♫ Desiderata ♫

I was working on a new music post … you know, one I haven’t played before … when all of a sudden three things happened all at the same time:  1) I came across a reference to this one in the post I was working on (no, I’m not telling what it was, for I hope to have it finished for tomorrow’s music post); 2) I suddenly felt incredibly exhausted, and 3) a gunshot that sounded like it was right outside my window.  Nothing like #3 to kill #1 & #2, eh?  This song is one for all times, one that carries a message that should be heard over and over again.  Now, if you’ll just go listen to the song, I have some investigating to do regarding the gunshot …

Last night I went with a light-hearted song, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, by the Supremes and also Phil Collins.  Tonight, I’m feeling more solemn, more … I’m looking at this nation, and others … Canada and the UK specifically … and I’m not liking what I see.  A woman posted on Facebook that “We should be better than this … God wants us to be better than this”.  Now, I’m not religious, but I thought her heart was at least in the right place and her comment in no way offended me.  However, she was slammed in comments by people being rude, crass, and obnoxious toward her.  And I started thinking … is this really who we are these days?  Can we not just agree to disagree, can we no longer tolerate those whose views do not match our own?  Whatever happened to “live and let live”?

I typically do not use the music posts to make a statement, though on occasion I do.  Tonight is one such occasion.  Les Crane’s Desiderata is a song that makes a statement … a simple, no-brainer sort of statement, but one that I think maybe we all should hear.

The song is based on a poem by Max Ehrmann that was written in the early 1920s, but not published until 1948, three years after his death.  The poem was about the search for happiness in life. In the 1960s, the poem made its rounds as “anonymous” ancient wisdom – it was widely reprinted because most people assumed it was in the public domain. Crane read the poem on a street poster (which stated the words “Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1692”) and decided to record it.

The song reached either #6 or #7 in the UK, depending on who you believe, #4 in Canada, and #8 in the U.S.

Les Crane

Desiderata. Desiderata. Desiderata.
Go placidly amid the noise and 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 the dull and 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 and 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 perenial as the grass.
Take kindly the council 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 imaginings –
Many fears are borne 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 with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Songwriters: Jonathan Douglas / Soren Rasted / M Ehrmanns
Desiderata lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

36 thoughts on “♫ Desiderata ♫

  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    What anamazing blast from the past!! … “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.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many, many thanks for re-blogging this one, dear Horty. This is a song that needs to be heard by one and all, that needs to be pondered, savoured, contemplated. And yet, those who most need to hear this message are deaf to it. Thanks again for sharing … we’re trying to get the word out, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember this being an unlikely hit the year before I went to uni, and all the bemused faces of the Top Of The Pops audience who had been told they should dance to the songs! It was the art postcard we all had at uni. Lovely words, if only certain people in public life could take heed of them…

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  3. I think I’m one of those vexations to the spirit because I feel aggressive. I feel like force feeding copies of this to every person who was given one in the 60’s and ignored it. The chance to ready ourselves for a world where people really cared passed by because people wanted their own thing. As Rawgod rightly says, the age of Aquarius never dawned for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nah, you’re never a vexation to the spirit, but like you, I feel aggressive these days. I feel that nobody is listening to the voice of reason, that there is no middle ground anymore, and worst of all, that people have grown so fond of money that they have forgotten what is important in life. Yes, on this I agree with both you and rg … the age of Aquarius never reached us, it was but an illusion, a hope. Sigh.

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  4. At the time we got the copies of the Desiderata in the 60s it was marked as Author Unknown, which seems weird if the poem was written in 1927. However, that said, I do see that authorship is now credited to Max Ehrmann, as represented on the production notes. Thanks, Jill, for setting me straight–a word I would never have attributed to myself in the 60s. Straight was a four-letter word!

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  5. I remember handing out copies of this to people on the street. Hopefully we thought that by reading these words people would treat each other more kindly. Unfortunately people are either too stubborn to change or too stupid. I still have my original poster from 1963….

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  6. Where the Desiderata actually came from, I don’t think anyone knows. The document was reprinted in the 60s before this record came out. We hippies handed out copies to straights for months until our supplies ran out. We hoped people would read it and slow down the rat race. I doubt it had any effect. Nothing huge, that is for sure.
    Then this record came out, spoken over some nice music. Maybe that would help the cause. Take a look around you today. What you see is worse than anything that we foresaw in those days.

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