“Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.”
(Seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow)
– Horace (Tu ne quaesieris)
“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”
– Kurt Vonnegut (God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater)
“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…
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.”
– Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
“The only people for me are the mad ones. the ones who are mad to live,
mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time,
the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing,
but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding
like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue candlelight pop
and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”
– Jarc Kerouac (On the Road)
“Man’s dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once,
and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years,
never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past;
so live that, dying he might say:
all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world
– the fight for the Liberation of Mankind.”
– Nikolai Ostrovsky (How the Steel was Tempered)
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain
“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…
Poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
“‘…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 (Dead Poets Society)
“I have known many graduates of Bryn Mawr. They are all of the same mold.
They have all accepted the same bright challenge:
something is lost that has not been found,
something’s at stake that has not been won,
something is started that has not been finished,
something is dimly felt that has not been fully realized.
They carry the distinguishing mark…: the incredible vigor, the subtlety
of mind, the warmth of spirit, the aspiration, the fidelity to past and to present.
As they grow in years, they grow in light. As their minds and hearts expand,
their deeds become more formidable, their connections more significant…
I once held a live hummingbird in my hand. I once married a Bryn Mawr girl.
To a large extent they are twin experiences.
Sometimes I feel as though I were a diver who had ventured a little beyond
the limits of safe travel under the sea and had entered the strange zone
where one is said to enjoy the rapture of the deep.”
– E.B. White
“The Flapper awoke from her lethargy of sub-deb-ism, bobbed her hair,
put on her choicest pair of earrings and a great deal of audacity
and rouge and went into the battle. She flirted because it was fun to flirt
and wore a one-piece bathing suit because she had a good figure,
she covered her face with powder and paint because she didn’t need it
and she refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.
She was conscious that the things she did were the things she had always
wanted to do. Mothers disapproved of their sons taking the Flapper to dances,
to teas, to swim and most of all to heart. She had mostly masculine friends,
but youth does not need friends – it needs only crowds.”
– Zelda Fitzgerald
the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all,
it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time…
For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars…
And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined our street…
Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper…
And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird…
And Janie… And Janie… And… Carolyn.
I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me…
but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world.
Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much,
my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst…
And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it,
and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude
for every single moment of my stupid little life…
You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure.
But don’t worry… you will someday.