Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The art of losing isn't hard to master

Watched "In Her Shoes" hoping for a good date movie. It wasn't not because it's bad but because it was deceptively engaging. Films with poetry engage me. Movies are the only time poetry shines because it gives the movie depth and transcendence. My classmates then were enchanted by me when I recited Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay" in the "The Outsiders." I think it was Ralph Macchio who recited it. And then, of course, "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Il Postino" which is a bad film but bad in a good way.
The Cameron Diaz character read (tried to, she was supposed to be dyslexic) an Elizabeth Bishop poem and what an introduction it was. Very poignant. The speaker is denying that she or he lost so much. The poet was being sarcastic when she entitled this "One Art" because she was implying that losing friends and lovers is the only art she was good at. "Write it" because that is the only way to bring out the loss. As our motto goes, Writing well is the best revenge.

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 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.

Marilyn Hacker has a reply for "One Art." Another poem, of course.

The art of living isn’t hard to muster:
Enjoy the hour, not what it might portend.
When someone makes you promises, don’t trust her

unless they’re in the here and now, and just her
willing largesse free-handed to a friend.
The art of living isn’t hard to muster:

groom the old dog, her coat gets back its luster;
take brisk walks so you’re hungry at the end.
When someone makes you promises, don’t trust her

to know she can afford what they will cost her
to keep until they’re kept. Till then, pretend
the art of living isn’t hard to muster.

Cooking, eating and drinking are a cluster
of pleasures. Next time, don’t go round the bend
when someone makes you promises. Don’t trust her

past where you’d trust yourself, and don’t adjust her
words to mean more to you than she’d intend.
The art of living isn’t hard to muster.

You never had her, so you haven’t lost her
like spare house keys. Whatever she opens,
when someone makes you promises, don’t. Trust your
art; go on living: that’s not hard to muster.

OK. This is to invite you all to listen to BIG FM this February. Feb. 11, 14, 18 and 25 from 9:00 to 9:30 pm. As part of Panagbenga, Baguio poets would be reading their own love poems. I will be reading on February 18. This is part of the NCCA February Arts Month celebration. I will be including my poem, "Bolo Punch To The Heart" and the walang kamatayang "Pusisyon ng Pagtulog." Poems about loss. The art of losing is not too hard to muster. I'm good at this. Believe me.


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