Nov 7, 2007

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Max EhrmannThis entry is for a poem I just discovered. I discovered it at the back of a picture post card. I looked up the meaning of 'Desiderata'. It signifies - Something desired as a necessity. The poem touched my heart and reminded me of another similar equally inspiring piece of work - 'If' by Rudyard Kipling. Sometimes it’s quite wondrous to discover the story behind such works. Works which have endured are treasures of wisdom and beauty. I wonder how I 'discovered' this so late...but I am thankful I did.
A pure heartedly simple poem. The legend behind its origin is ambiguous, but their is no faulting the writer's purpose. This apparently simple piece of penmanship remains as relevant as it was decades ago. Perhaps more so...because the strife of society is more pertinent for us today. The writer appears to be a master of apposite and evocative thoughts. Without being excessively preachy, the poem could serve as a mirror to our soul and a map for our actions. ( Go placidly amid the noise and haste,and remember what peace there may be in silence...) It tells us to be always happy amidst the chaos of life ( With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world...)

Spare a few moments for this poem, and leave a comment if you share a similar view as mine. Perhaps you know of some other similar inspiring work?


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 vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and 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, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.


Anonymous said...

A beautiful poem the whole world should be required to read.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful poem the whole world should be required to read.

Alexander Irving said...

Many of us older guys and gals have followed this sage advice since we first found Desiderata back in the 50's. For us who use it's content, it has led to a most satisfying lifetime of life and love.

Amidst the "noise and haste" of our current info-world, you couldn't have a better guide.

Anonymous said...

What a gift to mankind! We need these words more now in the turn of this new century. Hope as many teachers will share this poem with their students.

Anonymous said...

I hope you will keep updating your content constantly as you have one dedicated reader here.

Saikat Basu said...

Haven't been able to update the site for quite a long time. But definitely planning to. Your words are an inspiration. Thanks so much.