Aristotle by Billy Collins, "You want a social life, with friends" by Kenneth Koch, TS Eliot's Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, and The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, because my mother used to read it to me.)


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.

-- Elizabeth Bishop

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The right poetry at the right time is amazing medicine is it not? I am glad you are finding such good medicine.

Tom Paine said...

Perhaps the true indication of my basic non-polyness is that I have no interest in, nor have I taken any joy, in emotional connections beyond friendship with anyone but C. Her eventual loss (likely to death, but possibly to becoming fed up with me) is, of course, the ulitmate loss for me, so the stakes are higher than if I spread out my love across others. And, no, I'm not one of those who thinks that our love is elastic and can expand to fit other applications: there are simply 24 hours in the day, no matter how we cut it.

Alison said...

Thank you for the link Sweetheart... love your blog, your honesty: I'm kinda aching to be more real, whole, online... an x-rated version of BrocanteHome???x

Mandy said...

I am lucky to be well-poemed :)

Tom - I think you have a point. If I am to be totally honest, I do give less at home when I am giving outside. However, I don't know that I'd give as gladly if I didn't have outside resources - one of the things ex-Lover and I discussed a lot was how our relationship took a lot of pressure off at home - we could be better to our spouses in the time we had when we weren't resenting them for not providing something they couldn't give. I hope you and C will walk hand and hand into a long and eventual sunset.

Alison - I've been delving with pleasure into your blog, and it's truly a (not a joy, that's a cruel word) maybe a serendipity? to discover just how much you and I have in common. BTW, I did a big kitchen scrub today before Thanksgiving, as inspired by you :)