Saturday, April 12, 2008

National Poetry Month, Day # 10 & #11: Elizabeth Bishop and Edna St. Vincent Millay

(Elizabeth Bishop)

I tried to get this in before close! There will have to be three in this one post tomorrow. I'm trying to keep up...

On my way to bed, here's one for the road: a good old-fashioned Elizabeth Bishop --followed by a classic Edna St. Vincent Millay (how I love her so).

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.

(E. St. Vincent Millay)


Read history: thus learn how small a space
You may inhabit, nor inhabit long
In crowding Cosmos--in that confined place
Work boldly; build your flimsy barriers strong;
Turn round and round, make warm your nest; among
The other hunting beasts, keep heart and face,--
Not to betray the doomed and splendid race
You are so proud of, to which you belong.
For trouble comes to us all: the rat
Has courage, in adversity, to fight;
But what a shining animal is man,
Who knows, when pain subsides, that is not that,
For worse than that must follow--yet can write
Music; can laugh; play tennis; even plan.

Thank you and goodnight!

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