Dead Poets Society is a wonderful film, obviously filled with a lot of references to English and American poetry. In this scene, John Keating (Robin Williams) teaches his pupils the reason for reading and writing poetry, quoting Whitman’s Leaves of Grass:
O ME! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish; Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?) Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d; Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me; Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined; The question, O me! so sad, recurring—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 will contribute a verse. . .
AND JUST WHAT IS YOUR VERSE. . . ?
Sometimes I feel
like an unfinished poem
Looking for just the right
word or phrase
Sometimes I feel the most
incomplete without a final punctuation mark
searching for a word
It doesn’t exist or come from me
Oh how you bring what
I don’t possess but desperately need
before the paper blows away
and the ink runs low
or the pencil point breaks
Finish me so we can start
a new verse worthy of the both of us