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.