Desired Things

On Wednesday night I met Sara for supper. We went to a nice Vietnamese restaurant in downtown Des Moines. I don’t think I can actually type out the name of the restaurant, but my best Americanized version of the restaurant name is A Dong. My shorthand review of the meal was that they had incredible appetizers.

Almost any time I hang out with Sara, I learn something new. Sometimes, it is just her current degree of insanity, sometimes it is what part of the body is a perfect vacuum and sometimes it is about art.

Sara introduced me to a poem called Desiderata. Maybe you have heard the poem. I had only heard parts and had never heard the whole thing. I love the poem. Have a quick read.


Go placidly amid the noise and the 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 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 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 in your soul.
With all its sham,
drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

I read this poem while sucking down my second glass of wheat grass and before I took a wheat grass pill. The poem was not written by a famous poet. The author is a guy named Max Ehrmann.

He wrote the following in his diary:

I should like, if I could, to leave a humble gift — a bit of chaste prose that had caught up some noble moods.

That seems like a pretty good goal for anybody.