To Stand upon a Desk

To stand upon a desk,

To look for new perspectives,

To seek out marrow,

To yawp with sweaty toothed madmen,

To look for a place that is my own,

To make a place that is my own,

To dare to be myself,

To question burdensome authority,

To resist those who believe they should define my thoughts for me,

To stand upon a desk,

To find my own perspective,

To seek beauty out,

To dare to care about the things that make life beautiful,

To question,

To seek,

To look,

To dream,

To stand upon a desk,

To see new things,

To see in new ways,

To find a verse,

To find my verse,

To speak my verse,

To find courage

To stand upon a desk

When authority says to sit down,

These are things he showed me how to do.

Thank you, Mr. Keating.

Thank you, O Captain.

Thank you, Mr. Williams.

– – – – –

It seems strange to miss a man I never met. But I do. I feel a loss. Which is foolish. But he brought me something for which I never thanked him. I am sorry for that. I did not foresee this affecting me this deeply. I do not understand it. I suspect I never will.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
—Henry David Thoreau

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 (actually Tom Schulman, but in my head it is John Keating)

So find a desk to stand on. Look around. See things differently. Don’t walk with the crowd. Find your own voice. Be more.

 Thank you, Mr. Keating. Thank you.

4 Responses to “To Stand upon a Desk”

  1. Verily

  2. A well contributed verse Sir.

  3. burtonbaby Says:

    It is amazing the laughter one man could bring around. He could cure the most dark of souls if you were only so willing to listen and see.

  4. Sir, I saw your August 5th post. I hope things are better. If you need to talk, I would gladly listen. You are not alone. I’ve faced a few demons myself. Please email me if it will help. You’ve helped me find a safe place to explore my true nature. I’m grateful for the intelligent advice. Thank you.

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