Since I said that I had to remember where I heard it… so I looked it up. I’m glad I did. It’s Walt Whitman rehursed through Robin Williams as Mr. Keating… so this is where the quote appears in my memory:
KEATING: Now, many will argue that nineteenth– century literature has nothing to do with business school or medical school. They think we should read our Field and Pipple, learn our rhyme and meter, and quietly go about it our business of achieving other ambitions.
He slams his hand on the wall behind him. The wall booms like a drum. The boys jump and turn around.
KEATING: (defiant whisper) Well, I say drivel! One reads poetry because he is a member of the human race and the human race is filled with passion! Medicine, Law, Banking-these are necessary to sustain life-but poetry, romance, love, beauty! These are what we stay alive for. I read from Whitman. Oh me, Oh life of the questions of these recurring. Of the endless trains of the faithless of cities filled with the foolish… skipping… What good amid these O me, O life? Answer: That you are here- That life exists and identity That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”
I don’t have the wit or patience for poetry… poetic words usually just stare at me from the page and I only get the most general meanings. Then I see someone else’s passion and give it another try… still don’t see it. Like Sir Benedick, I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms. Much Ado About Nothing 🙂 See now, I get plays. They are less cryptic. As are movies… bringing me back to Dead Poets Society. I love this movie… it puts this whole deep writing thing in a way I can get into. Depressing ending But that just increases the urge to rebel against that mind mold saying a persons life is about achievment… and that’s the point.
w00t! Carpe Diem! Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary!