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Random Poetry Prompt

I am answering a random writing prompt that asked, “What is your favorite poem?” I don’t want my last impressions of this day to be the 5:45 pm bus that arrived at 6:18 pm. Nor do I want the negative feelings of coming home to a trash bag having been ripped apart with its contents strewn across the floor, the telltale sign of a bored doggie. Tossing a bit of poetry into the mix seems like a good way to unwind and regain my composure.

I do not have one ultimate favorite poem or poet, although there is one poem that I am saving for a special occasion which I refuse to utter until the time is right. Then there is “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop that I heard a character partially read in a movie that stuck with me, although I cannot recite it word for word. I just like it. Every time I read it, it makes me think—about its meaning and about the artist who created the 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.

DSC_7186 (800x531)

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.

There is one poem that I managed to memorize, probably because of its simplicity and brevity. I remember it being attributed to Dorothy Parker, but I have since seen it credited to Oscar Wilde:

Love will die if held too tightly.
Love will fly if held too lightly.
Lightly, tightly, how do I know
Whether I’m holding, or letting love go?

Then also attributed to Ray Bradbury, but substituting art for love:

Art will fly if held too lightly,
Art will die if held too tightly,
Lightly, tightly, how do I know
Whether I’m holding or letting Art go?

What is your favorite poem?

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