Max Ehrmann, In my House

I may come under fire for doing this but that won’t be an unusual happening. Instead of writing something serious (as I am in the mood to pretend that all is fine) I decided to take one of my favourite poems, and add to it – house hold appliances, rooms etc. So throw vegetables at me if you will, but this is my attempt at getting a smile or two out of you all. Feel free to join me just for the silliness of it.

Go placidly in the bath,
amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be,
in the oven, in silence. As far as possible,
without surrender, be on good terms
with all persons and the family pot plants.

Speak your truth quietly in the shower,
and clearly; and listen to others by the sink,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story on a fridge magnet.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons in the laundry
room; they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others on the driveway,
you may become vain or bitter, for always there
will be greater and lesser persons than
yourself using the George Foreman Griller.

Enjoy your achievements on the stairwell
as well as your plans for the lavatory.
Keep interested in your own career
with the dust buster, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing
fortunes of time, inside that white picket fence.

Exercise caution when the cat’s in your
business affairs, for the world is full of
trickery in the shape of kitchen appliances.
But let this not blind you to what virtue
there is in tin foil; many persons strive
for high ideals, and everywhere life is full
of heroism when the potato peeler is held in both hands.

Be yourself, especially before a swim.
Especially, do not feign affection, because chlorine
is not eco-friendly. Neither be cynical about love on
a deck chair; for in the face of all aridity
and disenchantment, it is as perennial
as the grass that grows next to the umbrella.

Take kindly the counsel of the years as
dictated by the coat hanger, gracefully
surrendering the things of youth
while you arrange the lounge rug.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you
in sudden misfortune when the hinges
on the cupboards come off. But do not
distress yourself with dark imaginings about
frozen goods. Many fears are born of fatigue
and loneliness when too much time is
spent in the flowerbeds.

Beyond a wholesome discipline with the knives,
be gentle with yourself, and the chopping board.
You are a child of the universe of recipe books
no less than the trees and the stars that
are stuck to the ceiling with gum;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you in the haze
of mosquito repellent, no doubt the universe
is unfolding as it should on your dining
room floor. Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be, in
whatever part of the house you are in.

And whatever your labors and aspirations to
be Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey, in the noisy confusion
of life behind the washing machine, keep peace
in your soul, by wearing earphones and
listening to Herbie Hancock. With all its sham,
drudgery and broken dreams in the waste basket,
it is still a beautiful world when you ignore the cigarette burns.
Be cheerful, like the milkman..
Strive to be happy, like the bitch who lives next door.

Max Ehrmann, in my house, “Desiderata”

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