Fractured Verse
{A Bumbershoot Special Feature}

Elizabeth Bishop

One Art As fractured by Robert Schechter

My darling, the fine art of losing
isn’t difficult, hard or confusing.
        Easy to master,
        it was no disaster
to lose you, but wasn’t amusing.

 

Another Art A parody by Catherine Chandler

The art of keeping isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be kept that their keeping’s no disaster.

Keep something every day. Accept the fluster
of keeping up with the Joneses. The torment
of keeping secrets isn’t hard to master.

Then practice keeping track of time. Keep faster
pace while keeping cool. To the extent
one keeps good company, there’s no disaster.

I kept my word. And look! I didn’t bluster
when you could not. I had to reinvent
myself. It really wasn’t hard to master.

I kept two children, lovely ones. And, Mister,
I kept the house, the car. So when you went,
I missed you, but it wasn’t a disaster.

I keep my chin up, upper lip stiff, and I posture.
I played for keeps. You didn’t. I assent—
the art of keeping isn’t hard to master.
Her poem’s a keeper.  This one’s a disaster.