Desired things

Let me share another poem I learned from my mom.
It is called Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.

This one is probably my mom’s favorite (next is Footprints on the Sand, I guess) because she always have copies of this poem at home and at work.

When I was younger, I recall seeing this poem under the glass of her table top in her old office. I never read it at that time because it was printed on a cheesy art paper with old script font and flowers in the border (sooo not appealing to me). Plus, it seemed pretty boring because it was looooong (well, for a 10-yr old anyway).

Now that I am working, my mom helps me go through the ups and downs (especially the downs… the many many downs.). And every time I get depressed and think of quitting or doing something impulsive, I just talk to my mom.

She is like a hot beverage that soothes all the raging emotions.

Her advices and “words of wisdom” always makes me think straight and logical… helps me be pragmatic.

Most importantly, she makes me stay humble… she makes me come down from cloud nine.

When I finally read this poem, it made me think that maybe this is where she gets all this advices and outlook in life (aside from the best selling Holy Bible, of course).

So for everyone who are new to the “real world” or maybe already caught in the complicated web of life, read this carefully because it might just change you. Or at least, it might give you a new perspective in life.

Enjoy! 🙂


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.

Desiderata (n.) Anything desired; that of which the lack is felt; a want generally felt and acknowledge.

Ma, thanks again!
Hope this helps everyone prepping for the impending "bonus" season. :P


I remember my mom bought us a little orange book with a big red “101 poems” on the cover.
She bookmarked a page and gave it to me and said that I should memorize the poem.

(I think I was in the 1st or 2nd grade at this time. And at school, we were made to memorize a poem each year and have to recite it in front of the whole class. This, by the way, was one of the worst memories I had of elementary school because I hate reciting in class and speaking in public.)

So I asked her a big: WHY?
Why do I need to  memorize this poem? Why should I?
Number 1.  I hate memorizing stuffs
Number 2.  It’s not even a requirement in school.
Number 3. What’s the point?

My mom brushed off my being melodramatic (yes, even as a child I was already a drama queen!haha) and just simply said: “It’s a beautiful poem. Just memorize it and analyze what it means.”

For weird reasons, I did memorize it.

This was a poem by William Ernest Henley called, Invictus:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

One of the weird reasons is that when I read it, I felt chills.

This is the type of literature that when you read it, you suddenly wish for confidence.
And this newfound self-esteem will make you want to deliver this as a speech in a very kick-ass British accent, in front of a crowd with head held high and one closed fist in chest.

At this time in my life, my quarter life crisis is nearing to end it’s peak (I think) and I remember this poem. I am memorizing it again.

Hopefully when all the dusts in my confused mind settles, a clear vision of a life goal will arise.
And I will continue to use the last two lines as a mantra in seeing it through.

“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

Invictus -- latin for invincible; a poem; a movie; an inspiration. Thanks Ma! :)