Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Poem: Desiderata by Max Ehrmann (1920s)

Dear Readers,

This poem was sent to an e-group and I found it to be relevant and meaningful especially when there are people who are out to create noise and seek to be unhappy with whatever is currently happening.

As an educator, there are many times we compare ourselves and our students with those from more desirable schools. This poem proposes that we don't compare ourselves with others. Be at peace with God and self. Be happy!

Rodney Tan

-- written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s --

Not "Found in Old St. Paul's Church"! --

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 labours 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.


  1. Thanks for sharing this poem, Rodney. It's what I need right now, very heartening indeed :)

  2. It's a wonderful piece of poetry. I was first introduced to it circa 1971 when Les Crane put it to music, and I've referred to it many times during the ensuing years. Good choice, Rodney!