the mutt

Desiderata

Posted in General, Writing by grx20 on December 1, 2008

In the light of recent events, my mind wanders back to something I used to read when I was a school kid.

Desiderata. (It’s confused and oft misquoted history can be found here at wikipedia.)

My brother had a copy of it, printed on an ageing A4 sheet, stuck to a wall in his room. And when he wasn’t around, I would go and read it. I find it a calming and gentle read that reminds me of the quiet strength in words well-strung together. In fact, there is no other piece of writing that I recall more often.

DESIDERATA

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 the 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.

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4 Responses

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  1. Rajesh said, on December 1, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Beautiful – it has been a long time since I read this lovely piece. Thanks for posting it.

    • the mutt said, on December 8, 2008 at 11:47 am

      Yes Rajesh, it is a lovely piece of writing. It’s good to just spend time on one phrase and meditate on it, let it run through your mind as the day unfolds. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Mutti said, on December 10, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks for posting this piece !! My son had pasted a copy of it on the wall of his room

    along with posters of Iron Maiden, Michael Jackson and others!!

    It was good to read it after many many years !

  3. Lesley Dewar said, on January 1, 2009 at 11:52 am

    The Desiderata is beautiful and enhances our lives while we find our own truths.

    http://is.gd/el5m Please enjoy this – it is my 2009 philosophy for life and living.


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