In "Thick Grow the Rush Leaves," is the man that the lady loves trying to avoid her?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Thick Grow the Rush Leaves" from the Book of Songs uses natural imagery and the river as a metaphor for taoism.  The man that the lady loves is not trying to avoid her; rather the poet uses the presence of the man upstream in the river to symbolize her search for romantic love and contentment.  When she fights the current, the "way was difficult and long;" it is like she struggles against the tao, the natural flow of energy and life (6).  Later, she realizes her folly and goes downstream, traveling with the flow of the river, she finds her lover easily, reinforcing the imperative of going with the natural flow of energy and life.