Poetry as an Homage

Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry holds a special place in my heart.

If you’re not familiar with her, go to the Google and become friends with this wonderful writer. Consider starting with “The Fish” or, better yet, “One Art” a poem I am paying homage to this day.

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.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/47536

There’s something about “One Art” that resonates for me. Perhaps it is the accessibility of the poem. Or the discipline with its odd meter (11/10/11). Or the anachronistic rhyme scheme (ABA).

In any event, my attempt follows the rhyme scheme but I kept each line at 12 syllables.

I hope you will share your feelings on it, good, bad or indifferent.

Stay in touch. Connect.

The Art of Losing Revisited

BY JON FREEDMAN

The art of losing is easy, the Bishop swore
From an ivy perch. Nodding, I stroked my bare chin
Too young, too naive to know what weight the words bore

A minor loss gives no inking of what’s in store
A wallet here, glasses there, “it happens” my spin
Too young, too naive to know what weight the words bore

Lovers, then a love, daughters, a home by the shore
I thought there’s no time for what was or might have been.
Too young, too naive to know what weight the words bore

Midlife, middling life, losses pounding at the door
Ignore them I implore, we need not let them in
Too young, too naive to know what weight the words bore

Grey days, gray stubble, hoping there’s still time for more
I hear him whisper, “how his hair is growing thin”
Too young, too naive to know what weight the words bore

The art of losing demands one not keep a score
All the pain of losses led to my biggest win
The path to the cliff’s edge; a choice to fall or soar