The Care of the Self

by Peter Saint-Andre

Morality extends to how you flourish,
To how you cultivate your basic needs.
Consider, first, the means by which you nourish
Your body and its strength: for he who feeds

On hearty meals of flesh and fruit, who drinks
But tea and water, and who learns the measure
Of his body's needs — how could what he thinks
Be anything but bright and full of pleasure?

Consider, too, your settled choice of place:
Its air and wind, its atmosphere and light,
The full extent to which it gives you space
For clarity of thinking and of sight.

Consider, third, your forms of recreation,
The chosen means by which your soul is freed
From care and charged up for the liberation
Of powers you apply in thought and deed.

The three of these comprise the strongest sign
Of spirit's high command. For not to waste
Your energy maintains and helps align
Your daily actions with your finest taste.

(cf. Ecce Homo, "Why I Am So Clever", §1-3, §8, §10)

Peter Saint-Andre > Writings > Nietzsche