Analysis of ‘I Taught Myself to Live Simply’ by Anna Akhmatova

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This poem is written by the Ukrainian poet Anna Akhmatova. Anna Akhmatova was born in Ukraine in 1889 to an upper-class family. The title of the poem suggests that despite the vagaries of life the poet has taught herself to live simply in order to have a meaningful life. This poem inspires the reader to do the same & live a content life.

Analysis of ‘I Taught Myself to Live Simply’ by Anna Akhmatova

The poem starts on a serious note of contemplation. The wording in the poem is placed intricately and convey a message of deep significance to the reader. The poet begins by addressing the reader that she has taught herself to “live simply & wisely.” Her words are simple but have a profound impact on the reader’s mind. The poet is encouraging the reader to live a simple & meaningful life. “To look at the sky and pray to God” suggests an optimistic take on life & to have faith. Praying to God requires immense faith on the part of the person.

The poet seems to have included a subtle note of religious touch to the poem. Humans are more prone to temporary indulgence & bad habits which can wreak havoc in their lives. Thus the poem suggests these individuals to live in a simple manner free of stress. The poet further suggests taking long walks in the evening which helps to keep the superfluous worries at bay. Long walks are deemed to be a balm for restless mind. Taking a long walk acts as a medicine for our soul as it calms the mind & helps in the ridding of superfluous worries. There is a use of the imagery in the poem. The poem seems to bind the person with the nature with love. It teaches the reader to embrace the nature & in doing so he/she embraces her true self. This poem truly captures the poet’s fondness for life.

“When the burdocks rustle in the ravine” a stunning imagery is created in the reader’s mind with these lines. It suggests just how fond the poet is about these views. Furthermore, it suggests just how simple it is to stay happy. Little things like watching the burdocks rustle in the ravine can arouse immense pleasure in one’s heart. Thus the poem suggests the reader to take pleasure from the simple things in life. When the yellow-reddish rowan berry shyly droops the poet composes happy verses. This line suggests the optimistic nature of the poet. It teaches the reader to look up in life despite the hardships he/she faces on the way. These happy verses are the meditations to dwell upon in life.


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A humble life lived with simplicity is deemed to be more meaningful in the end. The poem also shows how engrossed the author really is in her life trying to give it a deeper meaning. People often care about other’s opinion which at the end of the day ruins their peace of mind. The poem teaches the reader to never lose the essence of peace from their lives. For harbouring peace fosters a harmonious emotion in a person elevating his/her mood. Happiness is a gift and is to be treasured in life. This poem is a strong indication to safeguard one’s happiness. The “life’s beauty & decay” is a metaphor for it signifies the beauty of life & how when one perso0n passes away another is born to fill the void. Life in this sense is a series of beauty & decay. Decay also implies that we dissolve into the mud at the end of our lives into the bosom of mother earth. When the narrator return’s home after a long contemplative walk in the evening she softly welcomes her cat into her arms.

The purring of the cat, the bright flares of the fire on the turret by the lake creates a beautiful & vivid picture in the readers mind. The poem opens the reader’s eyes to the vast array of beautiful emotions. The poet wants the reader to learn to embrace the simplicity of life and approach it with a humble attitude. The poet happens to be so overwhelmed with joy that her silence breaks off occasionally when a stork lands on her roof. These lines suggests how serenity that engulfs the poet. “If you knock on my door/I may not even hear” in these lines the poet clearly depicts her state of mind. She is so accustomed to living her life in this fashion that she is thoroughly engrossed in her own lovely world. And if a person happens to knock on her door she might not hear him. This poet sets an ideal for the reader to pursue in his/her own life. The poem holds immense beauty and inspires the reader to embrace it in their lives.

I Taught Myself to Live Simply Central Idea and Theme

The central idea of the poem is to embrace the simplicity in life. It imparts an important message to prioritize happiness in one’s life. We tend to seek happiness through various measures but it can only be felt through simple things. This is a valuable lesson for life. The poet through her words causes a profound impact on the reader’s mind. The true joys in life can be felt through simple things. In simplicity lies happiness this is the key message that the poet intends to deliver through her poems. The poem uplifts the mood of the reader. It is a light poem encompassing the wide spectrum of human emotions. This poem reiterates the timeless values of life for the reader to follow. The poet sets an example through her poem for the reader to follow & acknowledge in his/her life. Moreover, the poem insists the reader adopt a positive outlook on life & cast off their worries.  Thus, the poem ends on a happy note putting the reader’s mind at ease. The poem teaches the reader to embrace true passion in their lives. Thus helping them to recreate beauty & add meaning to their lives.

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