Desiderata (One of my favorite things)

Posted on: December 24, 2011

This poem, by Max Ehrmann, reminds me of my dear friends, Christal and Elisha. The first time I saw Desiderata was probably around ten years ago on Elisha’s bathroom mirror in Silver Spring, MD. I loved it instantly, but never had a book or a print, and only thought of it occasionally. Last winter, I came across it again, somewhere in Christal’s house.

Christal & Elisha always reminded me of each other in that they are amazingly kind, patient, generous, gentle, and leave such an impact on my heart when I’m in their presence. They are close in age, both from Philadelphia, both born in June, but that is where the similarities end, which makes me wonder if  the words and ideas contribute to their nature, or if their dopeness drew them to the work. It also makes me wonder, if I’d been introduced to this poem earlier, might I be as beautiful as they? I don’t know, but I do know I’ll read it to my child(ren) every night before their bedtime prayers.

Upon further research this evening, I found that the work was largely unknown in its author’s lifetime, and was found at politician Adlai Stevenson’s deathbed, intended for use in his Christmas cards. How appropriate.

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 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 with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Be great, my loves. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  • Najeema: I've got the same plans (and posterboard on my kitchen table) for a vision board. I'll share mine if you share yours, lol. Hoping you attract everythi
  • NVRGVUP: Love is where it's at!
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