I Taught Myself To Live Simply by Anna Akhmatova

The great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova gave a picturesque description of the simplicity of life, and how we can attain it in the easiest of ways. “I Taught Myself to Live Simply” is Akhmatova’s guide to finding happiness in the little things in life, instead of always being unhappy yearning for something.

I Taught Myself To Live Simply


I taught myself to live simply and wisely,
to look at the sky and pray to God,
and to wander long before evening
to tire my superfluous worries.
When the burdocks rustle in the ravine
and the yellow-red rowanberry cluster droops
I compose happy verses
about life’s decay, decay and beauty.
I come back. The fluffy cat
licks my palm, purrs so sweetly
and the fire flares bright
on the saw-mill turret by the lake.
Only the cry of a stork landing on the roof
occasionally breaks the silence.
If you knock on my door
I may not even hear.

Analysis of Akhmatova’s “I Taught Myself To Live Simply”

The poem describes how Anna Akhmatova tends to view life from a different point of view. She tries to explain how life is deemed difficult by people due to their constant desire of gaining something. Then she tries to point out that, life can be a lot easier only if one can try to see it from a different point of view such as one of simplicity.

She tries to explain how people try to find happiness and entertainment in complex and materialistic things such as living a costly life and tries to point out that life is actually very easy and enjoyable only if one has the mindset to see life simply. She often connects to simplicity from watching the sky, since it’s easy and free to enjoy just like the little things in life.

Another way she mentions to help keep the theory of life simple is the constant practice of remembering God in order to understand that life has a bigger picture. This reminds her not to worry about the complex things in life and to take life simply. She also tries to reflect on the fact that life should be filled with time for oneself rather than the overflow of all the worldly worries. She finds happiness in seeing nature since it reminds her of how enjoyable and easy life can be at the same time. This simple view to enjoying life helps her be content with what she has at hand to such an extent that even death is welcome.

In the end, she tries to reflect a bit more realistically, saying there are certain responsibilities in our lives for survival. Despite this, she tries to portray that life is about taking things simply, enjoying the little things of solace and rest in the midst of necessary responsibilities.