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Friday, June 16, 2006


-- 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 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.

Just thought I'd throw something completely different in today. I read a lot of blogs that quote inspirational works, so I thought I'd put one of my favourites in. I'm not a very religious person, so this poem seems to sit pretty well with my beliefs, in that it pretty much avoids religion and only mentions God in a fairly abstract and inclusive way. We used to have it hanging in our toilet at home when I was a kid and I couldn't tell you how many times I've read it. One of the remarkable things about it is the ongoing confusion about its origin. This website explains the confusion. I must admit, our copy had the reference to St Paul's Church and I often wondered how someone living in the 1600s could have written something so fitting for the 20th century. When I found out the real story, rather than being disillusioned, it confirmed it's relevance for me. Although not 100s of years old, it was written way back in the 1920s, yet it still holds true for the 2000s, so it is probably more timeless than many give it credit for. Anyway I think it is a good creed for life.

Edit: It should be divided up into stanzas, but blogger isn't letting me do that properly.


Tammy said...

That's great! Reminds me of that 'sunscreen' song from a few years back. :)

Tesso said...

On our last day of Year 12 our school captain read Desiderata out to us. You probably know a recording of it was actually a top 40 hit in the early 70s.

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A Girl Running said...

I have never heard of Desiderata before - I might try to download the recording Tesso mentioned.

Black Knight said...

I didn't know it. Beautiful.