One art by Elizabeth Bishop

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.

It’s raining on my face



Some songs stay with you forever. Some songs show up on your playlist on an otherwise perfectly happy morning, and reduce you to a sniveling mess. Some songs are both, they make you smile with anticipation when they start playing and when they play, tears cloud your vision like snowflakes on the lashes. And you have to look away, look up, look out of the window, hoping the person sitting next to you does not notice the fine shine of a fresh layer of tears on your eyes.

I have a whole playlist of these songs precisely collated and avoided so that I do not end up with leaky eyeholes in public. I do give my eyes the occasional cleaning behind closed doors though, with ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E. King, followed immediately by Jab Koi Baat from Jurm.

It struck me today how similar the songs are (apart from the fact that they both get my eyes sweaty). Not only do the songs have a common theme of companionship and togetherness, part of the lyrics are also so similar that it is difficult to believe this could be a co-incidence.

Stand by me:

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me
Stand by me

Jab koi baat:

Jab koi baat bigad jaye (When something goes wrong)
jab koi mushkil pad jaye (When in some difficulty I fall)
Tum dena sath mera, o humnava (You stand by me, darling)
Na koi hai, na koi tha (there isn’t anyone, there wasn’t anyone)
zindagi mein tumhare siva (in my life except you)
Tum dena sath mera, o humnava… (You stand by me, darling)

…Chaandni jab tak raat (Until the moonlight lasts in the night)
deta har koi saath (Everyone stands by me)
tum magar andheron mein (But you, despite darkness,)
na chorna mera haath
(don’t let go of my hand)

Slight rearrangement of elements, meanings and words, but you see what I mean?


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