O Captain, my Captain!

I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out the marrow of life! To put to rout all that was not life! And not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

This is Henry David Thoreau, Walden, as quoted by John Keating, otherwise known as O Captain My Captain, now quoting Whitman.

I’ve been wanting to see Dead Poets Society ever since but I’m stubborn enough to make excuses and occupy myself with other movies. I came about DPS by scrolling through Tumblr (yes, I do have a Tumblr account) almost every day. I seldom see this black and white gif on my dashboard; the movie’s not in black and white, though. Anyway, this man, who four days ago I knew to be John Keating, the founder of Dead Poets Society, was the man in the gif.

Keating: Poetry, beauty, romance, love— these are what we stay alive for. | Words and ideas can change the world. | That the powerful play goes on, and YOU may contribute a verse. | When you read, don’t just consider what the author thinks. Consider what you think.

But only in their dreams can men be truly free,
Twas always thus, and always thus will be.

Oh, to be a student in his poetry class. I’d like to think he’d be able to help me help myself, seeing what he did for Todd Anderson on that day he didn’t write his poetry homework. His teaching ways are unconventional but makes you heart flutter in an enlightened way.

It ‘s just heartbreaking when Neil Perry, right after playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, decided to shut himself off. What’s more heartbreaking is that Keating had to take all the blame, like he sparked a war, a rebellion, when all he did was made the students realize how they, too, could “suck the marrow out of life” by their passions. To become freethinkers, to “gather ye rosebuds while ye may” as Herrick wrote, before they become fertilizers for daffodils. O Captain, my Captain!

Somewhere,
Dyan

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