Wednesday, January 8

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.

I came across this poem awhile ago, but lost it until the other day. I can't seem to get it out of my mind. It means a lot of things to me, but the most pertinent in my life right now is the losing of friends. Have you ever lost a friend? Not through dying, but through losing touch? Have you ever fallen completely out of touch with someone who you loved and who you laughed with until tears were streaming down both of your faces? When it gets to the point where you feel too far apart to ever come together again. When you send a text or leave a voicemail, but it goes unanswered, or when it is answered the answer is tinny and false and you wonder whether you're the only one who misses what you used to have.

It seems that I keep losing friends. It starts small with broken promises to call back or grab lunch and then gets bigger and bigger until I don't even seem to know the person on the other line. They get new friends, I get new friends, they start dating people I've never met, I'm dating someone they've never met, we live far away or we live down the street but schedules get busy, excuses and excuses build atop each other. Lives spiral away from each other, torpedoing in opposite directions at lightening speeds. Maybe friendships are meant to be blips on the life path, small moments of understanding and acceptance and happiness that you need for only a period of your life. Sometimes they break odds and stay for longer, sometimes they go away for awhile and come back again, and sometimes they disappear forever making you question whether they were ever really there.

I have a hard time saying goodbye and an even harder time accepting that a friendship is over. My mind always races to try and answer what went wrong, where things went astray, how we could forget. You'd think that with all the time I spend fretting over lost friendships I would just pick up the phone and reach out. But I usually choose to hide behind hurt pride and leave the phone where it is. Maybe it's my fault, maybe it's theirs, but most likely maybe we're all in it together each in our own way allowing friendships and connections to slowly disappear without even a cry of protest.


  1. I'm so glad you left a comment over on my blog because now i'm here, reading through your posts and falling totally in love with all of them! especially this one. you're right - I think it's something we all struggle with, especially in the years immediately after college when everyone seems to fan out all over the place.