I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I think I am thinking about these lines because earlier this evening we were all down
in the motel pool and at the end I was sitting and waiting for Chris to coax Cora out of the
water and my mind wandered to memories of our backyard pool when I was in high school,
and I was thinking that having that pool was one of the very best things about high school,
as I see it now. I loved being in that pool, lying on hot cement next to it after being in the
water for a long time, the feeling of the heat soaking into a wet suit. I would read stretched
out on the diving board. My brothers and I played games there - made up games of baseball
while sitting perched on boogie boards.
And I was thinking about places, bodies of water, I've left behind - that pool, the ocean,
a beloved lake, and soon a river, and those lines popped into my head. I am finding there is
something about a motel room, a cool evening, birdsong, a highway, and a sleeping child that
all conspire to make it very easy to think about loss. That is the art in Bishop's poem, after all,
the art of losing.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I am sitting in a motel room in WI, Cora asleep in the bed, Chris at a concert, the room filling up with darkness as the world beyond the open window fills with evening birdsong and highway thrum, and I am thinking about that Elizabeth Bishop poem "One Art" and in particular, these lines: