"You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here."
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here
Max Ehrmann (1872 – 1945) was an American writer, lawyer, and spiritualist, studying philosophy and law at Harvard University. He lived most of his life in his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, practicing law and working in his family's meat packing plant. "Desiderata" was his most notable work, a poem on simple living. Desiderata is Latin for "something desired," poignant for a humble man who was largely unknown in his lifetime, only achieving fame after his death.
During the same period was an American poet named Robert Frost (1874 – 1963). Popular in his lifetime, Frost was regarded for his depictions of rural life and command of American colloquialism, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes and the Congressional Gold Medal.
Among the works of Frost, "The Road Not Taken," when paired with "Desiderata," achieves a consonance of tranquility. On their own, they stand as great works. In combination, textured by their history, they become a complete work. That is Zen — parity between Eastern and American spiritualism. Just as ancient as it is modern. Christian as it is Buddhist. A treatise on balance; whether a sheep herder or a big firm attorney, one can find relevance.
When desire leads you down a path of suffering, go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
The Road Not Taken
When the path of desire merges with the path of regret, there is only anguish. But do not fear, for further down the road, the path will once again diverge. That is the Way, and knowing how Way leads on to Way ... makes all the difference.
Useful Companions to This Article:
- The Road Not Taken and Other Poems - Robert Frost
- The Poems of Max Ehrmann - Max Ehrmann
- The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong - David Orr