Drafts #16 and #1 of “One Art” … great poem by Elizabeth Bishop

Draft #16 of “One Art,” a poem by Elizabeth Bishop. The finished poem was included in Geography III, Bishop’s final collection. I’ve included her first draft of the poem, which is quite different.
 
Elizabeth Bishop 007 one art draft

 
 

[Draft 1]

HOW TO LOSE THINGS/? /The GIFT OF LOSING THINGS

One might begin by losing one’s reading glasses
oh 2 or 3 times a day – or one’s favorite pen.

THE ART OF LOSING THINGS

The thing to do is to begin by “mislaying”.
Mostly, one begins by “mislaying”:
keys, reading-glasses, fountain pens
– these are almost too easy to be mentioned,
and “mislaying” means that they usually turn up
in the most obvious place, although when one
is making progress, the places grow more unlikely
– This is by way of introduction. I really
want to introduce myself – I am such a
fantastic lly good at losing things
I think everyone shd. profit from my experiences.

You may find it hard to believe, but I have actually lost
I mean lost, and forever two whole houses,
one a very big one. A third house, also big, is
at present, I think, “mislaid” – but
Maybe it’s lost too. I won’t know for sure for some time.
I have lost one long long peninsula and one island.
I have lost – it can never be has never been found –
a small-sized town on that same island.
I’ve lost smaller bits of geography, like    and many smaller bits of geography or scenery
a splendid beach, and a good-sized bay.
Two whole cities, two of the
world’s biggest cities (two of the most beautiful
although that’s beside the point)
A piece of one continent –
and one entire continent.    All gone, gone forever and ever.

One might think this would have prepared me
for losing one averaged-sized not especially——exceptionally
beautiful or dazzlingly intelligent person
(except for blue eyes) (only the eyes were exceptionally beautiful and
But it doesn’t seem to have, at all … the hands looked intelligent)
                  the fine hands

a good piece of one continent
and another continent – the whole damned thing!
He who loseth his life, etc… – but he who
loses his love – neever, no never never never again –

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~ by samofthetenthousandthings on January 3, 2015.

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