Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams, in memorium, 2014

"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?"

--From Robin Williams' amazing role in "Dead Poets Society, 1989."

 The Powerful Play Goes On

I was never good enough for starring
roles, for characters with names
other than 'ensemble' or 'chorus'.
There is no shame in it now, and no pain
in waiting for my cues from the wings, though once
I thought I might die from the wanting. How
Shakespearean! How dramatic! I envied,
not the cheerleaders, but the Thespians.
The funny girls. The self-assured boys. My voice
was used to blend and smooth the sharp edged divas, lit
with their own burning desires and a follow
me spot. I am older now and rarely even sing
for myself, but my voice is still sure. If I could write
a new play for the past, I would give myself
a speaking role, something quiet, something simple, not
to upstage the leads, but to softly harmonize,
so no one had to carry the show alone. So
no one has to carry the show alone.

--LJ Cohen, August 12, 2014

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