Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society by N. H. Kleinbaum Read Free Book Online

Book: Dead Poets Society by N. H. Kleinbaum Read Free Book Online
Authors: N. H. Kleinbaum

    “Amen,” several boys uttered.
    “Sshh!” hissed the others. Cameron continued: I

    “And overthrew them with prophesying
    To the old of the new world s worth;
    For each age is a dream that is dying,
    Or one that is coming to birth.”

    Cameron stopped dramatically. “That was by Arthur O’Shaughnessy, 1844-81.”
    The boys sat quietly. Meeks took the book and leafed through the pages. “Hey, this is great,” he said, and started reading seriously:

    “Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul!”

    “That was W. E. Henley, 1849-1903.”
    “Come on, Meeks,” Pitts scoffed. “You?“
    “What?” Meeks said, his look all surprise and innocence.
    Knox flipped through the book next and suddenly moaned out loud, reading as though to a vision of Chris in the cave. “ ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth...“
    Charlie grabbed the book. “Cool it already, Knox,” he growled.
    The boys laughed. Neil took the book and read to himself for a minute. The boys huddled around the fire that by now was growing dimmer.
    “Sshh,” Neil said, reading deliberately,

    “Come my friends,
    ‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world....
    for my purpose holds
    To sail beyond the sunset... and though
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are ;—
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. ”

    “From ‘Ulysses,’ by Tennyson,” he concluded. The boys grew silent, touched by Neil’s impassioned reading and Tennyson’s statement of purpose.
    Pitts took the book. He started to pound out a Congo rhythm as he read the poem:

    “Fat black bucks in a wine-barrel room,
    Barrel-house kings, with feet unstable,
    Sagged and reeled and pounded on the table,
    Beat an empty barrel with the handle of a broom,
    Hard as they were able,
    Boom, boom, BOOM,
    With a silk umbrella and the handle of a broom,
    Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.
    THEN I had religion, THEN I had a vision.
    I could not turn from their revel in derision.

    As Pitts continued to read, the boys were entranced by the compelling rhythm of the poem. They danced and clowned to the beat, jumping and whooping around. Their gestures grew steadily wilder and more ridiculous and they began to make jungle noises, beating their legs and heads. Pitts continued reading as Charlie led the group, dancing and howling, out of the cave and into the night.
    They danced wildly in the forest, swaying with the tall trees and the howling wind.
    The fire in the cave went out and the forest turned pitch black. The boys stopped dancing, and, as soon as they did, they started to shiver, partly from the cold and partly from the exhilaration they felt from having let their imaginations run free.
    “We’d better get going,” Charlie said. “Before you know it, we’ll have to be in class.”
    They snaked through the woods to a clearing that led back to the Welton campus. “Back to reality,“ Pitts said as they stood facing the campus.
    “Or something,” Neil sighed. They ran quietly to their dorm, slipped out the twig that held the rear door open, and tiptoed to their rooms.

    The next day several of the night revelers yawned as they sat in Mr. Keating’s class. Keating, however, paced vigorously back and forth in front of the room.
    “A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use... ” He snapped his fingers and pointed to a boy.
    “Good!” Keating said with a smile. “Language was invented for one reason, boys—” He snapped his fingers again and pointed to Neil.
    “To communicate?”
    “No,” Keating said. “To woo women. And, in that endeavor, laziness will not do.

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