Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

The Art of Losing Isn’t Hard to Master


This Sunday finds me in Atlanta helping a daughter move into a new apartment. Unpacking yesterday, she couldn’t find an Important pair of black jeans. Her favorite pair. It’s kind of a disaster! (They’ll turn up, of course; surely they will.)

Her loss – and some of my own – brought to mind this half-remembered poem by Elizabeth Bishop…

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

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 not 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.


Rose of Sharon


  1. Fabulous

  2. So poignant and so fitting for this time of year with all of the transitions. Very different from when they were 5 or 6 or 10.

    • I’m trying to remember the exact lines the witch sings in “Into the Woods” that are so powerful, about children… Something along the lines of “children go from something you love to something you lose”… xoxo

  3. Mary Beth Wilson

  4. Good to Consider! Thank you, enjoy Bacon!

  5. So poignant, so true and so hard to accept.

  6. I love this poem so much. Thank you! ❤️❤️❤️

  7. Thank you. As always, very true.

  8. Thank you

  9. Love that!

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