One Art

Everyone's got a different emotional vulnerability.  It might be pride, or failure, or judgement.  For me, it's profound sadness.  When something is just too sorrowful to bear, I really freeze up.  Especially since I became a mother, the weight of the world just feels so heavy.


I lost a good friend ten years ago, and although I've gotten used to carrying that loss through life, the grief is indelible.  It isn't the deepest loss I've suffered, nor the most recent, but something about the shock of it never wore off.


I've found comfort in Elizabeth Bishop's poem "One Art" time and time again:

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.


Treat yourself and your own vulnerabilities gently. There are so many moments left to enjoy.  Thanks for reading.