Friday Poetry: O Captain! My Captain!

I’m sure every teacher has watched Dead Poets Society. I used to watch it at least once a year; it’s terrible that I’m such a cliché of an English teacher.  It always guarantees me a good cry and a dose of inspiration. Until yesterday I had never read Walt Whitman’s poem O Captain! My Captain! which is quoted in the film.

The poem left me a little shocked as it wasn’t as I imagined it to be. The poem was written for Abraham Lincoln. Honestly it could be about any great person who we have lost in our lives.  The poem made me think of Fr Amin Abboud, a priest and medical Doctor who passed away this year on the 19th of July. Thank you Fr Amin for loving us all with your generous heart. You are missed.

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.

Walt Whitman

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shawn L. Bird
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 02:54:34

    Totally fits with the movie, doesn’t it? If you knew those were the words, you would have known bad things were going to happen to all the leaders!

    I don’t show Dead Poet Society in my English class room, but I do have poetry Fridays! I guess the first one of my new school year will be a week tomorrow. Summer is over. A new adventure begins!


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