Monday, November 9, 2015

The art of losing

Whenever I lose something I always think of this poem;

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. 
-Elizabeth Bishop

I like it for many different reasons, but mostly because it puts things in perspective, and makes me think of the things and people I have lost. I've lost cities, and apartments, a beloved grandfather and stepfather, a childhood friend, pets, and chances... I've lost my way, which I find and lose all the time, sentimental objects, and lately (a week ago), a hard drive containing all the pictures from the past year or so. Also the computer... kaput!

I refuse to be angry about this fact, it is after all my fault - I kept leaving the back up for another day, and another... too late now...

Now I have been trying to re-live our birthdays, trips, and silly little memories that make up who we are as a family. I will keep on practicing the art of losing, for it is an art that needs to be mastered. This will not be the last time I lose something, that is certain.

A few things that I've lost and miss:

- a tea cup collection
- my art portfolio
- a few friends... one in particular
- my sense of smell
- my grandfather's poetry books
- more than half of my hair
- books that never came back
- photos... lots of them, apart from the recent ones
- memories... my mind is very selective, and sometimes I don't agree with what it has kept
- a pair of boots

In truth, I don't obsess about any of the above, not anymore at least. The reality is I can't do anything about them, so every now and then, they appear in my mind or heart and then they go... again. Time is a great healer but doesn't erase, that is the only thing I know for sure.

I wish you well, and hope that whatever you've lost, you've made peace with it,


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