Max Ehrmann (September 26, 1872 – September 9, 1945)
Max Ehrmann was born in Terre Haute, Indiana and graduated from De Pauw University, going on to do postgraduate studies in law and philosophy at Harvard University. After practicing law for several years he joined the family business, but retired ten years later to concentrate on writing.
The prose poem “Desiderata” (in Latin meaning: “things desired”) was written in 1927, when he was aged 54. He also often wrote on spiritual themes. It was only in the late 1960s when Desiderata became a cult poem of the new generation, that his work began to be better known.”
Excerpt from: Desiderata by Maz Ehrmann
A Prayer by Max Ehrmann
Let me do my work each day; and if the darkened hours of despair
overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me
in the desolation of other times.
May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over
the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet
river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God
to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.
Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded
moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.
Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be
such as shall keep me friendly with myself.
Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the
stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my
Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever
burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.
And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within
sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for
life, and for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet; and
may the evening’s twilight find me gentle still.
- Max Ehrmann