My favorite quote from Dead Poets Society (with a quote from Walt Whitman)
What will your verse be?
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; 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.” That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” — John Keating (Robin Williams), Dead Poets Society
The “questions of these recurring” in my interpretation represent the questions that we always ask ourselves about our purpose in life. The “endless trains of the faithless” in my interpretation represent those that live their lives aimlessly and sleepwalk through life day after day.
What must we do other than sleepwalk though life? What must we as a human race do when we fail to examine the human condition and forget to live? When we forget to ask the most important questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where do I come from? What is my purpose?
We are here, life exists, and we have an identity with which we must fashion to our own desires.
The verse that Whitman and Robin Williams refer to is the legacy you have to leave in the world. The powerful play refers to the role that we have in our lives to influence others.
We exist in life to find our verse, to find our purpose and we must refuse this one chance we get at life, this one chance we have to get our flame to flicker in fun and fluidity.
So what will your verse be?
Seize the day.