♫ Desiderata ♫ (Redux)

This song crossed my radar last night, and it seemed to fit my mood, perhaps the mood of my country at this point in time. So, even though I played it less than two years ago, I am reduxing …

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

20 thoughts on “♫ Desiderata ♫ (Redux)

  1. This was the poem in print my friend’s sister presented to Cat Stevens when we met him. It wasn’t even framed, rolled up in with a rubber band around it. He opened it up and smiled, telling her he’d been searching all over for a copy. Now that’s a gracious man. Thanks Jill.So much truth in the words.
    I can scarcely abide social outlets these days. People just want to yammer, say things and care not what their words mean or who they might hurt. It’s just another game. This is very frightening business, the way the world is gling…

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  2. This is the penultimate personal affirmation, IMO. Thank you, Jill! (We have a “mod-podged” copy hanging in our bathroom here at home.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do! Meditate on that for awhile.

    I am a child of the universe, and I assert my right to be here.
    And I would rather be at peace with myself than any god. Loving oneself is more important than loving anyone or anything else. You are always with yourself. Other people and things can come and go, but if you don’t like yourself you have no best friend.
    Jill, this poem is so filled with hope. Are you really hearing it? No doubt, evolution is progressing as it should. It is only humans who stand in its way! For now…

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  4. Oh no!! Not again! 🤣 … this one e definitely hits the spot!! M’lord … totally remember when that came out! It’s engraved on the ‘hard drive’ in my brain!! Love it, love it, love it!! 💞💞

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  5. In 1972, The National Lampoon released a parody of this recording. It was titled Deteriorata, and while it only reached #91 on the Billboard Top 100, Les Crane himself later admitted that he preferred the parody version over his Grammy-winning recording of the original poem. So do I.


    You are a fluke of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    Deteriorata, Deteriorata

    Go placidly amidst the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof. Avoid quiet and passive persons, unless you are in need of sleep. Rotate your tires. Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself; and heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys. Know what to kiss – and when. Consider that two wrongs never make a right, but that three do. Wherever possible, put people on hold. Be comforted, that in the face of all irridity and disillusionment, and despite the changing fortunes of time, there is always a big future in computer maintenance.

    You are a fluke of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    Whether you can hear it or not,
    The universe is laughing behind your back.

    Remember the Pueblo. Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle, and mutilate. Know yourself. If you need help, call the FBI. Exercise caution in your daily affairs, especially with those persons closest to you… That lemon on your left, for instance. Be assured that a walk through the seas of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet. Fall not in love, therefore, it will stick to your face. Gracefully surrender the things of youth: the birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan – and let not the sands of time get in your lunch. Hire people with hooks. For a good time, call 606-4311, ask for Ken. Take heart in the deepening gloom that your dog is finally getting enough cheese. And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot, it could only be worse in Milwaukee.

    You are a fluke of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    Whether you can hear it or not,
    The universe is laughing behind your back.

    Therefore, make peace with your god, whatever you perceive him to be: hairy thunderer or cosmic muffin. With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal, the world continues to deteriorate. GIVE UP!

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  6. Pingback: ♫ Desiderata ♫ (Redux) — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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