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.
Summary / Analysis
“Desidereta” is Latin for “things wanted or needed”. The title is very fitting for a poem that optimistically describes how you can achieve peace of mind. Ehrmann writes as your spiritual guide to transcendence. He implores you to to find value in yourself and peace with your existence with lines like, “you have the right to be here” “keep peace in your soul” and “be gentle with yourself”. He steers you away from negative energy, with statements such as, “do not distress yourself with dark imaginings” and “avoid loud and aggressive persons”. He qualifies your existence, all for the purpose of reassuring you, that all the noise, haste and the drudgery of the world, there is still a lot of beauty to it. As such, he commands you at the end of this poem, to make an effort towards happiness. All of the poem prior to the last sentence, is a setup for that last statement. The entire poem serves to explain how and why you can be happy, and once Ehrmann has established that, he then comfortably and effectively implores us to try.