Saturday, February 12, 2011

Elisabeth Bishop

I just realized that the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of my favourite poets, Elisabeth Bishop, passed a few days ago, on February 8th, without my realizing it. Her brilliant villanelle One Art is one of my very favourite poems. I never tire of reading it. It also inspired a quasi-villanelle of my own a few years ago, which I post here now, in honour of Elisabeth.

Lost and Found

It’s been a year for losing: fifteen pounds,
each misplaced one by one, though I feel sure
if I look hard enough they’ll all be found.

A dozen pens of meter and rhymes unsound,
whole stanzas gone to Euterpe’s allure.
It’s been a year for losing. I hung around

Rio but couldn’t spot the holy ground
where Liza lived—but oh what horse manure!
If I’d tried harder, it could have been found.

Then youth, who snuck away one night, unbound;
my heart still aches, however more mature
I am: it’s been a year for losing ground.

But one good thing, at least, one placid sound
did not take flight, though how is still obscure.
It’s been a year for losing, stumbling around;
yet somehow, here in the dark, you I found.

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