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“Desiderata — A Poem for a Way of Life” by Max Ehrmann

“Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann, was published in 1927, and became very popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It was out in the stores on posters in much abundance!  There were several variations of it, and it was even disputed to have been “found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1692”.

Actually, Max Ehrmann, an Indiana poet, wrote “Desiderata” and several other books, as well. When his poem became so popular again, and it was quoted as ‘anonymous’, his wife who was then a widow, proved that it was indeed written by her husband and copyrighted in 1927 and registered with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

“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 & clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull & the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud & 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
& 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 not this 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 & 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 & loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not is 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 & aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy”.

“Desiderata — A Poem for a Way of Life” by Max Ehrmann, published
by Crown Publishers, NY.

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