Study Guide

One Art Memory and the Past

Advertisement - Guide continues below

Memory and the Past

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, names, and where it was you meant
to travel. (3.7-9)

Here, loss is re-defined not only as the loss of objects or even time, but of memory itself.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. (4.10-11)

These curious statements lead us to wonder what significance these objects, which are no longer random, but rather very specific, have for the poet.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. (5.15)

We’re not sure how the poet lost these places; if she misses them, does that mean she still remembers them? Why might they be inaccessible to her?

– Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. (6.16-17)

For the first time, we see specific things mentioned that the poet remembers and cherishes, implying that she hasn’t really gotten over this loss – nor has she fully mastered the art of losing.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...