Let it Be (topic)

COOL POEMS: Introduction > THE POEMS

Topic: Let it Be

Author: Xin Qiji (1140-1207)

If you feel like walking, take a walk;
If you feel like sitting, sit again.
Sit awhile, walk awhile, and when you’ve grown tired,
Lie on your pillow and peruse a book.

That I’m ill is my body’s recent state;
That I’m lazy is me as I’ve always been.
In the shade of bamboo I’ll scoop spring water quietly,
And let life wander on its natural course.

Comments: The ideal of “taking it easy” beautifully described here of course derives from Classical Daoist philosophy (not religion). It attributes to the individual a high degree of agency because the basic idea is that you should do pretty much what pleases you (as long as it doesn’t hurt others). In keeping with this the poet shows little compunction about revealing both his physical and moral weaknesses, including his chronic laziness. The poem ends with advice not to worry too much over the future. Again, in Daoist philosophy we find the argument articulated that worry creates anxiety which, in turn, shortens one’s life. Chill, man.

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