Dead Poets Society
Peter Weir
What's your verse?

Steven: I'll try anything once.

Dalton: Yeah, except sex.

Keating: Now I'd like you to step forward over here. They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? --- Carpe --- hear it? --- Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

Keating: O Captain, my Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you're slightly more daring, O Captain my Captain.

Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Keating: No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

Keating: 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?

Neil: I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all 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.

McAllister: You take a big risk by encouraging them to become artists, John. When they realize they're not Rembrandts, Shakespeares, or Mozarts, they'll hate you for it.

Keating: We're not talking artists, George. We're talking free thinkers.

McAllister: Free thinkers at seventeen?

Keating: Funny, I never pegged you as a cynic.

McAllister: Not a cynic, a realist. Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams and I'll show you a happy man.

Keating: But only in their dreams can men be truly free. T'was always thus and always thus will be.

McAllister: Tennyson?

Keating: No, Keating.

Hopkins: The cat sat on the mat.

Keating: Congratulations, Mr. Hopkins, yours is the first poem to have a negative score on the Pritchard scale. We're not laughing at you. We're laughing near you. I don't mind that your poem had a simple theme. Sometimes the most beautiful poetry can be about simple things, like a cat or a flower or rain. Poetry can come from anything with the stuff of revelation in it. Just don't let your poems be ordinary.

Keating: A man is not "very tired". He is exhausted. Don't use "very sad." Use, come on Mr. Overstreet, you twerp.

Knox: Morose?

Keating: Exactly. "Morose." Language was developed for one endeavor, and that is, Mr. Anderson. Come on, are you a man or an amoeba? Mr. Perry.

Neil: Uh, to communicate?

Keating: Nooo!! To woo women!

Todd: Why don't you just call him and ask him and maybe he'll say yes.

Neil: That's a laugh. If I don't ask him, at least I won't be disobeying him.

Gerard: "O to struggle against great odds, to meet enemies undaunted."

Keating: Sounds to me like you're daunted. Say it again like you're undaunted!

Gerard: "O to struggle against great odds, to meet enemies undaunted."

Keating: Go on, next!

?: "To be a sailor of the world. Bound for all parts."

Keating: Louder!

?: "Oh to live to be the ruler of life, not a slave! To mount the scaffold! To advance to the muzzles of guns with perfect nonchalance!"

Keating: Come on Meeks, listen to the music.

Steven: "To dance, clap hands, exult, shout, skip, roll on, float on!"

Keating: Yes!

?: "Oh to have life henceforth the poem of new joys."

Keating: Aw boo. Come on Charlie, let it fill your soul!

Charles: "To indeed be a God!"

Todd: Truth is like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold. You push it, stretch it, it'll never be enough. Kick at it, beat it, it'll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying, to the moment we leave dying, it'll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.

Keating: Now we all have a great need for acceptance, but you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular. Even though the heard may go " That's bad." Robert Frost said, " Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference." I want you to find your own walk right now, your own way of striding, pacing: any direction, anything you want. Whether it's proud or silly. Anything. Gentlemen, the courtyard is yours. You don't have to perform. Just make it for yourself. Mr. Dalton, will you be joining us?

Charles: Exercising the right not to walk.

Keating: Thank you, Mr. Dalton. You just illustrated the point. Swim against the stream.

Neil: Todd, I think you're underestimating the value of this desk set. I mean who would want a football or a baseball?

Todd: Or a car?

Neil: Or a car, if they could have a desk set as wonderful or this one? If I were ever going to buy a desk set, twice, I would probably buy this one, both times. In fact, it's shape is rather aerodynamic, isn't it? You can feel it. This desk set wants to fly. Todd, the world first unmanned flying desk set.

Charles: Welton Academy, hello. Yes he is, hold on. Mr. Nolan, it's for you. It's God. He says we should have girls at Welton.

Nolan: John, the curriculum here, as set, has proven it works. If you question it, what's to prevent them from doing the same?

Keating: I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.

Keating: Mr. Dalton. That was a pretty lame stunt you pulled today.

Charles: You're siding with Mr. Nolan? What about carpe diem and "Sucking all the marrow?"

Keating: "Sucking all the marrow out of life" doesn't mean choking on the bone. There's a time for daring and there is a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.

Charles: But I thought you'd like that.

Keating: No. You being expelled from school is not daring to me, it's stupid. Because you'll miss some golden opportunities.

Charles: Like what?

Keating: Like, if nothing else, the opportunity to attend my classes. Got it ace?

Charles: Aye, aye captain.

Keating: Keep your head about you. That goes for the lot of you.

Charles: Yes captain.

Keating: A phone call from God. If it'd been collected, that would have been daring.