Art and Soul

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master” is one of four repeating lines in Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “One Art.” Villanelles include repeating rhymes and two refrains, the other here always ending with the word “disaster,” so we analyzed their effects as well as pondered their meanings. Can there be an art to losing? One of the definitions of art is “the making of objects, images, music, etc. that are beautiful or that express feelings,” but it can also mean “a skill or special ability.” We next thought about everything the speaker loses in the poem: door keys, an “hour badly spent,” places, names, “where it was you meant to travel,” rivers, continents . . . We were able to explain all the ways in which these things—some tangible, others not—could be lost. The last stanza is different from the five that precede it, with four (rather than three) lines and the use of parentheses to emphasize certain phrases. One in particular stood out: “Write it!” demonstrating the importance of writing down whatever is meaningful to us. The poem concludes too with the loss of a person, which, unlike the other lost things Bishop describes, is much more impactful.

Inspired, the students composed their own poems about loss.

Ms. Kawa, 4th Grade

Chase A.

I almost
almost lost you
your smiling face
your warm hugs
you’re here
I almost
lost your
warm heart
your life
in front of my eyes
but not

Noah D.

A fictional place,
Loss is within
Small and big,
Socks, pencils, tissue boxes.

Or, people, houses, friends, pets, or memory
The future will arrive
People will see me as an object
In the abyss
While I see the abyss as

The future will see us as nothing
Except for the socks, pencils, and tissue boxes.
But some see us as people
In the abyss
Nothing within
In the abyss

Lose Myself
Sasha E.

I lose a part of my feeling
Sorrows it’s your time to go.
I should feel happy
The pain is gone
But it all feels cold.

I lose a part of my feeling
One by one
It’s something I shouldn’t be feeling
But can feel it harder
I lose myself
One by one
Lose myself

Here, There
Marcus L.

One day it’s here,
the other, it’s there.

I put my toy there,
tomorrow, it’s here.

Is there a ghost?
Is there a person?

Someone is moving my stuff.

One day it’s here,
and the other, it’s there.

One day it’s on my desk,
the other, I can’t find it.

sunny day
Kelly L.

basking in sunlight
the scent of flowers
brightly shining
summer day

clouds shift their place
not a sound
the sun is covered
with white puffy lace

once was here, now is gone
not a second of thought
appearing again
brightly shining
no longer gone

once again
it is gone
clouds turn grey
children ushered inside

once was here
now is gone
thunder booms
lightning flashes
crack in the sky

hours pass
through the glass I
see the storm fade

the sunny day
the summer day

back again

only to be lost

My Ideas
Ishaan M.

My ideas.
Where did they go?
They can’t come back to me.
I need to know.

But I keep thinking,
“Where did they go?”
I lost them to something, someone.
I need to know.

But then, I found them.
My ideas.
They’re here.
On this paper, as a poem.
Right now, they are clear.

Lost in My Thoughts
Mira T.

What would happen if I
like leaving,
without a
leaving everyone
in my thoughts,

Deep breath,
get out there,
you can do this
(“c’mon Mira”)
I step out on the floor,
tuning everyone out,
I start my routine
the rest is a blur

“OK okay.
I’m up.”

Ms. Nelson, 4th Grade

Real Life
Natalie A.

I lost my apple pencil and I got
so mad and I couldn’t find it
then I found it.

Marquise C.

I lost a penny
I did not lose a penny
I lost a dog
I did not lose a dog

I Lost My Phone
Deanna G.

I lost my iPhone
I yelled
I was mad

I was angry
I looked under the bed
Then I saw it

I was happy
I did a TikTok
The End

Malaya H.

As a kid there was
a special pet I lost.
Cute and adorable
a star of mine.

While I’m grieving
he’s probably not breathing
his last was sad
very not divine.

Had me in tears
when he disappeared
as much as in tears.

He may not
return as
my heart burns

as it’s in pieces
there I’m still grieving.

Ari H.

I lost my phone I lost my fish who is
now dead. I don’t know how I lost
my phone. I just left it in the house. Then
when I came back home, I couldn’t find
my phone. I looked for it for days
and weeks. It was missing for 4 months.
Later on my mother had got my phone.
Time when my fish died. My fish
kept going under his filter and then
he died. I was sad because I was six
and then he was my only pet.

Yurielle P.

There are many things you can lose,
your temper, a friend, or something simple too.

Some things you can replace,
such as a pencil or paper,
but other things will be hard to replace
like a friend or a relative.

Though your temper
would affect many things around you.

There are many things you can lose,
your temper, a friend, or something simple too.

Emily P.

I was little
I lost my
toy at daycare
my mom dropped me off
at daycare

Piper T.

One day

I looked
for my money

and then it

was gone
I looked but
could not find it

so I wrestled my
brother for it

he finally gave it


Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

Darsh A.

Last week I lost freetime
I was not working
airplanes and Roombas
I feel sad when I lose freetime

Emiliano G.

I’ve lost 2 people they were nice
and good people and one of the two
persons was a dog that dog was
so good

My Sadness
Charlie H.

My happiness came in
thinking this looks like
a job for me,

because personally this kid’s
nothing without me,

as my sadness made me
devastated as he demonstrated
how to be overrated so

my happiness came in
with might, it put sadness
away without even trying
to fight

Siya S.

My mom
My dad
They all

I didn’t know how to

I tried to
I tried to

I just didn’t know how to

Colin S.

I am always late for
school, everything I’m
late for.

Lost hope is part of
life, I hope for gifts,
wishes and much much

I lost hope to ever be on time,
lost more hope for world

But then someone told
me you can’t lose hope
and today I can say it’s true.

TV Remote
Will S.

I want to watch
a movie or a show
but I can’t find the TV remote!

I look under
the couch, the chair.
The table, the desk.

Nobody knows
where the remote goes.

So I give up
and just play on my iPad.

Arden S.

I lost my toy
it was my favorite toy
I am sad
I lost my favorite toy

Ms. Lyons, 4th Grade

How I Lost My Phone
Daniel G.

I lost my phone in a Target
I lost my phone in the parking lot
I blamed it on my cousin
He left it
He forgot my phone in the shopping cart

Milania G.

I lost my phone one time.
It was on Halloween.
And I felt like I got tricked.
Not treat.

Max H.

Loss loss.
I lost my pencil.
I lost my book.
I lost my heart.

Losing Your Mind
Paulina P.

All the stress of being the best.
Must ace all my tests.
Do this! Do that!
I wear a headache like a hat.
The fear of disapproval
The bore of kids crying in the store
Every day I lose my mind more and more.

Losing Things
Jaxson P.

Losing is very common
many people do it
a lot of people lose things,

from your mind or your car or backpack
no matter what you lose
every single time
you have to bounce back.

So every time get back up
either 1 day or 1 month,
bounce back.

Then you have to realize what other people lose
it could or not be the same
it could not be bad or be really bad.
So realize what they’re going through
and do whatever they prefer.

The Disaster!
Mia Q.

Oh no I can’t see my pet bee.
Where is my bee?
Zoom, zoom, zoom, I need to find my bee.

Bzzzz I hear a bee!
I’m coming for you bee.
I see the bee!

It’s not my bee.
I’m not going to find my bee.
I miss my dear bee.

Warner R.

I lost my time because
of poetry class.

And now I’m mad.

Fly High Uncle
Tatiana T.

One time I lost someone
it was hard but my whole
family had to go through it.

But someone who was very
sad was my grandma.
she was left in tears

we’re all sad and crying.
But it’s okay we’ll see
him again one day.

A Loss
Kenna W.

Today I lost money because of my sister
She is like a blister
I wish I could get it back
But it was not a lot

It was only 2 dollars
But I still wish it was 1
Cause I would still have 1
She acts like she didn’t

But I know she did.

Ms. Makris, 4th Grade

My Temper
Clementine C.

Even when something may be little
There is still a way it can start a disaster

The smoke zooming in and out of my ears
Like the way trains go back and forth
Going different places

And your brain
Taking away all your actions

All the kindness
All the ways to settle things
Flicked out of my brain
And the useless anger takes over

Losing control over something that doesn’t
But you can’t take control
It’s the anger that’s blocking you
And you can’t find yourself anywhere.

Lost in the Forest
Louis D.

Painter set to forest
Birds chirping
Painter lost in sound
Bees buzzing
Painter lost in sound
Wolves howling
Painter lost his pencil
Painter lost his paintbrush
Squirrels running
Painter lost his canvas
Bunnies bouncing
Painter lost his chair
Painter lost in forest
Lost in sound

Corey E.

Like a t-shirt.
It could be a pen.
A phone.
A pencil.

A book.
You could lose time.
A drink.
A Post-It.

Ari G.

Losing something is like
stubbing your toe in between a
chair’s leg.

Losing should be
a skill, losing could
really hurt.

Losing a pet or a bet
could hurt a lot. This was
my first losing.

Lost Book
Aaron H.

I check in my bag forever
Then I realize
I’ve lost it forever

It’s been hours since I saw it
I have lost my book.
Now I can’t return it.

There’s no escape from running
Now that I lost it.
Time to stop running

I have to face it
The librarian will be mad at me.
It’s time to face it.

Richard N.

It’s easy to lose items
you can lose things every day
it may look like it happens

Maybe be lost
but can be found
could be gone

Can be hard to find
could be stressful
can suck
can be lost, cannot be lost

Jon O.

The first time I got a pet
was in 2019.

It was a fully grown tortoise.

It also had babies that were

Other pets I have are 4 fish.

1 of them almost died of
parasites, but somehow survived.

But when I heard that my
tortoise was run over by a
car I was angry, sad and shocked.

Oh well I guess I have 4
pets now.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.