Carpe Diem

Meaning of “Carpe Diem”

The phrasecarpe diem” originally means “seize the day.” It is a Latin phrase often used by pedantic scholars. Carpe means “pluck”. In the literal sense, Carpe Diem means “pluck the day when it is ripe.” Surprisingly, Carpe Diem is also one of the most popular searches on Google.

It is typically used in the sense of enjoying the moment without thinking of the future or consequences. It usually is an idea of taking a step ahead rather than overthinking about the results.

Origin of “Carpe Diem”

The phrase “carpe diem” happens to be written by the poet Horatius Flaccus who lived in 65BC. He is also popularly known as Horace.

The phrase is translated as: “While we’re talking, envious time is fleeing: pluck the day, put no trust in the future.”

The term occurs in his Book-1 comprising odes in which it goes as to mean “pluck the day” not trust the future as it may never arrive. Although most of the writers have quoted the original phrase, Lord Byron has used it in his letters published in 1830 as; “I never anticipate, – carpe diem – the past at least is one’s own.”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Carpe Diem by Steward Conn

From my study window
I see you
below in the garden, a hand
here pruning
or leaning across to snip
a wayward shoot;

a daub of powder-blue in a
profusion of green,
then next moment, you are
no longer there –
only to reappear, this time
perfectly framed

in dappling sunlight, with
an armful of ivy
you’ve trimmed, topped by
hyacinth blooms,
fragrant survivors of last
night’s frost.

And my heart misses a beat
at love for you,
knowing a time will come
when you are
no longer there, nor I here
to watch you

on a day of such simplicity.
Meantime let us
make sure we clasp each
shared moment
in cupped hands, like water
we dare not spill.

The poet has beautifully presented the carpe diem moment in this poem. He looks at his beloved pruning and cleaning her garden from his study window, and he relishes this moment. He advises her to do the same and enjoy this moment by clasping his hand as if they have water in the cup that they dare not spill out. He implies that they should have a ‘carpe diem’ moment, not caring about the future. Therefore, the phrase encourages the readers to enjoy our present rather than giving way to worries about the future.

Example #2

Carpe Diem by Green Day

Breaking in a sweat
Like a bomb threat
Is your silhouette fading out?
Nothing left to lose
Detonate the fuse
Another breaking news blowout

Ain’t it beautiful?
So unusual
Life’s a gas and it’s running out
Living a cliche
Gonna seize the day
Bottle rockets and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate

Carpe diem, a battle cry
Are we all too young to die?
Ask a reason and no reply
Are we all too young to die?

The first stanza describes the moment of a bomb blast that becomes breaking news, while the second stanza questions whether the transience of life is a beautiful moment or not. However, the third stanza answers this question in an oblique manner, explaining that the first two incidents show the transience of life that points to the fact that we should enjoy the moment. It rather should be our battle cry.

Example #3

Carpe Diem by Mick Peterson

This is the third book in the trilogy of the Hillsdale Hillmen’s soccer team which has created history in this story on account of its coach, Ben Reynolds, who faced great obstacles and odds in the shape of Bubba Brown and other colleagues. However, the team rises to his expectations every time he coaches them. The boys respond to him with a clear goal of coming at the top. In fact, the title demonstrates the enthusiasm of the boys, showing its actual meanings through this long metaphorical tale.

Example #4

Carpe Diem: A Colorado Story of Friendships and Love by Dennis Weise

This is the story of three friends, Walt, Ian, and Earl who are on the outdoor adventure with a group where Walt suggests repeating  ‘Carp Diem,’ instead of discussing their worries and anxieties. He thinks that it is good for them that they are alive and kicking and that they are quite hale and hearty. Others join them in this discussion and the group enjoys it quite well. The title of the novel resonates through the story of these friends portraying its literal meanings.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Donny is a perfect example of living life the carpe diem way. He makes everyone happy.”

Example #2: “John Abraham was smiling like it was a carpe diem moment for him after five years of hard work.”

Example #3: “Most of my friends are the carpe diem kind. However, I mostly do not take part in their merriments, as I think that the moment is precious for me to work hard and reach my ultimate goal in studies.”

Example #4: “You must not take the liberty of your freedom as if it is carpe diem for you.”

Example #5: “If you hold yourself back after tasting the success, you can never enjoy carpe diem. Yes, staying grounded is good too.”