Go Placidly, You Are A Child Of The Universe, poem by Max Ehrmann

go placidly poem - desiderata

A Bit of Desiderata poem history

 

The" go placidly" poem, as it is often known, is actually titled Desiderata;  which means "desired things", and was written by Max Ehrmann of Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1927. Mr. Ehrmann was a writer, poet and attorney, and often wrote on spiritual themes. Not quite to the extent of the New Thought authors of that time period, but more along the lines of pieces of spiritual encouragement without religious overtones.

Download a printable copy of the Desiderata poem

After returning to his hometown from his law and philosophy studies at Harvard, Ehrmann served as deputy state's attorney for Vigo county, Indiana. Afterwards, he worked in his family's meatpacking and overall manufacturing businesses before turning full-time to writing.He published the poem, called Desiderata, Words For Life, in a number of places, and even made it available for free to Army chaplains to distribute to troops during the second world war.

He was not particularly famous as a writer during his lifetime, but his Desiderata poem, which in 1956, was included in a compilation of devotional works by the Reverend Frederick Kates, rector of Saint Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland,  for his congregation.

Ehrmann's famous Desiderata poem, includes such popular and oft-quoted lines as:

"Go quietly amidst the noise and haste"

"You are a child of the Universe"

"You have a right to be here"

All of which have served to allow his poem to live on and be enjoyed by new generations of people.

Desiderata continues to be one of the most popular prose poems and became one of the pieces of iconic writing of the late 60’s and 70’s, with the full text and short quotes showing up on posters, notebooks, mugs, cups, t-shirts and a host of other gear. It remains to this day one of the most popular poems published and you can find it in various forms all around the internet.

In 2010 the city of Terre Haute honored Ehrmann with a life-size bronze statue by sculptor Bill Wolfe. He is depicted sitting on a downtown bench, pen in hand, with a notebook in his lap. "Desiderata" is engraved on a plaque next to the statue and lines from the poem are embedded in the walkway. The sculpture is in the collection of Art Spaces, Inc. – Wabash Valley Outdoor Sculpture Collection.

The installation provides a peaceful place for the citizens of Terre Haute and visitors to pause for a few moments and reflect on the life and writings of Max Ehrmann.

Art Spaces, Inc, in partnership with the ISU Community School of the Arts holds the annual Max Ehrmann Poetry Competition with the goal of promoting poetry writing in the same spirit in which Mr. Ehrmann who wrote his poetry with a deep love of his community at its basis.

This is a wonderful piece of writing and if you would to read more of the poem and its meaning, please click this link:

Desiderata Poem Meaning

15 Comments on “Go Placidly, You Are A Child Of The Universe, poem by Max Ehrmann”

  1. Pingback: Desiderata Poem - Max Ehrmann 1927 Meaning, Analysis, Interpretation

  2. Rosella

    Howdy! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! I have loved that poem for a long time, ever since I first read it back in college. Thank you for sharing.

  3. JORGE LUIS

    I JUST LOVE THIS POEM I HEAR IT EVERY DAY ON THE RADIO THAT PLAYS IT WITH THE INTENTION TO MAKE PEOPLE THINK IN BEING SOMEONE REASONABLE WITH THE REST OF THE MANKIND THANKS SO MUCH MR. EHRMAN FOR SUCH A GREAT POEM.

  4. Alisia

    I really like this Desiderata poem. I saw it a long time ago when I was back in college. One of my suitemates had it on her wall. Everytime I went into her room I found myself reading her poster of the poem. Thank you for sharing it.

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