Desiderata ~ Desired Things


~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   {1927}

I discovered this poem in 2005 while I was going through somethings.  It had so much simple meaning to it.  Reading over this, the lines contradict themselves ALMOST.  Years later, I would realize that the lines aren’t contradicting themselves, but simply stating that in all walks of life there are good and bad in people and in  everything we do.  We can’t do much about anyone else as far as changing them or something they have done that is negative.  What we can change is how we react.  All we can do is change ourselves one day at a time.  We may feel a certain way and react a certain way no matter our age, then the next day realize we’ve grown from just yesterday.  I do know I have experienced a lot in 36 years and yet I still find myself learning from things that have past or something going on now.  It’s easy to want to change things about ourselves and most of the time we’ll realize that we ended back up on the same road.  As long as we can reflect about our own actions and try everyday to do better and become better, that’s growing and learning.  We all should ‘Be Cheerful and Strive to be happy’.
As I was reading this post on Everyday Gurus about thinking for the ‘rumored prize’ at the end of the journey, there are many times I myself think that way.  I think a lot of people tend to think ‘what happens after life and if I’m being a good person now, why aren’t good things happening’  I have been in that slump and reading this post made me realize that.  Change takes us until our last breath so I am hoping to everyday think about the lesson of enjoying right now.  Though I know I will forget and need reminding.
Also, just another example is that until the late 60’s, nobody really knew of this poem, much less Max Ehrman.  However, his family received copyrights and began receiving royalties from this poem being on songs, later movies.  The year I was born, 1976, a magazine used some or all of this poem and was sued by Max Ehrman’s family.  The ruling was Max Ehrman had given up copyrights to his poem in 1940, therefore the family would not be receiving any profit from the small magazine nor ever.  It is open for public to use.  Maybe they should have been happy with what they were getting instead of looking for more wealth.  Just a thought.
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2 responses

  1. It was wonderful to reread this beautiful poem Donetta. Although I agree that copyrights should be honored, it is sad that the author’s family couldn’t see the bigger picture about sharing this work. It can be a life-changer to read this work, probably has been, for many people.

  2. Interesting story about Max Ehrman’s family. I had that poem up on my refrigerator for years and it had no acknowledgement of who wrote it. The change Desiderata has made in people’s lives would be payment enough if I wrote that. Thank you for being part of B4Peace. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

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