"Desiderata" means "things wanted or needed." In the context of the poem, the speaker is sharing with his readers what he desires them to do in the form of directives such as "Go placidly amid the noise and haste" and "Avoid loud and aggressive persons." We may assume these desires for the reader are desires the speaker has for himself, in order to live a "cheerful" and "happy" life.
In order to find happiness, the speaker suggests to his readers that they stay firm in their convictions but do so in a gentle way: "Speak your truth quietly and clearly." Much of the poem focuses on not drawing a lot of attention to yourself; rather, joy can be found in being "humble" and avoiding "compar[ing] yourself with others." The speaker also urges us to put our faith in a master plan we do not understand, as "no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."
While words of advice are given, caution is also shared, because "the world is full of trickery" and "sham, drudgery, and broken dreams."...
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