Resources for Loss

"One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop, contributed by Paul Johnston (TF, 2019)

I was sent this poem by a friend of mine this summer, at a time when I just kept misplacing little things: my house keys in an Airbnb, a towel on a beach, some komboloi (Greek worry beads) in a restaurant. Elizabeth Bishop's charming poem is about embracing—mastering!—these small losses along with much larger ones as a way to be at peace. There's an art to losing things, she suggests, and it's an art that we can practice and get better at. It's not the end of the world to lose one's keys: so it's not the end of the world to suffer larger losses either. We'll miss the things we've lost, sure, but at least we had them for a time; nothing can be forever. All things are meant to be lost, eventually, and if we can come to terms with that and accept it in advance, when it eventually happens, "their loss is no disaster."

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