Saturday, 2 March 2013

Desiderata of Hope (Max Ehrmann)

Three poems by American poet Max Ehrmann, most famous for his Desiderata.

I sit and smile at myself

I sit and smile at myself,
As deep into the dark I dream and write.
What boots it to me that I should waste my youth
And burn the oil of night?
For I'll but live my little day
     And then away.

I sit and smile at myself,
As dreaming, half the sweet of life I miss,
And beat my soul against the deadened wall
Of fate, and lose the kiss
Of love and laughter light,
     As here I write.

I sit and smile at myself,
And yet as I dip oar into life's swift sea,
I somehow feel that I, poor fool, still do
The work that's meant for me.
So on and on and on I write
     Into the night.

Sing on, O singers all!
(A voice calls out) sweet dreamers, dream yet on
And chant and chant upon the beach of night,
Until the graying dawn
Finds flags of brotherhood unfurled
     Across the world.

For life's a battle hard
And singers still must come from out the throng
To soften them who in the hot pursuit
Will listen to a song.
So spin thy lays in ringing rhyme
     At midnight time.

This be excuse enough,
Thou scribbling, ever scratching, jingling seer,
And in the final counting of the world,
When each man's page is clear,
And all is o'er with earth's wild pace,
     Thou'lt have thy place.

We sit and judge

We sit and judge without delay
On how each one betakes his way,
And laugh at every narrow man
Who can't enjoy the things we can,
And deep in Hades, souls we plant,
That can enjoy the things we can't.

Sleep Sweetly

Sleep sweetly now that the gates of the
     crimson night are closed, and leave
     tomorrow's struggle for tomorrow;
The earth is peaceful, only the stars and still moon
     are abroad, and they wage no war.

Painting: 'Towards a Better World' by Luis Ricardo Falero

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