Monday, March 06, 2006

On Poetry

"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

6 Comments:

Anonymous Korpinsilmä said...

Great that you give so much
space to _The Dead Poets Society_!
The movie is excellent - one of
my all time favourites - and
although I haven't read the book
itself up to date I guess I
should since books are rarely
worse than their filmatizations...

9:14 am  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Hi Korpinsilmä,

_Dead Poets Society_ is one of my all time favorites too.

Kleinbaum's book is actually based on the movie (which is written by Tom Schulman). Sometimes it goes this way :-)

T.

11:18 am  
Anonymous Joan said...

So the book is based on the movie? That's interesting. Dead Poet's Society is one of my very very favorites, too! Thanks for sharing these lines and refreshing our memories.

3:13 am  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Hi Joan,

yeah, this time the book is based on the movie. Unusual but true.

5:29 pm  
Anonymous Petri said...

I LOVED _DPS_ when it came out in 1989, but I recall it was oooh sooo sentimental that I don't dare to rent it anymore.

Sometimes I feel I need to control the amount of sentiment I can bear. Things get ridiculous for me at a certain point. I think this movie just bordered on that point most of the time. But yeah, who can argue against the message...

Besides, I just can't stand Robin Williams. I can't remember a single movie I would have liked him in (Mrs. Doubtfire -- just shoot me rather than have me watch that kind of crap). But that's my problem. :)

6:52 pm  
Blogger Tapio Kotkavuori said...

Hi Petri,

ha ha... I can (sort of) relate to your problem. Reading that from YOU made me chuckle :-)

I generally think that Robin Williams is a great actor. Too many of his films are wasting his true talents (from my preference's point of view).

When it comes to those of his movies that I have enjoyed his skills in besides _DPS_, I would like to mention _Bird Cage_ and _One Hour Photo_. But his absolute best performance has been in the _DPS_ in my record. No doubt :-)

11:27 PM

11:28 pm  

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