Home Inspiration Desiderata


by Vidya Sury July 14, 2014 12 comments
desiderata vidya sury

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!

desiderata vidya sury

Day 14 of the Ultimate Blogging Challenge July 2014

BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo July 2014

Share this post ❤

You may also like


Julia Lund July 15, 2014 at 1:04 am

How apt to be reminded of this poem/prayer today; it fits so well with what I have been learning in the past few hours. Thank you so much for reintroducing it into my consciousness; it has been many years since I read Desiderata in its entirety. I won’t leave it so long again.
Julia Lund recently posted…Sixpence for the Moon

Shilpa Garg July 15, 2014 at 1:14 am

An inspirational poem that offers a simple and profound positive philosophy for life. I liked “Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story” and that the universe is unfolding as it should! Thanks for sharing, Vidya 🙂
Shilpa Garg recently posted…The Bug Story

Kathy Combs July 15, 2014 at 1:43 am

I loved the poem and the graphic you share telling us to never let anyone dull your sparkle. I need to remember that piece of advice for those days when I feel I simply not good enough. Thank you for the smiles today!
Kathy Combs recently posted…Drive Haiku

Laurel Regan July 15, 2014 at 5:59 am

This is one of my favourites, Vidya. I love it… thank you for the reminder.
Laurel Regan recently posted…The Cab Ride – A Sweet Lesson on Patience

Beloo Mehra July 15, 2014 at 10:35 am

This was a beautiful poem, Vidya! I had heard about this and perhaps had even read a few lines here and there, but this is the first time I am reading it in full. Lovely. Truly inspirational. Thanks for sharing it. I have several poems I really value and cherish, but today I feel like reading again and again one of my favourites titled “Who” by Sri Aurobindo. It is one of those days when my heart keeps asking who is behind everything that is happening around me. You know the feeling, right? 😉
Beloo Mehra recently posted…Work and Spirituality

Shailaja V July 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm

One of my all-time favourite poems! This used to hang on the wall of my bedroom all through my growing-up years. What memories you brought back! To mention ONE favourite poem is so difficult, but I will pick ‘this one by e e cummings:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Shailaja V recently posted…Fun ways to Do up the Kid’s room- #Guest #Post

Julia Lund July 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm

I’m with you; that is such a beautiful poem that resonates on so many different levels for so many different circumstances.
Julia Lund recently posted…Sixpence for the Moon

Vidya Sury July 19, 2014 at 9:42 am

Thank you, Julia. Poems like these are like pillars of support!

Julia Lund July 19, 2014 at 6:50 pm

You are right. When you read something that touches so many hearts, you know your are reading something special.
Julia Lund recently posted…Sixpence for the Moon

Cathy Graham July 15, 2014 at 6:35 pm

I’ve always loved that Desiderata poem since the 1970s when my parents had a record with a group singing a version of the song and some guy’s booming voice reciting it. Good reminders of what’s important. I especially like the one about “Do not compare yourself to others as you will become vain and bitter as there will always be people greater or lesser than yourself.” That one has echoed in my mind many times when I compared myself against others.

Now I’m feeling nostalgic and will have to post that Youtube link on Write Tribe. You asked for it. LOL!
Cathy Graham recently posted…UBC Day 14 – Take One Positive Step Forward.

Obsessivemom July 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Loved the poem Vidya. It includes almost every aspect for a happy life. Liked the graphic even more. ‘Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle’. Need to remember that one.
Obsessivemom recently posted…An experiment in freedom

richa singh July 16, 2014 at 1:55 pm

It calmed my senses and honestly I am reading it for the first time… I believe I will take a print of this and add to my office space workstation….


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge