Inspiration for Living and Writing: The Poem Desiderata

August 8, 2011

in Life Lessons

Go Placidly Amidst the Noise and Haste...

The following poem is uplifting and encouraging for me personally, but it also inspires me as a writer. To have written something so beautiful that, 84 years later, is still being read is an accomplishment. All writers want to impact several generations of readers in this way; what a gift to have achieved it with this lovely poem.

While I have not been able to share my words as frequently as I would like lately, I thought I would share words that inspire me.



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 the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations 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 with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

~Max Ehrmann

Note: Desiderata in Latin means “desired things.” The poem was written in 1927 by the American Writer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). The largely unknown poem was used by Reverend Frederick Kates, rector of Saint Paul’s Church in Baltimore, in the church’s devotional materials. This compilation of devotionals had “Old Saint Paul’s Church with the year A.D. 1692” on the cover and, as a result, the poem’s date was widely mistaken; 1692 was actually the date of the church’s foundation. The poem became popular in the 1970’s.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Oilfield Trash August 8, 2011 at 10:26 am

That was an awesome poem, thanks for posting it.
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Vinny C August 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I’ve never had the talent for poetry. Especially not anything that good.
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Tony Murphy August 9, 2011 at 10:38 am

I first came across this when I was about 15 or so and I’ve loved it ever since. I have it on the wall beside my bed and I think if I achieve nothing else in my life beyond living it in line with this poem and passing it along to my children it would be a life well lived.
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SuzRocks August 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm

So I was almost not going to read this post, because I was like, “eww, a poem” and I’ve never really liked poems much.

Apparently, I was wrong- I like poems like this. That was awesome. And inspiring. good find!
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Tracie August 17, 2011 at 2:22 am

It is an absolutely beautiful poem!

Is that your foot in the picture?
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