How is Max Ehrmann’s famous poem ‘Desiderata’ a didactic poem?
A didactic poem is a morally instructional piece of verse. Max Ehrmann’s poem offers a a code for life emphasizing tolerance, inclusion and optimism. The poem is full of wise sayings and gentle guidance. The reader is urged to find peace within themselves, and project this inner peace in their dealings with the world. We see the poem endorsing an attitude to accept the world in all its entirety, with all its contrasts.
Moreover, the lines of the poem start with verbs like ‘Go’, ‘Speak’, ‘Listen’, ‘Avoid’, ‘Enjoy’, ‘Keep’, ‘Exercise’ and so on, making the poem a set of instructions for a better life. So ‘Desiderata’ is a didactic poem both in its theme and presentation.
Didactic poem is a poem which is designed to teach people something.
There is no doubt that the poem imparts to us some valuable advice. It highlights the virtue of inner peace and poise, honesty, individuality and the such other ideals of life. There is no doubt that our world is noisy and troublesome place to live in. There is lot of pretence, trickey and disillusionment here. People are out to trample one other in the rat race of endless ambitions. In the walk of so much negativity we need spiritual strength to survive. We need to remember:
With all its sham , drudgery , and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
Desiderata is a didactic poem as it intends to teach a moral lesson on life. It tries to delineate several positive ways to look at life.
For example :
- Avoid loud and aggressive people.
- Speak your truth quietly and clearly
- Be yourself.
- Keep interested in your own career.
- Take kindly the counsel of the years.