A Leisurely Prelude

Tired of being stuck at home?

Puppies Playing beside a Palm Tree and Garden Rock, by Unidentified Artist in 15th century (from The Metropolitan Museum of Art collections)

“There’s nothing new happening”, “Every day feels the same”, “I feel rotten and unproductive”, “Agitated yet procrastinating, cannot bring myself to do anything yet tired of doing nothing”.

Yes, for those of us who are too used to a vibrant campus/workplace where a hundred things happen every day, the monotonous, uneventful life under quarantine can turn out poisonous to some extent.

Say, what was the last time you had such a long period of unstructured leisure (in case you are not familiar with it, the word ‘leisure’ approximately means ’empty google calendar’)? It sounds almost ridiculous, but think about it: how often do we, in today’s society, live with absolute leisure? We may be a bunch of expert planners, but when it comes to “dealing with” leisure, we are ignorant as kids (Ah but no! Just the opposite! Ignorant as Grown-ups!)

Therefore, in this series, I will share with you a few of my favorite Poems of Leisure–an actual category in Chinese poetry, in fact. These poems have enabled me to enjoy and (faintly) appreciate shelter-in-place much more than I otherwise would.

The sun slowly slides down, the wind sways the leaves and their shadows, the air smells like grass and green tea and some flower I don’t know, my mind swims in lines of poetry, my fingers types out this very word, I feel… I wish you could feel something similar as you read on…

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