When my dad was an English teacher at Arroyo Grande High School, he had only a few posters on the wall. One of those was his favorite poem, The Desiderata (literally: things to be desired). It was a cheesy looking poster, printed on cheap paper with a design you’d expect to see on the wall of a public classroom. The poster was crap, but the content is great.
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.
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.
What I like most about this poem, compared to similar things in the Bible or whatever, is it’s succinctness, clarity, and I appreciate that it doesn’t discriminate on religion. I don’t know if I’d like it to be taught in schools, but I will absolutely show it to my kids.
My roommate Corinna (aka Beefball, aka Meathunk, aka Baby Bee) recently got a new shower curtain, hand towels, and floor mat for our bathroom. We agreed that some artwork in there would compliment the look, and Baby Bee suggested framing expensive wrapping paper. While this would yield a totally acceptable end result on par with shit you’d see on a lot of HGTV design shows, I couldn’t help but think that there would be something for more fun to make than that. That’s when I got the idea of framing multiple compositions (probably 10” by 10”) all in a row. At first I was going to take the pattern from the shower curtain, but now I’m thinking of doing hand drawn type writing The Desiderata across four panels. I think it’s gonna be the bomb. I’ll post pics if I do it.