"One ought, everyday at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and speak a few reasonable words." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday, May 9, 2011

Desiderata: "Desired Things"

I'm posting a very sage poem today. It was written in 1927 by American writer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) and is entitled Desiderata, which means "Desired Things" in Latin. It was largely unknown in the author's lifetime but became widely known after a St. Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland included it as a hymn in a compilation of devotional materials sometime around 1959. You can go up to youtube and listen to it set to music, but I thought the music detracted too much from the message, so I decided not to post it. 

I'll make my favorite parts bold. Feel free to share your favorite part(s) in the comments. Enjoy!


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
--Max Ehrmann

1 comment:

  1. "Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexatious to the spirit."

    I am wondering why you are still my friend after reading this poem...also, it explains why my FB friend numbers fluctuate so much.

    I do appreciate you putting up with me all these years.

    -your BFF