My favourite poem has always been Desiderata by Max Ehrmann.
I have copied it out into the front of every paper diary I have kept since I discovered the poem at the age of 11. I remember distinctly the way I felt the first time that I read it and every time I read it, it makes me feel the same way. Inspired, comforted.
I'm not a fan of organised religion. I believe that it seggregates us as a species instead of bringing us together. It inspires war instead of peace, it causes conflict instead of bringing comfort. It causes confusion when archaic rituals and beliefs are applied to a modern world which religion refuses to evolve with. No religion will lead the world successfully in any venture except war as long as commandments are used to judge, exclude, punish and inspire evangelical schemes against those who do not comply. Religion was the first form of fascism.
I have much respect for the power of faith and I have plenty of friends who choose to have beliefs which have a positive effect on them. I believe that people should be able to believe whatever they want to, but I don't believe that people should do some of the things that they do in the name of their faith. It seems that there is just no room for rationality when it comes to religion.
Personally I think if every person thought of a way to contribute to the world in a positive way then we'd have a better shot at unity.
When I become a mother, I will be reading Desiderata to my children instead of the bible.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
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. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
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.
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 in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.
Title: Somebody Up There Likes Me by David Bowie