Happy Saturday and last day of February, 2015! I had to share this post again with this back story.
I had some business on my university campus last summer and as I stood in line, a young woman in front of me sported a tattoo with some of the words from this poem: “You are a child of the universe…” Both our jaws dropped when I asked her if this was from Desiderata, then finished the sentence, “…no less than the trees and the stars…” I was surprised I remembered it.
She must have picked up the poem from her parents, so much so that she dedicated those words onto her shoulder and upper arm. Truly a throwback to the seventies!
If you were around in the 1970s, this poem was so popular it became a song on the radio. If you were a hippie in the 1970s this was also on your 8-track.
Read this, it is as meaningful today as it was in the 70s, and as it was when it was originally written (1920s). The Latin for Desiderata means “desired things.”
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 ignorant;
they too have their story.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
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.
Strive to be happy.
Author – Max Ehrmann (1872 – 1945)
Note: Due to copyright infringement issues, I have recently deleted several stanzas of the poem. Please google Desiderata poem for the words.
About this poem:
Desiderata was apparently written between 1906 & 1920 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) who copyrighted the piece in 1927. The confusion about authorship of this poem is due to its distribution by Reverend Frederick Kates within a collection of works for his congregation in 1959. The church notepaper was headed “The Old St Paul’s Church, Baltimore, AD 1692”. As the poem became more widely circulated, it came to be assumed that the poem originated in this old church which was founded in 1692.