Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Poem: "Losing Art"

Losing Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
—Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art”

It is too hard to end a line with “Art.”
It sounds too smug. It is full of intention.
The end is not dictated by the start.

If the hand begins to write from the heart,
paying the passions the right attention,
it is too hard to end a line with “Art.”

Or else the verse may be brought up too smart
for its own good, rhyming with intervention.
The end is not dictated by the start.

Imagination is no help for the most part.
All it wants is to have fun with invention.
It is too hard to end a line with “Art.”

Just at this stage most villanelles impart
some hardwon but elegant comprehension
like the end is not dictated by the start.

All this we fathom as we ride the cart
to the grave, sighing in sad contention,
It is too hard to end a line with “Art”;
the end is not dictated by the start.                       

2 comments:

Shropshirelad said...

Interesting choice of perspective. It is more impersonal than Bishop's version. She is not shy about using the "I"...

Jee Leong Koh said...

I don't know about "shyness," Eric, but I see what you mean, and am mulling...