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The Journal of Chris Sorrenti

12/28/2004 09:38 p.m.

Funny how the mind works sometimes. How certain lines in a poem can trigger long lost memories…pieces of other poems, sometimes, ones I’ve written, other times, the work of others.

Paul Lorenz’s latest posting, titled, If They Turned A Pen On Me, had some philosophical lines that immediately brought to mind a long forgotten poem I’d read and cherished in adolescence, titled Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. I recall having even bought a poster with the poem and a photo beneath of a teenage boy sitting on a bed, playing guitar in what looked to be a small room with bars on the window. That poster hung on my own bedroom wall for at least a couple of years.

Thanks to Google, I’ve located and included it below. Consider it a belated Christmas gift, and words to live by in the coming years, considering this certainly unpredictable world we live in, taking into account the recent tragedy of earth quake and tsunami in southern Asia. A prayer for the living...and the dead…


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 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 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, Copyright 1927.

I am currently Cheerful
I am listening to my computer's fan

Member Comments on this Entry
Posted by Maureen Glaude on 12/28/04 at 10:28 PM

yes, it's wonderful and reminds me in one line of the philosophy of my late nephew, there'll always be someone better at something than you, and someone worse...perhaps he'd read this, now I wonder... thanks., It's something to print for sure. I must check out the poem on here too.

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Posted by Shonda Creemer on 12/29/04 at 12:01 AM

I have a copy of this placed on parchment paper, attached to a wooden plaque and then protected with some sort of clear-like frame hanging in my kitchen where everyone can see it. It is really beautiful. I have loved this since the first time I read it about 10 years ago. I also have a book of his poetry that I had forgotten about. Thanks for the reminder!

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Posted by Michele Schottelkorb on 01/03/05 at 12:08 AM

i've had this plaque for years by my front door... one of the few things passed on to me by my mother...

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