Friday, July 23, 2010


Happy Poetry Friday! Roundup is at Language, Literacy and Love. And come back next Friday, when Roundup is HERE! I'll be giving away some volumes of poetry for all you word-lovers out there.

So, onto today's poem.

I've been losing things lately. At first it was little things like a novel left in a hotel room. Or my cell phone case (who knows where). Then I very nearly ran out of gas. (Ummm, distracted much?? That hasn't happened since I was a teenager!) And now I've graduated to bigger things I dare not mention here.

Tell me, dear readers... what is the most important/valuable/silly thing you have ever lost?

And now, in my attempt to reframe things, I give you a most famous villanelle by Elizabeth Bishop. Enjoy!


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.


  1. Hi Irene, I seem to lose rings. I once lost my wedding ring and found it in the ice machine, I've lost my engagement ring and my birthstone ring, neither one was ever found. Oh, and contact lenses, I've lost them too many times to count!
    Enjoyed the poem!
    Have a great weekend.

  2. I love this poem. The final lines are powerful. I'm always amazed at how easy she makes the villanelle form look.

  3. Eyeglasses, always eyeglasses. I keep CVS in business with my repeat returns to the Magnavision display.

    I need to take a poetry class. So many times, the poems that resonate most with me turn out to be an official form, like this, a villanelle (thanks, Laura S.).

  4. I'm always losing my keys. I was so happy when my son gave me a Jiggly Puff (character from Pokemon) key ring. I haven't lost this key ring, but I have too many keys to fit on only one key ring. Sigh. Should break down and buy another large key ring.

    Laura Evans

  5. The worst thing I lost recently was a word when I was giving a talk at a conference. I was telling about Barbara O'Connor's book THE SMALL ADVENTURE OF POPEYE AND ELVIS and I lost "motor home" and any pathway to get my brain to find that word (RV, Silver Stream, trailer...). It was so frustrating to be in front of an audience and so completely at a loss for ONE simple word!


Your thoughts?