One Art by Elizabeth Bishop is a poem about the art of losing. Bishop writes about the art of losing as if it were something you can learn to master with practice. She goes from speaking of losing things as little as keys to talking about losing “you”, which we can assume is someone close to her. This poem, although it sounds as though it would be depressing, manages to maintain an upbeat attitude throughout.
The first section of the poem is less personal and written in second person. The fact she writes about the things that have little value in second person gives the reader the feeling that she is telling you how to think. Because she speaks of “lost door keys, the hour badly spent”, this section truly states that “the art of losing isn’t hard to master”. One may get stressed out during times such as these but Bishop is telling the reader that it is not as big of a deal as some may make it out to be. Situations like these are easy to get over and there is much larger, more important thing that you could lose.
The second section of this poem is written in first person and discusses things that are more personal. In this section Bishop speaks of how she lost her mother’s watch, two cities, two rivers, a continent, and even speaks of losing “you”. Losing something that holds sentimental value can be tough to handle but Bishop states that you can get over it by accepting the fact you will always lose things. When Bishop speaks of losing the two rivers, a continent, and “you” we can assume she did not actually lose these things but that she is using these things to symbolize something close to her. The two rivers may symbolize her parents, the continent may represent a brother or sister, and “you” may stand for her husband or lover. We can all imagine that losing someone close to you would be tough but Bishop states that “although it may look like disaster” you can get through it.
One Art by Elizabeth Bishop is a rather upbeat poem...