Sunday, October 12, 2008


This poem was published in 1927 by Max Ehrmann as a prescription for happiness. A dear friend loaned me a book containing this poem on Friday night, amazing timing as she didn't even know of my spiritual and philosophical explorations lately. Sometimes the universe delivers exactly what you are looking for without your even asking for it. Desiderata is a Latin word meaning "things that are yearned for" and I italicized my favorite line.

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 to others, you may become vain and bitter
for there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the w0rld 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 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


Tina said...

That was beautiful. It put me at ease. Just as things around me were starting to spin and my head was eager to join in, "Desiderta" set me to rest. Thanks once again.
Oh and p.s. although I often say I don't like cats, who doesn't love an adorable kitten! Gracie just might change my mind!

Tina said...

O.K. sorry I don't dislike cats, I fear them. I'm allergic to cats, hate the smell of a dirty litter box and the fact that even while patting a cat I am sure they are just waiting to lull me into relaxation before they scratch the hell out of me! Also that creepy ungodly screaming moaning thing they do when they are out looking to get l**d!

But I am sure I would like Gracie