Elizabeth Bishop

(8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979 / Worcester, Massachusetts)

Elizabeth Bishop Quotes

  • ''All my life I have lived and behaved very much like [the] sandpiper—just running down the edges of different countries and continents, "looking for something" ... having spent most of my life timorously seeking for subsistence along the coastlines of the world.''
    Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), U.S. poet; relocated to Brazil. As quoted in Contemporary Poets, 3rd ed., by James Vinson (1980). A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, Bishop spent much of her life living reclusively in Brazil.
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  • ''“If after I read a poem the world looks like that poem for 24 hours or so Im sure its a good one—and the same goes for paintings. ” ''
    Elizabeth Bishop
  • ''“Close, close all night
    the lovers keep.
    They turn together
    in their sleep,

    Close as two pages
    in a book
    that read each other
    in the dark.

    Each knows all
    the other knows,
    learned by heart
    from head to toes.” ''
    Elizabeth Bishop, Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments
  • ''“Oh, must we dream our dreams and have them, too?” ''
    Elizabeth Bishop, Questions of Travel
  • ''“I was made at right angles to the world and I see it so. I can only see it so.” ''
    Elizabeth Bishop, Elizabeth Bishop: Poems, Prose, and Letters
  • ''“Think of the long trip home. Should we have stayed home and thought of here? Where should we be today?” ''
    Elizabeth Bishop
  • ''“Open the book. (The gilt rubs off the edges of the pages and pollinates the fingertips.)” ''
    Elizabeth Bishop
  • ''“Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
    The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
    and the child draws another inscrutable house.” ''
    Elizabeth Bishop, The Complete Poems, 1927-1979
  • ''“But he sleeps on the top of his mast with his eyes closed tight.
    The gull inquired into his dream, which was, "I must not fall.
    The spangled sea below wants me to fall.
    It is hard as diamonds; it wants to destroy us all.” ''
    Elizabeth Bishop
  • ''“Hoping to live days of greater happiness, I forget that days of less happiness are passing by.”''
    Elizabeth Bishop

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Best Poem of Elizabeth Bishop

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 ...

Read the full of One Art

Rain Towards Morning

The great light cage has broken up in the air,
freeing, I think, about a million birds
whose wild ascending shadows will not be back,
and all the wires come falling down.
No cage, no frightening birds; the rain
is brightening now. The face is pale
that tried the puzzle of their prison
and solved it with an unexpected kiss,
whose freckled unsuspected hands alit.

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