until Robert Service and Roland Barthes were invoked in what is becoming a sort of Laziness Project, although the word “project” does not quite satisfy me. Project is too industrious-sounding for a post that relies entirely on other people to speak for me.
Let’s begin with Robert Service. It cracks me up that a man with a last name like that would become the poet laureate of idleness. This is a top 100 poem too, to prove there is a place in the BlogLily canon for silliness.
Let laureates sing with rapturous swing
Of the wonder and glory of work;
Let pulpiteers preach and with passion impeach
The indolent wretches who shirk.
No doubt they are right: in the stress of the fight
It’s the slackers who go to the wall;
So though it’s my shame I perversely proclaim
It’s fine to do nothing at all.
It’s fine to recline on the flat of one’s spine,
With never a thought in one’s head:
It’s lovely to lie staring up at the sky
When others are earning their bread.
It’s great to feel one with the soil and the sun,
Drowned deep in the grasses so tall;
Oh it’s noble to sweat, pounds and dollars to get,
But – it’s grand to do nothing at all.
So sing to the praise of the fellows who laze
Instead of lambasting the soil;
The vagabonds gay who lounge by the way,
Conscientious objectors to toil.
But lest you should think, by this spatter of ink,
The Muses still hold me in thrall,
I’ll round out my rhyme, and (until the next time)
Work like hell – doing nothing at all.
Your reward, dear reader, for making it this far is Roland Barthes who, evidently, gave an interview in which he discussed his views on laziness with an eloquence and vigor that might lead one to conclude he wasn’t really talking about the sort of laying about practiced by people like me, but was really demonstrating the more conscious embrace of idleness practiced by the French which would explain why he’s got an entire theory going here to describe the act of looking out the window for several hours while doing nothing more taxing than drinking a soft drink and writing a sentence that you are too slothful to even bother to punctuate.
Reclining on the flat of my spine, BL