Sunday, July 31, 2011

"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, 
it is still a beautiful world."

Apparently this prose poem, written by Max Ehrmann in 1927, is quite famous; even to the point of being so over-promoted with Hallmark Card-esque imagery back in the 1940s-50s that its juice got lost in the rising tide of sap. I, however, never heard of it until today, and so for me, it feels fresh. Not only that, but kinda reassuring as an old-school talisman of a better side of American culture than what we've been swamped in of late, particularly as we watch our political leaders engineer train wrecks that risk much and promise little. At any rate, thought I share in the hopes that others may also find it interesting, and maybe even a bit inspiring - I did.


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.

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.


  1. hadn't read this in many many years, means more to me now than then i'd say - beyond that, i think the poem says it best...

    thanks carol ;-)

  2. my hairdresser used to have this poem framed and posted on her bathroom wall. i will never tire of it or stop finding it inspiring, and it feels as applicable now as it did in 1927. we always need reminders that it's a beautiful world we live in.

  3. Carol,so glad you found the poem. I keep that poem sitting on my desk, always. I think it's beautiful too. What a good time to share it! Hilary

  4. Wow it is really good one I read this poem first time!!