Literary Shelf

Desiderata of All Time

The other day I stumbled across a word while reading an article. The word seemed foreign as well as familiar at the same time. Without any ado, I approached google mata for the meaning of that word: desideratum. The search landed me up in the poem entitled Desiderata penned by Max Ehrmann, the renowned writer, poet, and attorney. This prose poem has inspired me a lot. I could not come across a single line as a figment of fancy. It is extremely loaded with meanings and messages for torn and deprived hearts. It instills countless hopes especially when we are heading to the days of sheer uncertainty.

It’s quite hard to decipher the how and why of things especially when we are passing through the nightmares of viruses and fungus. It’s time to keep peace with our souls as the beauty of this beautiful world is yet to be reconnoitered. We should strive to find our own happiness and wait for the universe to unfold its miracles. Some words do bestow a world of wonders and so do the words of desiderata(things desired). I share this poem for all my readers to sense that life everywhere is full of heroism. Let’s feel the sanctity of these verses in the time of this ongoing crisis.

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.


More by :  Dr. Aparna Ajith

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