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Desiderata (Latin: "desired things", plural of desideratum) is a prose poem by German-American writer Max Ehrmann. It exhorts the reader to "be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be", and to "keep peace with your soul". "With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams," wrote Ehrmann, "it is still a beautiful world."
The text, largely unknown in the author's lifetime, came to the attention of the public first for its usage in a church hymnal which dated it, mistakenly, to the 17th century, then for its being found on the bedside table of Adlai Stevenson upon his death in 1965.
The poem was actually written in 1927. In approximately 1959, the Reverend Frederick Kates, rector of Saint Paul's Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of devotional materials he compiled for his congregation. At the top of the handout was the notation: "Old Saint Paul's Church, Baltimore A.D. 1692." In the 1960s, the poem was widely circulated with the claim that it had been found in Baltimore, Maryland's Saint Paul's Church, and that it had been written by an anonymous author in 1692, the year of the founding of Saint Paul's.
When Adlai Stevenson died in 1965, a guest in his home found a copy of Desiderata near his bedside and discovered that Stevenson had planned to use it in his Christmas cards. The publicity that followed lent widespread fame to the poem, and to the poem's connection with Saint Paul's Church of Baltimore.
On August 26, 2010, a bronze statue of Max Erhmann sitting on a park bench was unveiled in Terre Haute, Indiana, his hometown, with the sculpture done by Bill Wolfe. On a nearby walkway, some lines of the poem are also available to be read by passersby.-taken from wikipedia