The Art of Losing - Relecting Elisabeth Bishop
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But the rest was up to the writing, sentence by sentence, crafting them, letting that last sentence guide him into the next. Beginning in , Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant, single-handedly built these seventeen, inter-connected towers, the tallest being ninety-nine feet. Rodia made these towers from broken pieces of Milk of Magnesia and 7 Up bottles, as well as bits of crockery and ceramic tiles he saw every day along the railroad tracks near his home.
These all artfully held together by cement and wire mesh. Imprinted in the cement were the tools he used to build the towers, but also sundry items such as a cornbread mold, rug beater and water faucet handles. As far as their construction, Rodia had no pre-determined image, no blueprint. Their materials were objects he found at hand, the contours and dimensions of the towers were incrementally improvised by what had just been built. As though editing and disposal were as much a tool as were the pouring of cement and decorating with glass and tile.
Yet they bear the sense of deliberately being made as they now stand. Starting at age forty-two, it took Rodia thirty-three years to build these towers. It took Darwin forty years to go from fields notes to completing On the Origin of the Species. As though each of these constructions came from a gradual building up of ideas, finding their own way, making sure the structure was solid and true to itself. Or rather, built, torn down and re-built, steadily.
As far as why I write, sometimes it can be problem solving or ideas wanting to be wrenched from the vague and amorphous into language. She had frequent crying jags that spring, usually fuelled by alcohol: this was the year she began to drink in earnest. There was apparently nothing Bishop felt she could say about any of this to the abstemious, morally upright Moore, although she might have found more sympathy than she expected. Or, at least, more experience. Moore never met her father, who was confined to a mental institution before she was born.
Her puritanical mother had lived in a lesbian relationship who would have thought it? Like Bishop, she used poetry to survive.
Frank J. Kearful – Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Prodigal” as a Sympathetic Parody
But these two profoundly afflicted and original women never ventured past the white-gloved propriety of their sustaining myths; it was four years before they were on a mutual first-name basis. Even so, the bond was exhilarating. Moore had found not only a friend of her own rare mental calibre but an adventurous young soul who brought light and air into her cloistered world.
But perhaps the silence gave each woman what she wanted most: a poetry whose surface composure—as hard won as her own surface composure—glimmered with the depths of what she dared not say. In fact, she was having Christmas dinner with Margaret and her mother when she had to flee because of an asthma attack; flu compounded her miseries, leaving her bed-bound. Maps had been used by Moore to great effect. Rainier presents on a map—more than two hundred lines of minute description and fearsome intellectual vigor. For a moment, pondering how printed names overrun the places they identify, the poem offers a hint of unlikely emotion:.
Her asthma-inducing emotion may well have exceeded its cause at Christmas dinner, and found its way into the poem. Of course, any such biographical explanation is a cheat: the reader cannot be expected to supply these facts; the poem means what it means, on its own. Bishop began to travel restlessly—France, Morocco, Spain—at about the time she began to publish, in the mid-thirties. She had no real home, after all. The Crane family made paper, including the paper used in dollar bills. Bishop was attractive to both women and men, sometimes too much so for her own good. In , she turned down a marriage proposal from a young man she had strung along just in case?
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Louise whisked her off to Florida to recover, and she soon discovered Key West. Still a sleepy backwater of an island, it became her regular haven for nearly a decade, long outlasting the relationship with Louise. Bishop was deeply drawn to islands—places where she felt isolated, solitary, safe. Even having lunch with people from Partisan Review including McCarthy gave her nightmares. She wrote very slowly, often working on a poem for years, and increasing requests for publication only made her aware of how little she had done.
Cold dark deep and absolutely clear, element bearable to no mortal, to fish and to seals. One seal particularly I have seen here evening after evening.
He was curious about me. He was interested in music; like me a believer in total immersion, so I used to sing him Baptist hymns. Then he would disappear, then suddenly emerge almost in the same spot, with a sort of shrug as if it were against his better judgment. Cold dark deep and absolutely clear, the clear gray icy water.
Back, behind us, the dignified tall firs begin. Bluish, associating with their shadows, a million Christmas trees stand waiting for Christmas. The water seems suspended above the rounded gray and blue-gray stones.
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I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same, slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones, icily free above the stones, above the stones and then the world. If you should dip your hand in, your wrist would ache immediately, your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn as if the water were a transmutation of fire that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame.
If you tasted it, it would first taste bitter, then briny, then surely burn your tongue. It is like what we imagine knowledge to be: dark, salt, clear, moving, utterly free, drawn from the cold hard mouth of the world, derived from the rocky breasts forever, flowing and drawn, and since our knowledge is historical, flowing, and flown. Elizabeth Bishop Visits to St. Elizabeths  This is the house of Bedlam. This is the man that lies in the house of Bedlam. This is the time of the tragic man that lies in the house of Bedlam. This is a wristwatch telling the time of the talkative man that lies in the house of Bedlam.
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This is a sailor wearing the watch that tells the time of the honored man that lies in the house of Bedlam. This is the roadstead all of board reached by the sailor wearing the watch that tells the time of the old, brave man that lies in the house of Bedlam. These are the years and the walls of the ward, the winds and clouds of the sea of board sailed by the sailor wearing the watch that tells the time of the cranky man that lies in the house of Bedlam.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat that dances weeping down the ward over the creaking sea of board beyond the sailor winding his watch that tells the time of the cruel man that lies in the house of Bedlam.
This is a world of books gone flat. This is a Jew in a newspaper hat that dances weeping down the ward over the creaking sea of board of the batty sailor that winds his watch that tells the time of the busy man that lies in the house of Bedlam. This is a boy that pats the floor to see if the world is there, is flat, for the widowed Jew in the newspaper hat that dances weeping down the ward waltzing the length of a weaving board by the silent sailor that hears his watch that ticks the time of the tedious man that lies in the house of Bedlam. These are the years and the walls and the door that shut on a boy that pats the floor to feel if the world is there and flat.
Mastering Disaster? Loss in ‘One Art’ by Elizabeth Bishop
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat that dances joyfully down the ward into the parting seas of board past the staring sailor that shakes his watch that tells the time of the poet, the man that lies in the house of Bedlam. This is the soldier home from the war. These are the years and the walls and the door that shut on a boy that pats the floor to see if the world is round or flat. This is a Jew in a newspaper hat that dances carefully down the ward, walking the plank of a coffin board with the crazy sailor that shows his watch that tells the time of the wretched man that lies in the house of Bedlam.
The Moose For Grace Bulmer Bowers From narrow provinces of fish and bread and tea, home of the long tides where the bay leaves the sea twice a day and takes the herrings long rides, where if the river enters or retreats in a wall of brown foam depends on if it meets the bay coming in, the bay not at home; where, silted red, sometimes the sun sets facing a red sea, and others, veins the flats' lavender, rich mud in burning rivulets; on red, gravelly roads, down rows of sugar maples, past clapboard farmhouses and neat, clapboard churches, bleached, ridged as clamshells, past twin silver birches, through late afternoon a bus journeys west, the windshield flashing pink, pink glancing off of metal, brushing the dented flank of blue, beat-up enamel; down hollows, up rises, and waits, patient, while a lone traveller gives kisses and embraces to seven relatives and a collie supervises.
Goodbye to the elms, to the farm, to the dog. The bus starts. The light grows richer; the fog, shifting, salty, thin, comes closing in. Its cold, round crystals form and slide and settle in the white hens' feathers, in gray glazed cabbages, on the cabbage roses and lupins like apostles; the sweet peas cling to their wet white string on the whitewashed fences; bumblebees creep inside the foxgloves, and evening commences.
One stop at Bass River. A pale flickering. The Tantramar marshes and the smell of salt hay. An iron bridge trembles and a loose plank rattles but doesn't give way. On the left, a red light swims through the dark: a ship's port lantern. 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! 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. It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like Write it! Paraphrase: The ability to forget is not difficult to learn a lot of objects retain the capability to be misplaced, making their loss seem less tragic Forget something daily, welcome the agitation whether of forgotten keys or the time gone awry the ability to forget is not difficult to learn.
Then continue to forget things more obscurely, more quickly addresses and identities and the places where you meant to go. And see! My final, or next-to-final, of three beloved homes gone the ability to forget is not difficult to learn I failed to keep two poleis, beautiful things. And beyond, some domains I possessed, two streams, a country I yearn for them, yet it was not a calamity.
Even as I failed to grasp you the bantering, an expression I love I would not have deceived you. It is obvious the ability to forget is not too difficult to learn although it may seem like Inscribe it! Bishop introduces us to the art of losing and makes a straightforward statement about it. Since losing is an unpleasant, frustrating and sometimes heart-breaking thing, to call it an art is ironic. Her feelings are portrayed between the parenthesis where what she truly feels seep through.
Her inner thoughts that Bishop usually leaves out of her poems turns into self-conflict and turmoil that she fights within herself to form a resolution that comes in the last stanza.