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As a youngster growing up in Durban, I spent a great deal of time at my friends’ homes. To be honest, I was a bit of a wandering waif. My mate Karen’s Dad called me that, so can’t take the credit for the gem of a description. Not to get the old violin out and strum a sad tune but my own home wasn’t always a sunshine and roses kind of a place. Hence the Houdini escape act on most weekends to get a sense of normality at other people’s houses. Don’t cry for me Argentina….
One of my vivid childhood memories is sitting on a chair at a friend’s house and noticing on a passageway wall, a framed poster, with the poem Desiderata inscribed (the word is Latin for “things desired”). Around that time period, you could see the poem up on the walls of many houses, and I recall memorising it for some reason. It made a real impression.
The poem by Max Ehrmann was written in 1927 and was made into a song, of which there are many versions. It still makes me cry when I listen to it as the words are timeless.
Here are some of the pearls of wisdom from the poem:
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly.
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.
Everywhere life is full of heroism.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
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.
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.
Go have a listen to the song, it’s moving and uplifting and a good start to the week.
Take care and be kind to each other