Desiderata

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My D post is late because I went to a friend’s 40th birthday party last night and enjoyed the J. Lohr Cabernet a bit too much 😉 My post would have been D for drinking too much. Haha.

Instead this D post is Desiderata, a poem by Max Ehrmann which is one of my favorites on The Love Book app of poetry I have on my iPhone. Anyone who knows me or follows me on Twitter knows I absolutely love my The Love Book app.

I found it because I am a Tom Hiddleston Fangirl and saw a picture of him reading for it. I got the app and it’s been love at first listen ever since. Tom, Helena Bonham Carter, Emma Watson, Damien Lewis, Gina Bellman and Helen McCrory all read poems, as well as a collection of other poems that aren’t read.

I have never been a poet and was not as drawn to the study of poetry when I was in college. It seemed to me poetry was a lot like baking and prose like cooking. Baking required precise measurement at just the right temperature for an exact amount of time to make something beautiful. Cooking you can play with ingredients and how it is cooked, to a certain degree and still come up with something great. Poetry requires more economy and each word and line is so critical to the success of the poem. Prose the words are all important and composition is important, but there is difference in how the words can be arranged.

I read some poetry before, of course, but the Love Book app inspired me to really dive in to poetry more than I had before. Not writing it, just reading it.

Desiderata is one of my favorites because it has such a positive comforting vibe to it. I like to say it feels like a hug. (And probably the closest I will be to getting a Hiddleston Hug ehehe)

Here is my favorite part from the poem:

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.

The whole poem is fantastic though, I would highly recommend
checking it out and if possible, listen to Tom Hiddleston read it to you in The Love Book app.

In addition to inspiring me to read more poetry, the app has also got me started committing poems to memory. So far, I have five of the poems from The Love Book committed to memory. Desiderata, of course, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Whoever Loved that Loved Not at First Sight, To His Coy Mistress & The Invitation. All are really great, but To His Coy Mistress has some really spectacular lines –

Had we but world enough, and time…

But at my back I always hear Time’s winged chariot hurrying near…

And the end which is my favorite:

Thus, though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run.

The latest poem I’ve fallen in love with is a recent addition read by Emma Watson. Just a note here that all of these artists who read the poems have lovely British accents and being the accent junkie I am, I love listening to the poems read with Emma’s posh British accent for example, but all the others are lovely as well. But I digress 🙂

The poem is called The Invitation by Oriah and it is absolutely beautiful. Here is favorite section which is the end.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
What sustains you
From the inside
When all else falls away.
I want to know
If you can be alone
With yourself
And if you truly like
The company you keep
In the empty moments.
>

6 thoughts on “Desiderata

  1. I love His Coy Mistress. My favorite lines are thus:
    “An age at least to every part,
    And the last age should show your heart.
    For, Lady, you deserve this state,
    Nor would I love at lower rate.”

    And, well, I already posted about Desiderata myself so you know how I feel about that one. The Love Book app is the best thing that’s happened to poetry in this age. I am so glad that it’s coming back into the world’s consciousness, especially since I love writing it. And I love the alliteration to cooking and baking. I never thought of it that way. I suppose, by my writing so much myself, I don’t think about the techniques I use. I just try to find the exact words to describe something I want people to feel, that I am experiencing. You are right in that there is more freedom in prose. But I love how it is all art. Great post CJ!

  2. I was singing the 70’s song in my head as I read your portion of Desiderata then. And the poem that Emma Watson has been reading “Invitation by Oriah”, I actually blogged about last month. It is truly beautiful.

    1. I was the same… Like poetry mmm yeah whatever. But there is something about having it read, by someone who knows how to bring it to life, that made me start feeling differently about it.

      But I still don’t always understand all the new ones I have started reading. I have found some new ones though that I really loved – so it is just a process for me.

      And yes! Totally – get the app. 🙂 It’s greatness.

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