Seize The Day

flame lily 6.1-32

Do you remember the movie “Dead Poet’s Society?” Do you remember the moment when John Keating (Robin Williams) gathers his students around an old tarnished photograph of a group of past students and says:

“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 then quotes from Robert Herrick’s poem, “To The Virgins to Make Much of Time” – ‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” For him the whole poem is interpreted within the context of what he has just said to his students. Here’s the first verse:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying
And this same flower that smiles to-day
Tomorrow will be dying.

And then in the second verse he continues the theme of time passing by using the movement of the sun through the day.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the Sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may”  /  “And nearer he’s to setting” – so true, but what are the rosebuds we gather? In our youth are they not the many “dashings around” and “graspings” of experiences we deem to be success; whereas at three o’ clock in the afternoon, when the sun is far closer to setting, the dashings and the graspings on the peripheries of life begin to ease, and we slip gently in to life’s depths and deeper meanings.

It has certainly been my experience.



About Don

I love life. Sometimes it makes sense, other times not. Discerning its underlying patterns and beauty always provides great reward and meaning and is a passion I ineptly follow. I feel deeply attached to nature and love the sea with its distinct moods and colour and find walking along its beaches wonderfully inspiring. Writing, sketching and photography is a sheer joy for me and the blog is one of the places I am able to express these pursuits.
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26 Responses to Seize The Day

  1. Slip more gently? I’m not sure. It seems to me that time is running out, the sun is setting, and that I have to ‘sieze the day’ with even more urgency than in my teenage years.Then, I was immortal and invincible – now I am an orphan and, I am, as a friend puts it, nearer the top of the tree. I need to ‘gather the rose buds while I may!”

    Thank you for another thought provoking post. I always enjoy coming here. I hope you and yours are okay. 🙂


  2. Don says:

    All well thank you. You gather rosebuds so well. I’ve seen that in your blog. You certainly live a very full and creative life and what a joy that must be. Beyond the top of the tree there’s the space and magnificence of the sky. Don’t quite know what that means, but it’s strangely hopeful. Thank you for your comment.


  3. nrhatch says:

    Wonderful thoughts, Don. I’m not sure whether resignation, apathy, or exhaustion play a role . . . but I’m definitely less intent on gathering rosebuds these days. I’m happy just to smell their fragrance sweet.


    • Don says:

      You know Nancy, you’ve got something there. Perhaps that’s precisely it – no more gathering, grasping, owning, just smelling the fragrance. What did William Blake say: “He who binds to himself a joy does the winged life destroy. He who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity’s sunrise …”


  4. Or as my daddy used to quote, Youth is wasted on the young. Good post.


  5. I’m treasuring the awareness of gentler depths and deeper meanings that seem to be emerging at this 3 o’clock hour…hmmm?…carpe diem?….maybe it’s only 2:30?


  6. julespaige says:

    I actually read an interesting article on roses…they actually smell differently at different stages of development as well as at different times of the day. While there must be quite a bit of time and effort into making perfumes – I still think they are over priced and prefer fresh washing off the line on a summers’ day. And while some products say they mimic that – I just don’t quite believe they can. Perhaps it is because I am also mixing in the sent of a freshly cut lawn or the butterfly bushes in my yard…


  7. Don says:

    Nothing like the smell of freshly cut lawn. Very interesting comments about roses. Thank you.


  8. katy says:

    The dictionary says to seize is take something forcibly, even violently. . .. I much prefer Mother Teresa,s take on time. Yesterday is gone, Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin.” It motivates me and inspires but it,s probably and age thing. I,m sure I did plenty of seizing in days of yore!!


    • Don says:

      Your right Katy. To seize does have a kind of a forceful dimension about it. I too certainly did a lot of seizing, “in days of yore. Thank you for the insight.


  9. ladyfi says:

    Although I miss the invincibility of youth, I’m glad of the wisdom that comes with experience.


  10. Don, this such a profound post and well written! I much prefer the afternoon years, minus the aches and pains – though even these are messengers reminding me to live well each hour as the sunset is fast approaching.

    Blessings ~ Wendy


  11. Definitely true and I don’t regret the opportunities I seized when I was younger but I thoroughly enjoy finding the deeper meaning in life, relationships and love now.


    • Don says:

      I think that’s the secret, being able to integrate both these parts of our lives. You’ve obviously done this and that’s wonderful. Thanks for sharing.


  12. I LOVED that film – a great reminder, thanks 🙂


  13. DEAD POETS SOCIETY is one of my favorites, Don, but it’s been a long time since I’ve watched it. Your post was a wonderful reminder, and the excerpts perfectly chosen to encourage new interest.
    Thank you.


  14. Don says:

    Thanks Marilyn. Glad you experienced it as a reminder.


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