Monday, May 12, 2008


Dad in His Canoe

Granny in her Garden

When I was a teenager, my dad's mother (Granny) died. Dad went to her funeral, and he brought back the following poem on a scroll from her house, and he gave it to me. It was during a time in my life that I needed inspiration and guidance, and I read it over and over. Soon I had it memorized. I have always returned to it during times of confusion.

Desiderata — A Poem for a Way of Life

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 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 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 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.

--Max Ehrmann,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessie,

I haven't looked at your Blog for almost a week. I looked at it today, hoping for some comfort. The words from the poem Desiderata brought me much comfort. Thank you for sharing! I am grateful to know you.