Mastering the Art of Losing

It’s a cool, rainy day in Beantown.  A stubborn refusal to welcome in summer.  It suits my mood today as I lost property number 8 – three cash buyers, need to close before the 5th of August or suffer capital gains penalties.  Regrettably that means that there are two cash buyers still out there.  Two that I know of anyway – perhaps there are dozens.  Shouldn’t they be bidding on million dollar properties, steering well clear of my range?  I’m getting nearly as good at losing as I am at bidding.  I came across this poem by Elizabeth Bishop which poignantly, and ever so delicately, indicates that this is not a disaster.


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.

So you see, 8 losses isn’t disaster.  I will find my right place – this too I will master.

Leave a Reply