Max Ehrmann

Max Ehrmann

Indianapolis, Uinted States
Max Ehrmann
Indianapolis, Uinted States
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Biography
Max Ehrmann (September 26, 1872 – September 9, 1945) was an American writer, poet, and attorney from Terre Haute, Indiana, widely known for his 1927 prose poem "Desiderata" (Latin: "things desired"). He often wrote on spiritual themes.
Ehrmann was of German descent; both his parents emigrated from Bavaria in the 1840s. Young Ehrmann was educated a ...
Popular Poems
1.
Desiderata
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
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2.
Dark Days
What fool shall say, 'My days are fair,
God's in his world and all is well,'
When half mankind shrieks in despair
Worse than in Dante's flaming hell!

I cannot sing in happy mood
While hostile armies take their toll.
On these dark days I toil and brood
With starless midnight in my soul.

And yet, O World, O Life, O God!
I find myself, jest as the fool,
Believing in thy chastening rod,
Believing still that love must rule.
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3.
Reforming Oneself
It has been raining again. I have been indoors, meditating on the shortcomings of life.
I wish there were more kindly persons in the world. Our competitive life develops selfishness and unkindness.
I am determined to do something about it. I cannot hope to convert many persons. To convert one person, I shall do well.
I will begin with the person I know best - myself.
When it rains and one is much indoors one is likely to meditate on the shortcomings of life.
Let me think - how shall I make myself kind, gentle considerate?
I do believe it has stopped raining.
I can go out now. I'll go and shoot on the archery range.
I'll not bother to reform myself today. Perhaps tomorrow - if it is raining, and I must stay indoors, and meditate on the shortcomings of life.
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4.
Whatever Else You Do
Whatever else you do or forbear,
impose upon yourself the task of happiness;
and now and then abandon yourself
to the joy of laughter.

And however much you condemn
the evil in the world, remember that the
world is not all evil; that somewhere
children are at play, as you yourself in the
old days; that women still find joy
in the stalwart hearts of men;

And that men, treading with restless feet
their many paths, may yet find refuge
from the storms of the world in the cheerful
house of love.
...
5.
'A Prayer'
Let me do my work each day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.

Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.

Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.
...

Comments

sunnyfields 20 April 2020
I am drawn to this poem amid the days of the Pandemic of Covid 19.
0 0 Reply
Tessa 18 August 2019
What a wonderful and inspiring poet- -and person.
1 0 Reply
sadiqa 07 March 2019
i just love desiderata.....its too motivational n didactic...:- desiderata feel realistic
1 0 Reply
Brianna 21 February 2019
Reading his poetry, I feel like I am in a conversation with him in the same room. Desiderata is a such a beautiful piece and is so advanced. " And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding as it should."
1 0 Reply
Ron jackson 13 February 2019
A brilliant writer with a true heart. God Bless
2 0 Reply
Sharon Kraemer 22 August 2018
I have loved this mans writings for years. I have lived by Desiderata since my teens. I am 67 now and still pass this poem onto family and friends. It is a timeless poem with so much wisdom. 2018.
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