Sunday, June 29, 2008


Photo - Alden Smith

There is quite a lot in the name of this yacht. The photograph is of a schooner that is moored near my yacht Mariner. She is a large vessel and a family live on board. Often they give a cheery wave as they row past my boat in a big dory. There is quite a lot to the name of this yacht.

The name comes the very well known Poem ' Desiderata'. The author is Max Ehrmann a poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, who lived from 1872 to 1945. It has been reported that Desiderata was inspired by an urge that Ehrmann wrote about 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.

DESIDERATA (Latin for "desired things" ) - Max Ehrmann - 1927

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 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 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 not this 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.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm - Ive always loved this.
I meet it first in a coffee shop in Christchurch after a day teaching difficult kids. memories. Thankyou.
Good to know where it came from.
God bless you.

Alden Smith said...

Yes it is good to read and be reminded of its truth isn't it. As a piece of original writing it suffers somewhat perhaps from over exposure, but that's what happens to good things that have the ring of truth for many people - they get emblazoned everywhere.
And thank you for your blessing, I usually only get that after I've sneezed on someone!

Anonymous said...


Alden Smith said...

Bless You

Katherine said...

Sometimes one sees the same things around a lot because they are true... I rediscover this wonderful piece of writing frequently and re-realise it's all the advice I need.

(BTW I'm slowly getting back home. What adventures my little dog and I have been having down here in the South Island!)

Alden Smith said...

I love the South Island; it is where I originally come from. I hope you have a set of chains for your wheels and a jumbo snow shovel. The light of Central Otago is amazing, no wonder it gets painted and photographed so much - hope you have taken lots of photos and sketches to make paintings for your "Southern Sojourn" exhibition :-)