Thursday 9 September 2010


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 the 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 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 with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

poem - Max Ehrmann 
paintings  and etching - Samuel Palmer

I have somehow managed to miss this poem
although the title was known to me.
No doubt it is as familiar to everyone else,
as Kipling's 'If'.


  1. Good advice. I didn't know the poem either, so thanks for sharing. And beuatiful pictures, too.

  2. Not sure how you managed to miss this beautiful and much-loved poem over so many years, Lucille, but it was lovely to read it again in its entirety. One could pick a thought from it almost at random, and it would be entirely right.....

  3. It is always good to be reminded of such wonderful aspirations.

  4. It isn't familiar to me. I think it's rather beautiful. 'Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness' How true that is. And how hard at times to 'be on good terms with all persons'
    I'm always so loud and indignant when I think I'm right and everyone else is wrong!
    I've a long way to go yet I think!

  5. The line about dark imaginings is speaking to me at present. I think it's a bit like missing long division if you were off school with chickenpox!

  6. I have read this before, and each time I do I think it is exactly right for any moment in life.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness - I know that now, but I wish I'd known it sooner.

  7. I still have a copy written by a friend at school 35 years ago! Thanks for the memory!

  8. Each verse seems to resonate with me now. I became quite emotional reading it. I'm unable to follow the advice in line nine but it is a challenge and may make me stronger.

  9. A friend bought me this on a poster about 20 years ago. I thought she was appealing to my emotional depth and deep thoughtfulness.

    Later she told me she bought it because she thought I 'could do with calming down a bit'

  10. Thankyou !
    Disturbing changes and "Let them eat cake , preferably elsewhere"-ism at work this week , in the face of changing Council priorities, privatisation and the loudly trumpeted 40% economy drive , are put in perspective again by this advice .
    Sonata .

  11. lovely poem and the images are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.