Thursday, June 9, 2011

Desiderata

I first saw this poem hanging on my graphic arts teacher's wall when I was going through one of the hardest times in my life.  High school wasn't easy for me, my family was going through a lot of rough stuff, and one day... I remember holding back the tears, sitting at a computer desk facing the wall, pretending to be working and looking up and seeing this.  Like it was placed right there for me to read.  It gave me a lot of wisdom and hope, and I felt at peace for once.  I felt like it said everything I needed to hear at the time. 

I'm actually refinishing my work desk and on the top, I've decided to paint this poem so it's always there for me to read.  I've underlined the parts that spoke to me that day so long ago, now the whole poem speaks to me.  It is full of wisdom.  I'll post photos of my desk when finished.  

So here it is, Desiderata...


(Written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s)

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.

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