Friday, June 2, 2017

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or 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 in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.





Desiderata (Latin for "desired things" or "essential things" was written by Max Ehrmann, an American writer, poet, and attorney.  He wrote the poem in 1927 (some accounts say even earlier)  but it was not published until 1948.  The rector of an Episcopal church in Maryland, Rev. Kates, must have liked it very much as he used it in some devotional materials at his church.  There was some confusion to the authorship to this poem since the church, St. Paul's, had this printed at the top of their stationary: "Old St. Paul's Church, Baltimore, Maryland 1692".(The poem must have been on this without any mention of Max Ehrmann.)Therefore, many still believe that it is written by an unknown from 1692...
If you read about the life of Max Ehrmann, and you may do so just here, it seems sad to know that this beautiful poem was only published after his death, and he never knew of its popularity. Yet, maybe that is the whole point of what he wrote here.Let me know if you know this poem and the background behind it.(I have written of this before but wanted to share it again.)

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My nephew will be graduating from high school this month.  I am thinking of him.  He is the son and grandson of lawyers, so this is my way of honoring him.Congratulations for all those who are embarking on new journeys! 


31 comments:

  1. I know the writing, Kay, but do not know any of the history behind it. Interesting that some think he plagiarized it from past centuries. To me-it doesn't have the 'flow' of something written in the 1600s' but what do I know?

    Have a wonderful weekend- xo Diana

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    1. Diana, you know a LOT! I am glad you like it too. We had it on a poster in our room when we were teenagers, my sister and I. I have always loved it, will always remember it.

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  2. Kay...Oh yes, Strive to be happy...most people think it will just fall into their laps. Anything worth having is worth working to achieve.:):) Congrats to your nephew and all the honorable young people graduating at this time of year. Exciting and scary at the same time. :) Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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    1. Exciting and scary, that is just it, isn't it?
      Thanks for blessings, sweet Susie! Take care and strive to be happy! :-)

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  3. I first fell in love with this poem because of the early 1970s music recording of it. As for who wrote it, I've seen it attributed both ways. But I never knew why or how the Old St Paul's Church attribution arose -- so thanks for that info!

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    1. I love to find out about the background of things and I have written of this before but I didn't remember that the author was an attorney so it made perfect sense to have it here for Sam, as his Dad and Grandfather were both lawyers! You might begin to see how my mind works!

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  4. Early congratulations to your nephew on graduating. There are far too many people out there who aren't appreciated until after their death. Van Gogh and Edgar Allen Poe are two other classic examples. It's a shame that they never came to learn how much people loved their art.

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    1. Thank you, Mark! I agree, it is a shame to think of the artists who are not appreciated until after they are gone.

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  5. I used to keep the Desiderata posted on the bulletin board when I worked. It helped when things got really hectic. It would be a great thought for graduates too. Congrats to your nephew.

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    1. I knew you would love it too! For those who look on the bright side of life, it isn't because we don't know that there is a dark side, it is just that we try to bring light to the darkness. We need more light givers.

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  6. Very wise advice! I particularly like the " be gentle with yourself"...."be at peace with God"...
    Perhaps Ehrmann had jewish roots, and that's why the church didn't mention his name.
    Congratulations to your nephew!

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    1. I shouldn't think that the Episcopal priest would suppress that it was written by a Jewish person, no, I don't think that would be it all. I just think it was a misunderstanding because of the date shown on the stationery.
      I am glad you like too! And thanks for your well wishes for my nephew.

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  7. I like the message of gentle strength in the poem. A strong person is not strong because he can inflict pain. He is not strong because he can yell louder than others. He is not strong because he belittles others. He is strong because he has the confidence to provide an environment of comfort and peace. I wish there were more strong people in this world.

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    1. An environment of comfort and peace. I like the sound of that very much. As usual, you are able to convey perfectly what I would like to say, so I thank you!
      I also wish there were more strong people in the world.

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  8. Yes I've heard of it and love the words. :-) Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

    Blessings,
    Jill

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    1. Glad you like it too, Jill. Blessings on you.

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  9. I've always liked it. I haven't read it for a long time. I first heard it under the 1692 anonymous idea but not long after learned the real author. Thanks for sharing it and reminding me of it.

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  10. I've been thinking a bit about my old acquaintance with classical philosophy and it has always struck a chord with that: Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, "Stoic" in the ancient richer sense of the word.

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    1. Hello Dennis! Thanks very much for your comments.
      "Stoic" in the ancient, richer sense of the word- I think I understand what you mean. Not stoic in the way that it has become to mean. Oh look, here it is summed up quite nicely...
      "The ancient Stoics are often misunderstood because the terms they used pertained to different concepts in the past than they do today. The word "stoic" has come to mean "unemotional" or indifferent to pain, because Stoic ethics taught freedom from "passion" by following "reason". The Stoics did not seek to extinguish emotions; rather, they sought to transform them by a resolute "ask─ôsis" that enables a person to develop clear judgment and inner calm.[19] Logic, reflection, and concentration were the methods of such self-discipline."

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  11. It has been years since I read this. Thank you for posting it. It is timeless and I loved reading it again.

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    1. Thank you! I am happy to share something that I truly think is important.

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  12. Congratulations to your nephew!

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    1. Thank you, Mimi! And to all those graduating, best wishes to them all.

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  13. One of my favourites when I was a teenager. I've not read it for years....thanks for bringing Desiderata back to me, Kay.

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    1. You are welcome! My sister had a poster of this and we had it on our bedroom wall as teenagers.
      I have always loved it.

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  14. Thank you for posting this....A favorite of mine since I first heard it but I didn't know much about the author beyond his name.....

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    1. Isn't it wonderful how we can research the background of things now and find out more about the people who might have been forgotten! So glad you love this too!

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    1. Hey John!
      So happy to see your Daisy photo here!
      Glad you love this too.

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