Desiderata (Latin for: Desired Things)

Newburgh Free Academy celebrated a graduation of nearly 600 students on June 26th, 2014. Congratulation grads! (Photos below)

In years past, the graduation program included among details of award recipients a copy of Max Ehrmann's poem from 1927: Desiderata. The prose in the piece, simple and full of imagery, is enjoyed for its impactful advice and sensible yet universal contemplations about living life. Below we share Ehrmann's words in bold and our young professional's interpretation of the piece conversationally and in italics beneath it in order to show the relevance of the poem in a variety of contexts. Ultimately, don't we all seek the truths that are carried through the centuries? What a joy to find that we are embracing them along the way in some instances instinctively, as well as remaining open to what life may bring. 


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

this evokes the pacificity of an afternoon at the beach nearby the sound of a rolling ocean.

Clarity is gold. Seek it out. 

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

The golden rule.  Harder than it looks, and getting harder.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

A valuble reminder to look beneath the surface during chance encounters.

Treasureful friendships are found there and also, trouble. 

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

Likely this can not be avoided during college, however.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Comparisons are deadly to the spirit, especially in this age of social media.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Enjoy! We plan, god laughs.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Every job will prove valuable if you honor it for what it is and what you can learn from it.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Well noted reminder that you must look for it!and align yourself with it.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Believe in love! Live with an honest and open heart in your dealings with people.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

The art of aging gracefully.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Be steadfast and strong. Do not make decisions in moments of weakness.

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 most powerful line thus far in the piece. Trust in the plan that life has for you. Ride the wave.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. 

Starkness contrived to give room to the inevitability of disappointment.

Yet, landing in a place that is the basi human condition, speaking directly to our mantra:

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata"

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. 

Commands to live by! 

Congratulations grads. The world is wide and wonderful. The future belongs to (each of) you.

Face in the crowd - Hannah Gross - celebrates the end of her academic career at NFA

Victory is sweet!

The blue drape signifies participation in national honor society.


Three cheers to a bright future.