A Timeless Poem

This beautiful and inspiring piece of writing, by Max Ehrmann is full of wisdom and great words to live by. Desiderata is a Latin word for the term “things that are yearned for”.

This poem also holds a special meaning for me. My aunt, who passed away in 2009, gave me a book titled, “Desiderata for Baby Lovers“. I’ve read the poem to my kids since then and each time I always think of my Aunt Diane who always put a smile on our faces, especially with her laugh.

Please enjoy and let me know what you think of the poem by commenting below.


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.

By Max Ehrmann © 1927Original text

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  • The Desiderata had a PROFOUND impact on me at a time in my life when I wasn’t sure what to believe in. When I read it in 1997, (not for the first time) I thought how beautiful it was, so beautiful that I read it aloud in class. It was a college math class and I was the teacher. I had no business taking up time for that, but I have no regrets and offer no apologies for so doing.

    At that time was “allergic to religion” because of having been burned, insulted, and treated with disrespect and even cruelty by religious people in the religion of my upbringing. However, one line in particular of the Desiderata changed my world, changed the way I think, and prepared my heart and mind to be receptive to God.

    10 years later I found a different religion, went regularly to services, and gradually let some of it’s people, ideas and liturgy “work” on me. And then 10 years after this I truly came to understand the real remarkable and spirit-filled gift the Bible is for all people.

    So 20 something years after this poem “spoke” to me I am in a state of mind God was trying to draw me to all along. So maybe I’m kind of a slow learner in spiritual matters. That’s neither here nor there.

    As I said before, I credit one line especially with preparing my mind and heart to receive the Good News. And that line is:
    “And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
    It gave me hoose bumps! What a load off! Before this line was heard deep in my bones, it’s like I was worrying about the things that I had no control over. Now it became possible to relax and trust there is some God in the driver’s seat of this crazy world, and I can trust this God. It made sense to me. I chose to believe it. I chose to have faith.
    So thank you for this post. It caused me to reflect on the bumpy path of my spiritual journey, and how wonderful and loving is the Holy Spirit to guide us all toward a gentle awakening of the GOODNESS of existence and all life.

    • I am so humbled that you found my post inspiring and for causing you to reflect on your spiritual journey. I also applaud you for reading Desiderata to your college math class! You may not know it, but I’m sure your poetry reading in math class moved a few or more students. I remember my high school English teacher reading Henry David Thoreau to us for the first time and how it lead me on a path of simple spirituality the rest of my life. Thank you for your comments tonight and God Bless.

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