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Posts Tagged ‘loss’

One Art
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 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.

 

I lose stuff all the time…clothing, keys, cell phone, I-Pod, all that stuff, to my family’s dismay. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. It is no disaster because all of that material can be replaced. Forgetting names, places….can be disgruntling but is no disaster.  You miss these things (a city) but “it wasn’t a disaster”. BUT losing someone, the little things (a gesture etc.) is disaster.

 

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LINES COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY, ON REVISITING THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A TOUR. JULY 13, 1798        

      FIVE years have past; five summers, with the length

      Of five long winters! and again I hear

      These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs

      With a soft inland murmur.–Once again

      Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,

      That on a wild secluded scene impress

      Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect

      The landscape with the quiet of the sky.

      The day is come when I again repose

      Here, under this dark sycamore, and view                        10

      These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,

      Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,

      Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves

      ‘Mid groves and copses. Once again I see

      These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines

      Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,

      Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke

      Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!

      With some uncertain notice, as might seem

Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,          

           Or of some Hermit’s cave, where by his fire      The Hermit sits alone.

                              These beauteous forms,

      Through a long absence, have not been to me

      As is a landscape to a blind man’s eye:

      But oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din

      Of towns and cities, I have owed to them

      In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,

      Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;

      And passing even into my purer mind,

      With tranquil restoration:–feelings too                        30

      Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,

      As have no slight or trivial influence

      On that best portion of a good man’s life,

      His little, nameless, unremembered, acts

      Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,

      To them I may have owed another gift,

      Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,

      In which the burthen of the mystery,

      In which the heavy and the weary weight

      Of all this unintelligible world,                               40

      Is lightened:–that serene and blessed mood,

      In which the affections gently lead us on,–

      Until, the breath of this corporeal frame

      And even the motion of our human blood

      Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

     In body, and become a living soul:

      While with an eye made quiet by the power

      Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,

      We see into the life of things.

If this      Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft–                        50

      In darkness and amid the many shapes

      Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir

      Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,

      Have hung upon the beatings of my heart–

      How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,

      O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro’ the woods,

      How often has my spirit turned to thee!

        And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,

      With many recognitions dim and faint,

      And somewhat of a sad perplexity,                               60

      The picture of the mind revives again:

      While here I stand, not only with the sense

      Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts

      That in this moment there is life and food

      For future years. And so I dare to hope,

      Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first

      I came among these hills; when like a roe

      I bounded o’er the mountains, by the sides

      Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,

      Wherever nature led: more like a man                            70

      Flying from something that he dreads, than one

      Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then

      (The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,

      And their glad animal movements all gone by)

      To me was all in all.–I cannot paint

      What then I was. The sounding cataract

      Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,

      The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,

      Their colours and their forms, were then to me

      An appetite; a feeling and a love,     That had no need of a remoter charm,      By thought supplied, nor any interest

      Unborrowed from the eye.–That time is past,

      And all its aching joys are now no more,

      And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this

      Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur, other gifts

      Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,

      Abundant recompence. For I have learned

      To look on nature, not as in the hour

      Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes                    90

      The still, sad music of humanity,

      Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power

      To chasten and subdue. And I have felt

      A presence that disturbs me with the joy

      Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

      Of something far more deeply interfused,

      Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

      And the round ocean and the living air,

      And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;

      A motion and a spirit, that impels                             100

      All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

      And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still

      A lover of the meadows and the woods,

      And mountains; and of all that we behold

      From this green earth; of all the mighty world

      Of eye, and ear,–both what they half create,

      And what perceive; well pleased to recognise

      In nature and the language of the sense,

      The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,

      The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul                  110

      Of all my moral being.

                              Nor perchance,

      If I were not thus taught, should I the more

      Suffer my genial spirits to decay:

      For thou art with me here upon the banks

      Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,

      My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch

      The language of my former heart, and read

      My former pleasures in the shooting lights

      Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while

      May I behold in thee what I was once,                          120

      My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,

      Knowing that Nature never did betray

      The heart that loved her; ’tis her privilege,

      Through all the years of this our life, to lead

      From joy to joy: for she can so inform

      The mind that is within us, so impress

      With quietness and beauty, and so feed

      With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,

      Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,

      Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all         130      The dreary intercourse of daily life,

      Shall e’er prevail against us, or disturb

      Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold

      Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon

      Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;

      And let the misty mountain-winds be free

      To blow against thee: and, in after years,

      When these wild ecstasies shall be matured

      Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind

      Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,                       140

      Thy memory be as a dwelling-place

      For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,

      If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,

      Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts

      Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,

      And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance–

      If I should be where I no more can hear

      Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams

      Of past existence–wilt thou then forget

      That on the banks of this delightful stream                    150

      We stood together; and that I, so long

      A worshipper of Nature, hither came

      Unwearied in that service: rather say

      With warmer love–oh! with far deeper zeal

      Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,

      That after many wanderings, many years

      Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,

      And this green pastoral landscape, were to me

      More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!

                                                              1798.

                                   

                         

In the beginning of this poem, Wordsworth paints an image of a glorious stream with “beauteous forms”. He almost seems alone with nature and is in “deep seclusion”. Because of the repetition of “once again” in this first paragraph, we realize that Wordsworth is returning to a place he has been before.  He felt run down (“weariness”) by city life and was amazed by the beauty of the landscape. He feels renewal after visiting this place when “the fever of the world have hung upon the beatings of [his] heart”. We all have times like that!

            Moving into line 58 is the shift in the poem to the present, as Wordsworth visits this Wye. He says that things have “changed, no doubt, from what I was first”. He realizes he cannot go back to the way he was. Although his youth is over, “other gifts have followed; for such loss, I would believe, abundant recompense”. He sees nature differently. I’m wondering if he’s reminded of his own mortality, with the “still, sad music of humanity”. He goes on to say that there is a motion and a spirit than impels objects of all thoughts (God??). Then he starts capitalizing Friend and how she is always with him (GOD??). There is definitely a relgious undernote considering this is about an abbey, (denotation : A monastery of religious persons secluded from the world, and under vows of celibacy). Can nature be one’s church?

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