Thomas Moran’s Apocalyptic Art of America’s Storied West
In the late 1960s and 1970s, this wisdom, –ostensibly found on a church wall – but I always felt it too modern for that claim–, pulled me through the darkest times of my life.
I send this as my post today, because we are living in tumult that, to me, exceeds the terrors of World War II. At least, during WWII, the actions of tyrants were not aimed at our sacred planet itself.
My own mood is more akin to “…the center does not hold… slouching toward Bethlehem to be born…”
But I cannot let myself fall into any slough of despond. Never had LIGHT been more important in our world.
May these lines flow in and around you like grace, like honey itself, –shot through with light, bringing comfort and healing.
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 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 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 not cynical about love,
for, in the face of all aridity and disappointment,
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 God to be,
and whatever your labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham and drudgery and broken dreams
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrman, 1927.
Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, U.S.A. Dated 1692
From the Alt.Usage.English FAQ: “Desiderata” was written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). 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.