Wednesday, July 21, 2010


The Blog printed here today has a special message. It is not however, a message I have written but one that was written by someone else- someone who wrote it for his own eyes. It is a message I believe in and I find it remarkable that one person was able to write something so compelling and beautiful.

Over the ages there have been many poems written that elicit a wide range of emotions. “In Flanders Fields” comes to mind. How difficult it is to recite- or listen, to that poem each autumn during Remembrance Day services.

The remarkable piece of prose- of which I write, was recorded in 1971 by Les Crane. The prose was rather unknown yet Crane recorded it- spoken word, with a chorus and music. It was called The Desiderata. It became a hit recording.

The original author, Max Ehrmann, was an attorney- turned “philosopher-poet”. It is said he wrote it simply for himself yet it has continued to inspire all who read it. The text, basically unknown in the author's lifetime, was written in 1927. On the cusp of the year 1959, a minister found the poem and added it to a collection of devotional prose he was compiling for his congregation. It was at that time- apparently mistakenly, The Desiderata was thought to have originated in the 1600’s. Further investigation found that it was written in 1927 by Ehrmann.
I play the song on Swisssh Radio. Each time it airs, I stop whatever I am doing and listen to its message of hope, love and good will. I believe the poem offers more- without malice or judgement, in its 33 lines, than most of today’s religious texts.

The message is not necessarily a religious one but a spiritual one. Spiritual on a level that all people and cultures can appreciate and understand- “Life is good despite all the nastiness in our world.”
May I present to you- The Desiderata.
(The Desiderata is copyrighted by Bell & Son Publishing. NYC, NY.)

The 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 to 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 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 own career, however humble,
it's 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 labours 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. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.