30 January 2012

Dr. Simon Jordan

"Hush," he murmurs, stroking her hair. "Hush, Rachel." This is what he's wanted Grace to do--this trembling and clinging; he's pictured it often enough, though, he now sees, in a suspiciously theatrical way. Those scenes were always skilfully lit, the gestures--his included--languid and graceful, with a kind of luxurious quivering, as in the death scenes at the ballet. Melting anguish is a good deal less attractive now that he actually has to contend with it up close and in the flesh. Wiping the doe-like eyes is one thing, wiping the doe-like nose quite another. He rummages for his pocket hankerchief.

Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace, p.408

19 January 2012

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, 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," in Geography III, p.40