Guest poerm submitted by Sidharth Jaggi:
(Poem #761) Desiderata
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 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 and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your 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 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.
Written 1927. Copyright 1976 Robert L. Bell. According to some reference books, Desiderata is still sometimes thought to have been 'found' at Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore and to date back to 1692. It was actually written and copyrighted by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945) in 1927, the copyright was renewed in 1948 and 1954 by Bertha K. Ehrmann. It was copyrighted by Robert L. Bell in 1976. In 1956, the rector of St. Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of mimeographed inspirational material for his congregation. Someone who subsequently printed it asserted that it was found in Old St. Paul's Church, dated 1692. The year 1692 was the founding date of the church and has nothing to do with the poem. See Fred D. Cavinder, "Desiderata", TWA Ambassador, Aug. 1973, pp. 14-15. I like the Desiderata. I really really like it. Like, y'know, I dig it. I like the tone of it - it's not overly preachy, but just full of good stuff. I like to imagine a big daddy figure saying such things to me when I'm feeling lonely or down. The lines are the ropes religions are made of; when people are feeling lonely or down they like to imagine a big daddy figure saying such things to them. It just reeks of tolerance, goodwill to humanity and the fellowship of man. Good stuff. Which I found really strange when I first read about its supposed provenance, in a Protestant church in the bastion of Puritanism. Come to think of it, the Roaring Twenties are just as unlikely... But, you know, I really really like the Desiderata. Oh, general fact - all the people I've forced to read the above and comment on it have, without exception, suddenly laughed / snickered / sniggered when they came to the line "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit." <snicker> And, of course, when I want a change there's always... "Deteriorata" Go placidly amid the noise and waste, remembering what comfort may be found in owning a piece thereof. Avoid quiet and passive persons unless you are in need of sleep. Rotate your wheels, it is what they are for. Speak glowingly of others greater than yourself, heed well their advice even though they be turkeys. Know what to kiss, and when. Consider that two wrongs never make a right. However, three do. Wherever possible put people on hold and leave for the day. Be comforted that, in the face of all aridity and disillusionment and despite the changing fortunes of time, there will always be a big future in computer maintenance. Remember the Alamo. Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate. Know yourself. If you do not, look in the mirror - that's you. Exercise caution in your daily affairs, especially with those persons closest to you. That turkey on your left for instance. Fall not in love, it will stick to your face and smell of tuna. Gracefully surrender the things of youth, burgers, coffee and obesity. Hire people with hooks. For a good time, Listen to a US foreign policy speech. Take heart amid the deepening gloom that at least your cat is being fed well; reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot, at least you don't live in Ohio. You are a fluke of the universe: you have no right to be here. Whether or not you can hear it, the Universe is laughing behind your back. Therefore make your peace with God, whether you consider him to be clown or President of the disUnited States. With all its hopes, dreams and McDonalds, the world will continue to deteriorate. -- National Lampoon One of the above two hangs on my bedroom wall - you have three guesses as to which one :) Sidharth.