Catherine Chandler's Poetry Blog

Friday, May 20, 2016

Another Art

Word Origin and History for the word disaster
1590s, from Middle French désastre (1560s), from Italian disastro "ill-starred," from dis-, here merely pejorative (see dis- ) + astro "star, planet," from Latin astrum, from Greek astron (see star (n.)). The sense is astrological, of a calamity blamed on an unfavorable position of a planet.

My contribution to this illustrious anthology.

Another Art
(after Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art")

The art of keeping isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be kept that their keeping's no disaster.

Keep something every day. Accept the fluster
of keeping up with the Joneses, opulent
though they may be. Charge it to Master

Card. And keep your cool. Don’t bluff and bluster.
Keep track of time, your moment's monument
to order wrought from chaos and disaster.

He kept a mistress, overtaxed his rooster,
and so I told him, Keep in touch, then sent
Prince Charming packing. Piece of cake to master.

I kept two children (lovely ones!), the toaster,
the house, the SUV; and when he went
I kept the faith. No sad, ill-starred disaster.

So, round up every heartache you can muster—
a squad, a company, a regiment—
a castle keep of slings and arrows. Master
these. Or else you’re headed for disaster.

[Earlier versions of “Another Art" were first published in Umbrella, Summer 2008 and in Lighten Up Online, Issue 20, December, 2012]

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