Friday Poem – O Captain! My Captain!


Beautiful poem by Walt Whitman, written to honour Abraham Lincoln, after his assassination, but the phrase “O Captain! My Captain!” is probably most famously dead poet's societyassociated with the amazing film “Dead Poet’s Society”, where Robin Williams’ character suggests:

“O Captain, my Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It’s from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you’re slightly more daring, O Captain! My Captain.”

… and then at the end of the film when they all climb on to the desks calling “O Captain! My Captain!” (love that film, and yes I cried!)

But anyway, here is the poem:

O Captain! My Captain!

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up–for you the flag is flung–for you the bugle trills;      10
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths–for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;      20
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

 

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