Thursday, February 10, 2022


Last Friday I heard on NPR that the United States covid death toll had reached 900,000. This is a staggering, horrific number, one that my brain can barely grasp. It gets worse as you consider that it only took 51 days to reach this new total after 800,000 people had died, and experts estimate that we will surpass 1,000,000 deaths by spring. The real tragedy is that we have lost people who are loved - grandparents, parents, spouses, sons and daughters, best friends, and neighbors, and many of these deaths could have been prevented if people had gotten the vaccine and booster shots.

I originally posted this poem way back in January of 2017, pre-pandemic, but I'm re-visiting it again because it speaks about loss in a way I can almost begin to understand.

One Art

By Elizabeth Bishop
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.

  • Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” from The Complete Poems 1926-1979(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1983)

It does look like disaster to me. I wish you mindfulness, good health, avoidance of disasters, along with some poetry as the week winds down. 


  1. The numbers are so hard to understand, especially when you consider that so many of them could have been prevented if people cared more about each other.

    I am familiar with this lovely poem but glad to reread it, so thank you for sharing it today.

  2. What a beautiful post, Bonny, with a poignant poem. XO

  3. In the midst of the unfathomable, there is poetry. I was talking with my son yesterday about the the loss of so many. His thoughts are so true... the first 500K were the ones to truly mourn. Once vaccines became available, it became Darwinism in action (his words) and he feels less sadness about those who so foolishly won't do the simplest thing to help humanity.

  4. Oh man! Staggering. And so many could have been prevented. Just plain old sad.

  5. That poem is beautiful and gut wrenching. Losing people IS a disaster and it's tragic when it could also have been avoided.

  6. Lovely Bonny - thank you for sharing and giving me the push to pause. notice. and pay tribute.

  7. Staggering losses and stunning that so many people accept it without a thought or pause.

  8. Every now and then I feel angry when people around me forget the staggering number of deaths so thank you for writing about all the losses. Sometimes it is so overwhelming I have to put it out of my head and that doesn't seem right.


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