Stepping Backward

May 20, 2008

Good-by to you whom I shall see tomorrow,
Next year and when I’m fifty; still good-by.
This is the leave we never really take.
If you were dead or gone to live in
The event might draw your stature in my mind.
I should be forced to look upon you whole
The way we look upon the things we lose.
We see each other daily and in segments;
Parting might make us meet anew, entire.

You asked me once, and I could give no answer,
How far dare we throw off the daily ruse,
Official treacheries of face and name,
Have out our true identity? I could hazard
An answer now, if you are asking still.
We are a small and lonely human race
Showing no sign of mastering solitude
Out on this stony planet that we farm.
The most that we can do for one another
Is let our blunders and our blind mischances
Argue a certain brusque abrupt compassion.
We might as well be truthful. I should say
They’re luckiest who know they’re not unique;
But only art or common interchange
Can teach that kindest truth. And even art
Can only hint at what disturbed a Melville
Or calmed a Mahler’s frenzy; you and I
Still look from separate windows every morning
Upon the same white daylight in the square.

And when we come into each other’s rooms
Once in awhile, encumbered and self-conscious,
We hover awkwardly about the threshold
And usually regret the visit later.
Perhaps the harshest fact is, only lovers–
And once in a while two with the grace of lovers–
Unlearn that clumsiness of rare intrusion
And let each other freely come and go.
Most of us shut too quickly into cupboards
The margin-scribbled books, the dried geranium,
The penny horoscope, letters never mailed.
The door may open, but the room is altered;
Not the same room we look from night and day.

It takes a late and slowly blooming wisdom
To learn that those we marked infallible
Are tragi-comic stumblers like ourselves.
The knowledge breeds reserve. We walk on tiptoe,
Demanding more than we know how to render.
Two-edged discovery hunts us finally down;
The human act will make us real again,
And then perhaps we come to know each other.

Let us return to imperfection’s school.
No longer wandering after Plato’s ghost,
Seeking the garden where all fruit is flawless,
We must at last renounce that ultimate blue
And take a walk in other kinds of weather.
The sourest apple makes its wry announcement
That imperfection has a certain tang.
Maybe we shouldn’t turn our pockets out
To the last crumb or lingering bit of fluff,
But all we can confess of what we are
Has in it the defeat of isolation–
If not our own, then someone’s, anyway.

So I come back to saying this good-by,
A sort of ceremony of my own,
This stepping backward for another glance.
Perhaps you’ll say we need no ceremony,
Because we know each other, crack and flaw,
Like two irregular stones that fit together.
Yet still good-by, because we live by inches
And only sometimes see the full dimension.
Your stature’s one I want to memorize–
Your whole level of being, to impose
On any other comers, man or woman.
I’d ask them that they carry what they are
With your particular bearing, as you wear
The flaws that make you both yourself and human.


this poem really made me think about the huge step i am about to take in the coming month, graudating from high school. i know it sounds very cliche, but the first stanza stood out to me. it’s saying good bye to people, even those you will see the next day and the days to follow. things come and go, but everytime you say goodbye it could very well be the last. so when we go to graduate in less than a month, we are going to be saying goodbye, most likely never to see a lot of the people we are so used to seeing every day again.

And when we come into each other’s rooms
Once in awhile, encumbered and self-conscious,
We hover awkwardly about the threshold
And usually regret the visit later.”  we can never go back to high school, and relive the way in which we went about our lives. it will never be the same, and if we try to relive it, it will never be accurate. “The door may open, but the room is altered; Not the same room we look from night and day.” We are constantly changing. and like it or not, we can never go back to the way we were.




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


when i first read this poem, i thought that bishop was talking about the general things you loose at time progresses.. the loss of a loved one, the loss of time, and just the general process of life. using that, i found that i was able to relate to this poem as a graduating senior, and realizing the whole idea of “loss of innocence.” i am no longer that young girl who went running to her parents at the sign of trouble, but i am able to take care of things on my own and be my own person. i have lost that innocence that comes with being a child, and am now (even legally so) an adult about to enter college. you move through life and people and things come and go, and sometimes when they’re over there is that missing of them, but it is not a disaster that comes from it. you move on through life, and things change. i think that is what bishop is trying to portray, that the importance is not when you lose things, its how you let it affect you and live your life.



We are hurting
We are dying
For a new blues
One that doesn’t rhyme
With worn-out shoes
We are hurting
We are dying
For a neo blues
More than an inverted pyramid
Something to push against
To get to the evidence
Inside us
Forget the applause machine
Forget the corporate lotto
Forget he alchemist’s gold scheme
And you can ditto
The sphinx’s motto
We are hurting
We are dying
For a nouveau blues
To underline
What’s left behind
Forget the Nazi doll
Designed in Detroit
And made in Beijing
Forget about this
Contagious computer virus
Travelling up the Tigris
Forget Batman
In this postmodern
A new shade of blue
One hundred hues
Down from the stratosphere
Up from the
Red Sea
A hell of a journey
We are hurting
We are dying
For a brand-new Blues

 As an american, i feel so  lucky to have the rights that i have, and i feel like i can change the world. but has not been the case for everyone, and will never be. During times like the Holocaust, and now with the darfur genocide, i cant help think about the people who are “dying for a brand-new blues.” they want change, and there to be a different “blues.” Especially now as a registered voter, i know that i myself can change things. that is why it is important to be informed on these topics, and be able to change your blues. You can help someone change theirs by standing up and changing your own.

Ready for change

January 28, 2008


a mix of things have happened this past weekend that really got me thinking about a lot of different things. all i do know is i am ready for change. this weekend a conference i attended really got me thinking about the different things that i can do to make a difference. i can vote. i can change the world.  i can have a say in who is the next president of the united states. and for me, that is a huge deal. i am not only ready for change, but i am going to be that change. the quote in my blog, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,”  just describes the way im feeling. im watching my friends and i become more and more involved, and that just makes me really happy. we went to an obama rally, we can affect peoples lives. my friend is doing a project for darfur, she is going to make a change. i dont know what brought this blog. maybe it was just the conference i was at. watching a stimulation of people taking on issues, and coming up with resultions to them. it wasnt real, and the changes wouldnt happen, but i saw people put all their effort into making sure it was resolved correctly. it just really got me thinking. like in the poem by walt whitman, song of myself

“I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked; I am mad for it to be in contact with me.” i am ready to go out into the world, with my guard down, and ready for it to be in contact with me, and change it.