THIS PROSE POEM KEEPS ME SANE IN MAD AND STRESSFUL TIMES

I remember when I was a teenager lying in bed late at night after tuning into my favourite Irish pirate radio station (Sunshine Radio closed in 1988). The last item they played was always the DESIDERATA (from the Latin: Things Desired), and was penned by American writer Max Ehrmann in the 1920s.

 Even at 16 I was captivated by the words and the deeper meaning, although I’ve related to it much more in later life. It transforms religion despite its similarity to a prayer, and seems to express universal principles that nearly everybody could find acceptable. I admit that I agree with everything in it. And it is only one of two poems I have printed and keep visible in my study.

After reading or listening to it I always feel a sense of comfort, and it makes me more thankful for what I have despite some low moments in recent years. It seems long, but it flows so quickly, that I’m soon at the end of it, almost like a mantra.

Do you have any poem or even a song that plays an important part in your life?

THE 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 to 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 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’s 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”.

LA TRADUCCIÓN AL ESPAÑOL – Desiderata (del latín desiderata “cosas deseadas”)

Camina plácido entre el ruido y la prisa,

y recuerda la paz que se puede encontrar en el silencio.
En cuanto te sea posible y sin rendirte,
mantén buenas relaciones con todas las personas.
Enuncia tu verdad de una manera serena y clara,
y escucha a los demás,
incluso al torpe e ignorante,
también ellos tienen su propia historia.
Evita a las personas ruidosas y agresivas,
ya que son un fastidio para el espíritu.
Si te comparas con los demás,
te volverás vano o amargado
pues siempre habrá personas más grandes y más pequeñas que tú.
Disfruta de tus éxitos, lo mismo que de tus planes.
Mantén el interés en tu propia carrera,
por humilde que sea,
ella es un verdadero tesoro en el fortuito cambiar de los tiempos.
Sé cauto en tus negocios,
pues el mundo está lleno de engaños.
Pero no dejes que esto te vuelva ciego para la virtud que existe,
hay muchas personas que se esfuerzan por alcanzar nobles ideales,
la vida está llena de heroísmo.
Sé tú mismo,
y en especial no finjas el afecto,
y no seas cínico acerca del amor,
pues en medio de todas las arideces y desengaños,
es perenne como la hierba.
Toma amablemente el consejo de los años,
abandonando con donaire las cosas de la juventud.
Cultiva la firmeza del espíritu
para que te proteja de las adversidades repentinas,
mas no te agotes con pensamientos oscuros,
muchos temores nacen de la fatiga y la soledad.
Más allá de una sana disciplina,
sé benigno contigo mismo.
Tú eres una criatura del universo,
no menos que los árboles y las estrellas,
tienes derecho a existir,
y sea que te resulte claro o no,
indudablemente el universo marcha como debiera.
Por eso debes estar en paz con Dios,
cualquiera que sea tu idea de Él,
y sean cualesquiera tus trabajos y aspiraciones,
conserva la paz con tu alma
en la bulliciosa confusión de la vida.
Aún con todas sus farsas, penalidades y sueños fallidos,
el mundo es todavía hermoso.
Sé alegre.
Esfuérzate por ser feliz.