“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. 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?” – Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society
They say comedians lead the saddest lives. That’s a bit of information that I find hard to accept but I can easily imagine.
Hollywood lost a superb actor today. Someone who inspired a lot of us. I saw Dead Poets Society in 1996. I was in Kindergarten and I already loved reading, writing, and composing stories and poems as best as a 6 year old could. I would tell my mother stories I made up with the use of my imagination. Sometimes I would act them out as spelling the ‘hard words’ was still kind of a chore for a tiny kid. But right then and there, after seeing that movie, I knew I wanted to read and write for the rest of my life. Because nothing is more noble and more fulfilling than sharing ideas, feelings, and beauty through words.
He was Patch Adams. He was the Genie. He was Mrs Doubtfire. He was Mork, Teddy, and Airman Second Class Adrian Cronauer. But to me, Williams (who didn’t come up with that quote up there himself but gave so much life to it) will always be John Keating who had so much praise for language – for words and how we use them. Someone who recognised the power of words and asked the question a lot of us try to answer in our everyday lives: What will your verse be?