It is true what is said about seeing farther when we stand on the shoulders of giants. Some classic poems are so full of wisdom and life lessons that it is a joy to read them. They inspire. They encourage. They fill us with hope.
One of my favorite poems is “Desiderata“. I was going through some old books over the weekend when I came across one of my Mom’s diaries. She was fond of writing down inspiring poems and quotes. I fondly remember her birthday cards, lovingly handmade and always a treasure with a wonderful poem she wrote or referred to. This was one of them. Another favorite was from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act I Scene III where Lord Polonius speaks to his son Laertes. It is beautiful.
Desiderata was written by Max Ehrmann, a poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1927. Desiderata means “things that are desired,” Ehrmann wrote it for himself, he said, “Because it counsels those virtues I felt most in need of.” These virtues have been valued by countless others as Desiderata rose in popularity in the late sixties and early seventies.
I think it is a great poem for everyone to read and be inspired. I love it and hope you enjoy it too!
by © Max Ehrmann 1927
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 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 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 critical 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 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.
Did you enjoy “Desiderata”?
Do you have a favorite poem you treasure, or turn to when you need encouragement?
Please share in the comments!
Day 14 of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge July 2014