Art by Roland Winkhart
"Yes, sir," Pitts said. He cleared his throat.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, / Old time is still a flying: / And this same flower that smiles today, / Tomorrow will be dying".
He stopped. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may," Keating repeated. "The Latin term for that sentiment is carpe diem. Does anyone know what that means?" "Carpe diem," Meeks, the Latin scholar, said. "Seize the day." Very good, Mr....?" "Meeks." "Seize the day," Keating repeated. "Why does the poet write these lines?" "Because he's in a hurry? one student called out as the others snickered. "No, no, no! It´s because we're food for worms, lads!" Keating shouted. "Because we're only going to experience a limited number of springs, summers, and falls." "One day, hard as it is to believe, each and every one of us is going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die!"
"This is battle, boys," he cried. "War! You are souls at a critical juncture. Either you will succumb to the will of academic hoi polloi, and the fruit will die on the vine - or you will triumph as individuals.
"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!
"He paced in front of the class. "And don't limit poetry to the word. Poetry can be found in music, a photograph, in the way a meal is prepared - anything with the stuff of revelation in it. It can exist in the most everyday things but it must never, never be ordinary. By all means, write about the sky or a girl's smile, but when you do, let your poetry conjure up salvation day, doomsday, any day. I don't care, as long as it enlightens us, thrills us and - if it's inspired - makes us feel a bit immortal."
- From N.H. Kleinbaum's Dead Poets Society