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A response to One Art

Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art" is among the best of villanelles. "The art of losing isn't hard to master," it begins. Tricia Stohr-Hunt selected the poem as our jumping-off space this month, and, though I got to it late, I am here, with my poem that uses a single line-- the second line--of the poem inside it.

I didn't write a villanelle, or even stick to form poetry. It's free verse, and I really wanted to cut a word out of the line I chose (the word "the"), but I kept the original words in their original order.

Here's the first stanza of Bishop's "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.

Look for that middle line inside my poem about a shopping dream:

The Salesgirl Was Impeccable
by Kelly Ramsdell

I dreamed a shopping space
improbably large
Only dresses, displayed here
and there on racks widely
spaced atop wax-gleamed
concrete floors.

So many things seemed
filled with the intent
to win attention that
few could succeed.
Pink tea dresses on a
single rack, blue on another.
A black gown with a split skirt.
A dove-grey wrap I wish I owned.

The vast space between
displays should have
announced the shop a dream,
that and the salesgirl,
who was impeccable in a
streamlined 40's suit
and victory roll.

Such luxury of space
is not allowed in real life, although
the sameness of offerings
rang true, except one dress
constructed of ochre straps—
not mesh, not lace,
as much cage as garment—
brittle and unforgiving
in its beauty.

You can find my poetry sisters' posts by clicking the links below.

And, of course, it's Poetry Friday. You can find the host and all the other posts by clicking the box.

Tanita "places, and names, and where it was you meant"

Sara "I lost two cities, lovely ones, and vaster"

Liz "some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent"

Tricia, "The practice losing farther, losing faster"

Laura "Lose something every day, accept the fluster"

The rest of the Poetry Friday posts at the Poem Farm can be found by clicking the box below:

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
glenda funk
Apr. 6th, 2018 01:36 pm (UTC)
One Art Inspiration
“One Art” is one of my favorite poems to read and teach. I like the way you incorporate Bishop’s words into your poem, especially the ideas about space: “Such luxury of space is not allowed in real life.” On the surface shopping seems easy but often isn’t.
Apr. 6th, 2018 03:29 pm (UTC)
Kelly, this is beautiful and somewhat ominous. I love the details, especially the victory roll and the dove-grey wrap (I covet a dove-grey wrap myself). It's all surreal and yet grounded in such concrete details...(Any dreams I have about clothes shopping are nightmares.)
TS Davis
Apr. 6th, 2018 04:17 pm (UTC)
If she had a victory roll, it was DEFINITELY a dream. Too bad, though...
A chic 40's suit is the dream, isn't it?? I love that this is both bygone days + modern shop in one dream.

the sameness of offerings
rang true,

Isn't THAT the truth? It's all the same... and maybe we all are caged by that, too. Here's to my rainbow fishnets, then.
Michelle Kogan
Apr. 6th, 2018 08:46 pm (UTC)
Only in a dream or a poem could that space be there. You worked your line in seamlessly; and I liked your dress descriptions in the second stanza. Interesting twist at the end, thanks.
Linda Baie
Apr. 7th, 2018 01:12 pm (UTC)
When I was young, there was such a shop and my mother and I went there for dresses, to be taken good care of by the owner, who brought dresses out she thought we might like. You've shown a time I'm sure is there somewhere, I just can't afford it! I like the underlying tension of life belying the dream.
Sara Lewis Holmes
Apr. 7th, 2018 01:49 pm (UTC)
So much the same, lined up for attention, but you, the poet, highlight what's unusual...the dress that is a cage. I had no idea where you were going with this poem (I guess that's the way of visions!) but that just made it more fun to dream along with you. (Also, I find the emptiness of those "high-end" shops creepy.)
Mary Lee Hahn
Apr. 8th, 2018 11:21 am (UTC)
That's one creepy dream, but also what it has to say about consumerism and marketing...
Apr. 8th, 2018 05:15 pm (UTC)
so much
There is so much to think about in this poem. You capture that dreamlike feeling with such vivid detail.
Liz Garton Scanlon
Apr. 9th, 2018 03:11 am (UTC)
this poem!
The details of this dream/poem, Kelly. Wow.
I almost forgot our "assignment," so wrapped up was I in your own poem.
Thank you for this!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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