Since the tragic death of Robin Williams, I have embraced the sheer talent he brought to the world by watching just a few of his many films. 'Dead Poet's Society' is a film starring Williams that, until a few days ago, I had never watched, however after seeing so many clips of it emerge in recent weeks, I knew it would be something special.
The film tells the tale of John Keating (played by Williams), an English teacher at a strict, conservative boys prep school who inspires his students beyond the classroom through his art of teaching poetry. Whilst a part of me is aching to write a review of this truly wonderful film, what matters more to me is trying to put into words the inspiration and excitement that this film has given me.
'Carpe diem,' says Keating, the first time he ever teaches the boys. He tells them to seize the day, make their lives extraordinary and follow the legacy of their former students. It struck me when watching this that I have recently finished my thirteen years of school education, and never was I once told to seize the day. Of course, I had teachers that inspired me and whose messages I will keep with me for the rest of my life, but still, carpe diem is something that was never really emphasized.
I'm not blaming them, in fact I'm not blaming anyone. We live in a word where rigid syllabus' and league tables unfortunately have to take priority over messages that will see us through the entirety of our lives. And no, this is not a rant about teaching methods, it is rather a celebration of the film's uplifting words.
What resonated so much with me were the words:
"We don't 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.'
Passion. That is why I write. I have a complete and utter passion for the written word, for painting a delicate and elaborate painting with each word, for telling stories, for expressing myself in the most enjoyable way I know how. 'Dead Poet's Society' reminded me of this love, and it was thinking about Keating's message yesterday that I spontaneously purchased two books of poetry: 'Love Poems' by Carol Ann Duffy and 'One Hundred Favourite Poems' from Classic FM readers. Do I read much poetry? Not particularly, no. But what lit the flame of my desire to start reading it again was Keating's reminder of how magically and uniquely each poem presents passions in life.
Something even as simple as the final lines from Carol Ann Duffy's poem, 'Hour':
'Time hates love, wants love poor,
but love spins gold, gold, gold from straw.'
presents both the challenges and victories of love: how there never seems enough hours in the day for people in love to be together, but when they do, they can make magical memories from the smallest, and simplest things.
But I will draw away from the poetry side of things before this soon becomes an English essay. What I ultimately want to express is the powerful messages of 'Dead Poet's Society,' messages left me feeling so moved that I just want to get up and seize the day (I say whist blogging in my pyjama's). 'Dead Poet's Society' projects the ideas of finding your voice, doing what makes you happy, living for the beauty that today offers and gives, possibly my favourite words of the entire film:
'That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?'
In these words, human existance is a play and each life gives a verse to the play. Whilst I don't yet know what my verse will entirely consist of, 'Dead Poet's Society' and Robin William's portrayal of John Keating has inspired me to seize every opportunity and make my verse the fullest and abundant in happiness that it can be.
Has anything inspired you recently? x