Max Ehrmann in his motivational poem “Desiderata” attempts to offer a positive outlook towards life. The world is often seen to be full of chaos, fraud, hypocrisy, loneliness, misery and drabness. Through this poem, Max Ehrmann tries to inspire people to change their perception of the world as a cruel place and appreciate the beauty of it. He advises his readers to follow certain guidelines that would help them to lead a happy and fruitful life ahead. He asks them to believe in themselves and be content with the kind of person they are. It is crucial to maintain peace within oneself and remain cheerful under adverse circumstances as well. “Desiderata” offers a simple set of values, ethics and morals which are capable of making life much happier, peaceful and meaningful.
Poetic devices of Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
Some of the poetic devices employed by Man Ehrmann in this poem are alliteration and simile.
A simile is a figure of speech in which a likeness between two different things is stated in an explicit way using the words ‘as’ or ‘like’. For instance,
“Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
It is as perennial as the grass.”
Here, love and grass are absolutely two different things that have been compared together. Love is compared to the perennial nature of the grass. It is meant to suggest the idea that like grass love grows on its own unconditionally and selflessly. The implication is that when life becomes arid and monotonous, love will support people like the grass that grows throughout the year.
Alliteration is the close repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words. For instance,
“Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.”