The Desiderata of Picture Framers

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The Picture Framer’s Desiderata

Work placidly amid the pressing orders and demanding deadlines, cheerfully making picture frames, and remember what contentment there may be in framing what Customers cherish and love.

As far as possible, without surrender or resentment, be cordial and on good terms with all Customers.

If wronged, speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to your Customers, even to the overbearing and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Be prudent, distance yourself from avaricious and demanding Customers; they are vexatious to the spirit.

Compare not yourself with other picture framers, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser framers than yourself.

Enjoy your craft and achievements, as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own occupation, however humble; it is a real possession in the ever-changing fortunes of time.

Adopt caution in your picture framing affairs, for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what honesty and virtue there is; many framers strive for high standards, and everywhere life is full of caring and integrity.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign integrity nor sincerity. Neither be cynical about honesty; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly your accumulated picture framing experience and 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 dark imaginings. Many fears and failures are born of fatigue, depression or loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a picture framer, 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, the Master Picture Framer, or whomsoever you conceive Him or Her to be.

And whatever your anxieties, labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of work and 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.


The Picture Framer’s Desiderata above is a variation of the original prose poem detailed below. Desiderata is the plural of the Latin noun desideratum, meaning something desirable, or that which is desirable.  Etymologically it is the neuter nominative singular of dēsīderātus, the passive past participle of the verb dēsīderāre ( to desire ).

The text of the Picture Framer’s Desiderata herein was inspired by and derives from, the original, 1927 “Desiderata” by the American poet and writer Max Ehrmann  ( b.1872  d.1945 ).  It first gained the public’s attention in 1956 when Reverend Frederick Kates, the rector of Saint Paul’s Church in Baltimore, Maryland, included the poem in a collection of devotional readings for his congregation.

The poem’s copyright was originally registered by the author in 1927 and later renewed by his widow, Bertha K. Ehrmann, in 1954.  It then became more widely known from 1942 onwards when the author permitted Dr Charles Moore, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, to distribute copies of the poem to patients and convalescent soldiers.

In 1948,  Ehrmann’s widow commissioned the Bruce Humphries Publishing Company, of Boston to publish “The Poems of Max Ehrmann”  which included Desiderata. In 1967, Robert L. Bell, acquired the publishing rights from the publishing company, and later, the copyrights from Richard Wright, nephew and heir to Ehrmann’s works.

In 1971, the poem was published in Success Unlimited magazine, without permission from R.L. Bell. In a 1976 lawsuit against the magazine’s publisher, Combined Registry Co., the U.S. Courts ruled that the copyright had lapsed and could not be enforced because the poem had been published without copyright notices during the 1940’s, thus, and effectively making the poem’s contents, public domain.

And, as you are passing by …

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