goldmourn (amberdawnpullin) wrote,
goldmourn
amberdawnpullin

"poetry can come from anything"

Scene from Dead Poets Society.

INT. TODD'S ROOM - NIGHT

Todd is pacing circles about his room as he reads his poem. His pacing slows and then he tears the poem up.

INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY

Knox stands at the front of the room with his poem in hand.

KNOX
(quietly)
"To Chris."

Charlie looks up from his desk with a grin.

BOY 1
Who's Chris?

BOY 2
Mmm, Chris.

KNOX
I see a sweetness in her smile.
Blight light shines from her eyes.
But life is complete; contentment is
mine,
Just knowing that...

Several students begin to snicker.

KNOX
just knowing that she's alive.

Knox crumples his poem and walks back to his desk.

KNOX
Sorry, Captain. It's stupid.

KEATING
No, no. It's not stupid. It's a good
effort. It touched on one of the major
themes, love. A major theme not only in
poetry, but life. Mr. Hopkins, you were
laughing. You're up.

Hopkins slowly walks to the front of the class and unfolds
his piece of paper.

HOPKINS
"The cat sat on the mat."

KEATING
Congratulations, Mr. Hopkins. Yours is
the first poem to ever have a negative
score on the Pritchard scale. We're not
laughing at you, we're laughing near
you. I don't mind that your poem had a
simple theme. Sometimes the most
beautiful poetry can be about simple
things, like a cat, or a flower or rain.
You see, poetry can come from anything
with the stuff of revelation in it. Just
don't let your poems be ordinary. Now,
who's next?

Keating approaches Todd's desk.

KEATING
Mr. Anderson, I see you sitting there in
agony. Come on, Todd, step up. Let's put
you out of your misery.

TODD
I, I didn't do it. I didn't write a
poem.

KEATING
Mr. Anderson thinks that everything
inside of him is worthless and
embarrassing. Isn't that right, Todd?
Isn't that your worst fear? Well, I
think you're wrong. I think you have
something inside of you that is worth a
great deal.

Keating walks up to the blackboard and begins to write.

KEATING
"I sound my barbaric yawp over the
rooftops of the world." W. W. Uncle Walt
again. Now, for those of you who don't
know, a yawp is a loud cry or yell. Now,
Todd, I would like you to give us a
demonstration of a barbaric "yawp." Come
on. You can't yawp sitting down. Let's
go. Come on. Up.

Todd reluctantly stands and follows Keating to the front.

KEATING
You gotta get in "yawping" stance.

TODD
A yawp?

KEATING
No, not just a yawp. A barbaric yawp.

TODD
(quietly)
Yawp.

KEATING
Come on, louder.

TODD
(quietly)
Yawp.

KEATING
No, that's a mouse. Come on. Louder.

TODD
Yawp.

KEATING
Oh, good God, boy. Yell like a man!

TODD
(shouting)
Yawp!

KEATING
There it is. You see, you have a
barbarian in you, after all.

Todd goes to return to his seat but Keating stops him.

KEATING
Now, you don't get away that easy.

Keating turns Todd around and points out a picture on the wall.

KEATING
The picture of Uncle Walt up there. What
does he remind you of? Don't think.
Answer. Go on.

Keating begins to circle around Todd.

TODD
A m-m-madman.

KEATING
What kind of madman? Don't think about
it. Just answer again.

TODD
A c-crazy madman.

KEATING
No, you can do better than that. Free up
your mind. Use your imagination. Say the
first thing that pops into your head,
even if it's total gibberish. Go on, go
on.

TODD
Uh, uh, a sweaty-toothed madman.

KEATING
Good God, boy, there's a poet in you,
after all. There, close your eyes. Close
your eyes. Close 'em. Now, describe what
you see.

Keating puts his hands over Todd's eyes and they begin to slowly spin around.

TODD
Uh, I-I close my eyes.

KEATING
Yes?

TODD
Uh, and this image floats beside me.

KEATING
A sweaty-toothed madman?

TODD
A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare
that pounds my brain.

KEATING
Oh, that's excellent. Now, give him
action. Make him do something.

TODD
H-His hands reach out and choke me.

KEATING
That's it. Wonderful. Wonderful.

Keating removes his hands from Todd but Todd keeps his eyes closed.

TODD
And, and all the time he's mumbling.

KEATING
What's he mumbling?

TODD
M-Mumbling, "Truth. Truth is like, like
a blanket that always leaves your feet
cold."

The students begin to laugh and Todd opens his eyes. Keating quickly gestures for him to close them again.

KEATING
Forget them, forget them. Stay with the
blanket. Tell me about that blanket.

TODD
Y-Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it'll
never be enough. You kick at it, beat
it, it'll never cover any of us. From
the moment we enter crying to the moment
we leave dying, it will just cover your
face as you wail and cry and scream.

Todd opens his eyes. The class is silent. Then they begin to clap and cheer.

KEATING
(whispering to Todd)
Don't you forget this.
Tags: excerpts
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