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Why are People Starving? by Lao Tzu


"Why are People Starving?" is a poem written by Lao Tzu. Tzu looks at the value of life in this writing. He speaks of how people are starving because of the rulers, people are rebellious because of the rulers, and people don't mind death because the rulers demand too much.

This poem is written as four stanzas. The first three consist of three lines while the final stanza is only made up of one line. Actually, the final line is more of a statement than a line in a poem. Nonetheless, I'm counting it as a stanza. The first two stanzas both begin and end with the line-end words.


Why are People Starving?

Why are people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.

Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.

Why do people think so little of death?
Because the rulers demand too much of life.
Therefore the people take life lightly.

Having to live on, one knows better than to value life too much.

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