One Poet, “One Art,” One Villanelle…the practiced precision of poetry

51yTZd+toIL._SY300_When people are good at what the do – no matter what their jobs are – their work seems effortless. We never see the hours of practice behind the dancer’s bravura performance or the pianist’s breathtaking delivery nor the years of experience behind the actor’s overnight success, the accountant’s instant analysis or the cook’s fabulously original meal pulled together with left-overs and pantry odds-and-ends. And so it is with the practiced precision of poetry …

Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art  seems effortless but over the course of years she rewrote it seventeen times. It’s humbling to note that someone this brilliant still struggled. One of the reasons that I tend to take down the poems on my blog is that they’re often drafts, even when I delude myself into thinking they’re not. I come back to them sometime later and small important things make me cringe and seem to shout for attention: the glaringly misplaced or missing comma, the inappropriate or inaccurate word and the major issues like overheated emotion, flawed logic or the disordered stanza. In my own small, insignificant way, I relate to Elizabeth Bishop’s struggle to get it just right.

In the short video that follows Professor M. Mark at Vassar College (Bishop’s alma mater) discusses Elizabeth Bishop, her work, and her only villanelle*, the renowned poem, One Art, which is included in The Complete Poems 1926-1978 (recommended reading). .

– Jamie Dedes.

One Art

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, an 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.

– Elizabeth Bishop

Video uploaded by Vassar College.

* Vinanelle ~ a nineteen-line poem with two rhymes throughout, consisting of five tercets and a quatrain, with the first and third lines of the opening tercet recurring alternately at the end of the other tercets and with both repeated at the close of the concluding quatrain. New Oxford American Dictionary

photo-on-2012-09-19-at-19-541JAMIE DEDES (The Poet by Day)~ I am a mother and a medically retired (disabled) elder. The graces of poetry, art, music, writing and reading continue to evolve as a sources of wonder and solace, as a creative outlet, and as a part of my spiritual practice.

POETS AGAINST THE WAR, #4: The Last Horseman Is the One Who Counts by Corina L. Ravenscraft

gas-mask-dollar
There is no profit in peace, you know.
White Horse or Red, the blood must flow.
Human constructs, like Conquest or War,
Benefit the rich and bury the poor.
I think the Draft should be reinstated;
So that ALL might witness the horror created.

Send the war-mongers’ sons first,
To hold the Front Line’s Hell.
Watch them die, or even worse,
Return home, as a shell.
If politician’s kids are killed or maimed,
Will war then taste as good as they claimed?

Tell me:

What’s the magic, almighty dollar amount?
To make endless war worth the body count?
If Corporations are people, now, too,
Let’s send them to war, and see if it’s true.
Will those corporations scream in pain as they bleed?
Will they writhe in agony for a rich man’s greed?
Will they lose their limbs, and maybe their minds?
Does the Machine care about the bones, the bodies it grinds?

In the end:

There is no prophet of peace, you know.
The love of money is Greed: War’s C.E.O.
The wars will continue, the innocents will still fall.
And the Pale Horse’s rider will someday claim all.

– Corina L. Ravenscraft

ch6-4horsemen

Invitation: We’d like you to join us – not only as readers – but as writers by putting links to your own anti-war or pro-peace poems in the comment sections. Next week we’ll gather the links together in one post and put them up as a single page headed “Poets  Against War.”  Thank you!

© 2013, poem and portrait (below), Corina L. Ravenscraft, All rights reserved
Photo credits ~ dollar bill with gas mask via edgecast on Tumbler, second illustration is of a painting by Vallejo

Corina-1992414_511233302297487_1031742058_nCORINA L. RAVENSCRAFT (Dragon’s Dreams) ~ is a guest writer on Into the Bardo. She is a poet and writer, artist and librarian who has been charming us through her blog since 2000, longer than any blogger in our little blogging community. She tends to keep herself in the background, but in a 2011 Jingle Poetry interview with Blaga Todorova (Between the Shadows and the Soul) she revealed, “Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about 1372843_511233305630820_2079635591_nthings important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.”  The samples of Cornina’s art work, her popular Infinity-Möbius dragon, is copyright”Möbius Ouroboros.” If you click on them, you can view enlarged versions.