BA English Notes, Poem One Art, Complete Explanation

Explanation lines (1-3):

Reference: These lines have been taken from the poem ‘One Art’ written by Elizabeth Bishop.

Context: The poetess discusses different ways to common experiences of losses that we suffer in life. She advises us to be patient and calm at the loss of material things. We can overcome the pains and problems of life if we exercise patience over our small losses. She tries to convince us that the art of losing things is not very difficult.

Explanation:

The poetess, Elizabeth Bishop is explaining that the art of losing is not hard to master. There are many things in the world, which are made for destruction. There are many objects, which are to be damaged.

Actually, the poetess is describing this fact in a mocking style. However, her underlying message is serious, sane and sensible.    

Explanation lines (4-6):

Reference: The same as above:

Context: The same as above:

Explanation:

The poetess is advising to lose something daily. The loser should accept the confusion. The keys or the door should be lost and its problem should be born. The art of losing is very easy to seek.

            On the surface level, the idea of the poetess is looking non-serious and frivolous (playful) but the underlying message is serious, same and sensible. We should develop a spirit of acceptance and resignation.

Explanation lines (7-9):

Reference: The same as above:

Context: The same as above:

Explanation:

The poetess is suggesting to the reader to lose everything from little too great. We should lose place and names where we have traveled. None of these actions will bring disaster. The poetess is suggesting that every loss should be taken with a smiling face and stout (brave) heart. In this way, a defeat or disaster loses its bitterness and give us hope and strength to look ahead.

Explanation lines (10-12):

Reference: The same as above:

Context: The same as above:

Explanation:

The poetess is clarifying her point of view with different example. She lost her mother’s watch. All her neighbor left the vicinity (surrounding area). The poetess had deep relation with them but their departure did not create any disaster.

In this stanza and almost in the whole poem, the poetess is delivering a lecture to seek the lesson of losing.

Explanation lines (13-15):

Reference: The same as above:

Context: The same as above:

Explanation:

The poetess is exaggerating (overstressing) this point. She mentions that she loses two beautiful lovely and vaster cities. She lost her realm, two rivers and continent. All these were big losses but she did not care them. Although, she missed them, yet it was not a big problem for her. Through these losing objects, the poetess is conveying a lesson to bear even the greatest losses with smiling face.

Explanation lines (16-19):

Reference: The same as above:

Context: The same as above:

Explanation:

In the last extract, the poetess accepts that one may lose sometimes a joking voice or a gesture. She emphasizes that she could not have told a lie. On the other hand, she is strict on her point that art of losing is not too hard to master. Sometimes, it will seem but actually, it is not.

Actually, the art of losing means to live life, hoping for the best and to be ready to face and accept the worst.

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