Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

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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Who is a Poet
by Tadeusz Rosewicz
translated from the Polish by Magnus Krynski and Robert Maguire

a poet is one who writes verses
and one who does not write verses

a poet is one who throws off fetters
and one who puts fetters on himself

a poet is one who believes
and one who cannot bring himself to believe

a poet is one who has told lies
and one who has been told lies

one who has been inclined to fall
and one who raises himself

a poet is one who tries to leave
and one who cannot leave


What I  got:

Firstly, I can’t put it better than the poet (or the translators) but here goes. A poet is a creator-yet the reader is the creation. The poem cannot exist without the reader. A poet is everything and nothing at the same time. The most confounding stanza, I thought, was

“a poet is one who believes
and one who cannot bring himself to believe “.

It reminds me of my dad…I’ve really turned him on to the Obama movement and he wants to believe but he has this social fetter about politics that Obama will just disappoint us all in the end. He wants to believe, but he can’t let optimism overtake his stuck-on belief.


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If See No End In Is

By Frank Bidart


What none knows is when, not if.

Now that your life nears its end

when you turn back what you see

is ruin. You think, It is a prison. No,

it is a vast resonating chamber in

which each thing you say or do is


new, but the same. What none knows is

how to change. Each plateau you reach, if

single, limited, only itself, in-

cludes traces of all the others, so that in the end

limitation frees you, there is no

end, if   you once see what is there to see.


You cannot see what is there to see

not when she whose love you failed is

standing next to you. Then, as if refusing the know-

ledge that life unseparated from her is death, as if

again scorning your refusals, she turns away. The end

achieved by the unappeased is burial within.


Familiar spirit, within whose care I grew, within

whose disappointment I twist, may we at last see

by what necessity the double-bind is in the end

the figure for human life, why what we love is

precluded always by something else we love, as if

each no we speak is yes, each yes no.


The prospect is mixed but elsewhere the forecast is no

better. The eyrie where you perch in

exhaustion has food and is out of the wind, if

cold. You feel old, young, old, young: you scan the sea

for movement, though the promise of sex or food is

the prospect that bewildered you to this end.


Something in you believes that it is not the end.

When you wake, sixth grade will start. The finite you know

you fear is infinite: even at eleven, what you love is

what you should not love, which endless bullies in-

tuit unerringly. The future will be different: you cannot see

the end. What none knows is when, not if.

 Well, this poem is both comforting and depressing. In a world where we so often look ahead, try and get ahead, we forget our own mortality. This is the kind of thing that makes uncomfortable. Death is scary and we’d much prefer to glaze over it and “live In the moment”. “What none knows is when, not if”. We know we will die; we’re human. It’s just a matter of when…you know, it’s kind of scary to think about..but we are powerless. The gods live free of sorrows because they are immortal.

Why was everyone so shocked by the announcement of Ted Kennedy’s brain tumor diagosis? He’s 76. My own father insisted that it was the ‘Kennedy Curse’ and that Ted just has another unlucky fate like the rest of his family. I too was saddened to hear of this news…but it really isn’t shocking. We all WILL die, it is just a question of when.

Anyway, back to the poem…interesting words of Bidart here:

that in the end /limitation frees you, there is no /end, if   you once see what is there to see.

So our own limitation (we are limited by our mortality) is what makes us free, what makes us human.

The prospect is mixed but elsewhere the forecast is no better.


Ugh, how depressing…I can see why we don’t like talking about death.



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Prospective Immigrants Please Note


Either you will

go through this door

or you will not go through.


If you go through

there is always the risk

of remembering your name.


Things look at you doubly

and you must look back

and let them happen.


If you do not go through

it is possible

to live worthily


to maintain your attitudes

to hold your position

to die bravely


but much will blind you,

much will evade you,

at what cost who knows?


The door itself

makes no promises.

It is only a door.



This poem resonates with America today…we have been called a “melting pot” for some time now. It seems ironic that this land has been called the land of opportunity because it has been a while since I’ve heard of the “self-made man” in America. It seems like the ability to rise up through the ranks is diminishing more and more everyday, with big corporate business and that top 5% controlling the wealth of our country. Rich’s disclaimer to immigrants is saying that opportunity (or a door) “makes no promises”.

We’re left with a decision, fight or flight.

1.Go through the door into that unknown and risk of blindness and evasion. Immigrants are often pegged as annoyances stealing jobs from regular Americans.

2. Stay where you are–live worthily….


Would you go through the door?


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I haven’t written in a while; my life is busy. Poetry analysis to come!

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Ave Maria

by Frank O’Hara

 Mothers of America let your kids go to the movies! get them out of the house so they won’t know what you’re up to it’s true that fresh air is good for the body but what about the soul that grows in darkness, embossed by silvery images and when you grow old as grow old you must they won’t hate you they won’t criticize you they won’t know they’ll be in some glamorous country they first saw on a Saturday afternoon or playing hookey  they may even be grateful to you for their first sexual experience which only cost you a quarter and didn’t upset the peaceful home they will know where candy bars come from and gratuitous bags of popcorn as gratuitous as leaving the movie before it’s over with a pleasant stranger whose apartment is in the Heaven on Earth Bldg near the Williamsburg Bridge oh mothers you will have made the little tykes so happy because if nobody does pick them up in the movies they won’t know the difference and if somebody does it’ll be sheer gravy and they’ll have been truly entertained either way instead of hanging around the yard or up in their room hating you prematurely since you won’t have done anything horribly mean yet except keeping them from the darker joys it’s unforgivable the latter so don’t blame me if you won’t take this advice and the family breaks up and your children grow old and blind in front of a TV set seeing movies you wouldn’t let them see when they were young


This poem is whimsically written, but behind the rhetoric, there is some meaning. You can’t keep your kids young forever. Sometimes we have to venture into the wilderness to grow up and find ourselves. This place is the movies. (as it was in the 20’s) in the dark, we are fascinated by the glamour of it all: the moving picture, the salty popcorn, the hidden handhold (or maybe a little more). I remember my first movie date. Our parents dropped us off, but it still felt so grown up to be left alone, to be “on our own”. Sure, mom and dad were just a phone call or a restaurant away, but we felt that “fresh air” O’Hara is talking about. It’s scary to think that by keeping kids home, you risk “the family break[ing] up and your children grow old and blind in front of a TV set seeing movies you wouldn’t let them see when they were young”. Going to the movies is necessary. Leaving the nest…it happens. For me, I’m about to “go to the movies” in a big way -college.

I’m confounded by the line: “get them out of the house so they won’t know what you’re up to”…what could mothers of America be up to?


                                                                                   ADAM AND EVE :LOSS OF INNOCENCE

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PIPING down the valleys wild,

Piping songs of peasant glee,

On a cloud I saw a child,

And he, laughing, said to me:  

 ‘Pipe a song about a lamb!’

So I piped with merry cheer.

 ‘Piper, pipe that song again;’

So I piped: he wept to hear.  

‘Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;

Sing thy songs of happy cheer!’

So I sang the same again,

While he wept with joy to hear.  

 ‘Piper, sit thee down and write

 In a book, that all may read.’

So he vanished from my sight;

And I plucked a hollow reed,  

And I made a rural pen,

And I stain’d the water clear,

 And I wrote my happy songs

Every child may joy to hear.

At first glance, this poem had nursery rhyme resonance for me. It just seemed so happy and joyful that I knew there had to be more meaning behind the words. This piper choses to live life in a way that makes him happy: spread song and joy to all he meets. The special child from a cloud tells the piper to record these songs for every child and in doing so, the piper stains the water clear.We are all sinners. We are all in a sense, stained. We try and cleanse ourselves. The piper says to make ourselves clean by spreading joy and creating. He is creating, with each note, and each letter formed by his pen. This written language units us all as humans. We are all creators, especially in poetry. So life doesn’t suck…that outlook simply taints us more. We create our lives. Sure, we can’t control everything, but we create our world based on our reactions to mishaps. The piper says to reject the belief that everything is out of our hands. We have to power to think, write, create. We make our lives.

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