Profile image
By CoyotePrime (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

“In Search of “Desiderata”

Thursday, April 20, 2017 13:09
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

(Before It's News)

Click image for larger size.

“In Search of “Desiderata”
The tangled story behind a most popular poem.
by Daniel Nester

“You remember “Desiderata.” Maybe you heard its sweet strains on the radio. Or you recall key phrases – “you are a child of the universe” or “be gentle with yourself.” Chances are you have an aunt who hung a plaque of the poem set in calligraphy, its first words, “Go placidly,” standing out in decorated capitals. Or maybe we’re just talking about my aunt.

One of the most popular – dare I say best-selling? – poems of the 20th century, “Desiderata” is unabashed in its New Agey wisdom. “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence,” it begins. In the current age of portentous manifestos, “Desiderata” serves as a template for making grand statements we can all up-vote.

The poem’s origin story seemed murky from the start. Some held that it was written during the late 17th century by an anonymous Baltimore cleric. Others have regarded it as a kind of folk wisdom, an authorless credo that popped up at some point around the Summer of Love. But it was created in the American heartland in 1927 by an Indiana-born poet-lawyer, the son of German immigrants. Its author, Max Ehrmann, was never part of the poetry establishment.

What fascinates me is how “Desiderata” became a meme before the word was coined, how it went viral the analog way, transmitted through the culture by way of churchmen and statesmen, hippies and Hollywood actors, and one dedicated widow. Loosely translated from Latin as “things desired,” “Desiderata” is still sought out, imprinted on shower curtains, made into picture books for dog lovers, quoted on Twitter. Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp’s character in Pirates of the Caribbean, has the entire text of the poem tattooed on his back.

How popular is “Desiderata” today? Just ask the Internet. In his new book, David Orr claims Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” is “the most widely read and recalled American poem of the past century.” He cites results from the now-defunct Google Insights to compare scaled rankings of searches, in which the Frost poem comes out on top over T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” Orr and others might be surprised to find that, using Google Trends, the current tool that gauges interest in search terms since 2004, “Desiderata” edges out “The Road Not Taken” (49 to 43 in weighted scores) and leaves other poems in the dust. That’s just math.

All this shouldn’t be such a surprise. For nearly 90 years, Ehrmann’s “Desiderata” has gone placidly amid all the noise and haste, finding peace in silence, telling us to strive to be happy.”
Please view the rest of this article here:



Source: http://coyoteprime-runningcauseicantfly.blogspot.com/2017/04/in-search-of-desiderata.html

Report abuse

Comments

Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories
 

Featured

 

Top Global

 

Top Alternative

Register

Newsletter

Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.