Desiderata (Latin for "things to be desired") is a 1927 poem by Max Ehrmann, commonly used (often without attribution, or with the false attribution in the next sentence) on inspirational posters. It is usually erroneously believed to date from the 17th century (despite the very modern language and style in which it is written) and to have been found in St. Paul's Church, Baltimore, Maryland, in 1692. This myth arose because the rector of St. Paul's (which was founded in 1692) was in the habit of circulating a flyer of devotional materials to his congregation each Christmas, and in Christmas 1956 that year's flyer included Desiderata. The flyer naturally also gave the date of the church's founding, and many mistook this as the date of the poem.
It is now out of copyright. The full text can be found (amongst other places) here.
Desiderata contains examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Almost as many as Casabianca.
- Stock Aesops: Plenty, including "Be Yourself".
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: "You are a Child of the Universe/No less than the trees or the stars/You have a right to be here."