Elizabeth Bishop - One Art

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Elizabeth Bishop makes use of mostly full end rhymes and simple language in her “One Art” poem. In general, One Art is a crafted poem. Some full cease rhymes used include master/ fluster, disaster/ master, master or/ last, disaster/ gesture/ master. The reader of the poem notes the almost tongue-in-cheek tone that is conventional. Moreover, the writer of the poem spices her work by the use of irony. Initially, the poet appears to be reminding herself of the meaning of dropping something. Certainly, it is no big deal we are told. Not a disaster. The work is carefully organized into a whole of six stanzas.

Stanza One

In the first stanza, the writer decides to change the idea of loss into a form of art with the aim of convincing both the reader and herself that some things inherently want to be lost. Even after getting lost, people should not be wasting their time crying over them since it was bound to occur in the first place. The speaker gratefully accepts this critical approach.

Stanza Two

In the same fashion, if things want to get lost as fate dictates, then there is no reason for failing to lose something daily. It seems like a wacky take statement that is offbeat. Surely, no one can choose to lose something without getting emotional every day. In this position, the speaker tries to suggest that things, time, and even keys are equivalent to the same thing. All of them can be lost. Emotion is held in the continuous building of the poem. At this point, the reader is reminded of the fact that there is no possibility of losing control within the compact form of the poem. However, one is allowed to get agitated, embarrass, or confused.

Stanza Three

In the third stanza, a reader is allowed to lose something consciously. In other words, the reader is required to practice the art. This procedure sets in the irony of the idea that in this place, the mind is the central focus. Definitely, we are just told to lose the abstract. Things such as names and places, perhaps on a map. As life gets busy, time is being squeezed too. In effect, minds become stretched and full. However, there is no problem in the end as it is possible to handle the losses.

Stanza Four

The emphasis is still on time in the fourth stanza. Here, the watch of the mother is lost. This incident symbolizes a profound poet’s personal experience. In the first line, the poet writers and look! To inform the reader of the three loved houses that went.

Stanza Five

This stanza is a continuation of the buildup. The reader is faced with the loss of the speaker of the whole continent including the cities whey they used to live. The whole scenario looks drastic.

Stanza Six

The final stanza tries to give the afterthought feeling. There is the presence of the use of various verbs such as “too” and “even” to connect with the loved ones. These verbs also appear to be used for revealing something that is quite painful.


In summary, disaster is always possible when a person loses something. Nonetheless, we are being taught by life that everyone should still come out of the precarious situations with a smile. It is possible to become the masters of the aft of losing as argued by the poet.

August 26, 2022



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