"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, Dead Poet's Society
This movie. Oh, this movie.
As a lover of poetry, of writing, of words, this movie spoke to a part of my soul that I was too young to know even existed yet within me.
I haven't seen the film in a good long time now, and suddenly have an urge to watch it again, to share it with my children, to want them to understand it. That urge brought on by a commercial, of all things. This commercial.
The first time I saw it, I was moved to tears. I watch it now, for the creation of this post and it speaks to me again. To me, this isn't about a tablet at all, though the marketing is nothing short of brilliant. It is about the words, the way they are woven together, the meaning they carry, the places they urge us to go, the people they insist that we become.
John Keating was an English teacher at a private university in the film, and he used poetry to speak to the hearts and minds of his students. This quote contains a piece of a poem by Walt Whitman, and he used it to challenge them to think more, to love more, to be more.
I endeavor to do the same here with you all today, which is fitting as this series comes to a close.
If I ask it of you, I must be willing to do it myself.
Here goes nothing.
My passion is this, what I do here. Writing. It is an impossible, unrelenting piece of who I am. It is what I am called to do. It is what keeps me awake at night filling my head with ideas and topics and characters and stories. It is what forces me to reveal the things that are hardest to let out. It is what kept me alive in my darkest days. It is what has connected me to people in ways I could have never imagined. It is what has taught me more about myself, about the world, about other people, about my parents and children than anything else ever could have. It gives me a voice. It helps me give voice to others.
My passion is photography, one that I must make more time for. There are few things in the world that bring me more peace than being one with nature, just being surrounded by it, observing it, then taking it and framing it and capturing it so that it may live on again in the images. I love to catch people when they don't know they are being photographed, when they don't know someone is watching them, when they are the most natural and the most amazingly beautiful versions of themselves.
My passion is helping others, particularly women as they embark on the journey of motherhood. To know that I can help someone take ownership of one of the most pivotal times in their lives, that I can hold them up, that I can support them, that I can whisper words of encouragement and love in their ears, that I can sit in the shared silence as the world stops spinning just for a moment before the baby cries, is a gift. I am blessed to do this.
If I can get to the end of my days and know that I have touched someone with these verses, these passions, these loves of mine, my purpose will be fulfilled.
What will your verse be?