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Thread: O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman

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    Default O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman

    O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
    The ship has weatherd 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 upfor you the flag is flungfor you the bugle trills;
    For you bouquets and ribbond wreathsfor 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,
    Youve 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 anchord safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
    From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
    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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    Default Re: O Captain! My Captain - Walt Whitman

    This is probably one of the poems that I read in English class that has stuck with me until now.

    I remember having to memorize it to recite in class and seeing it as a chore, but retouching these words again they still send icy prickles down my back, and I realize why just the words in the title (Oh Captain, My Captain) have arranged and solidified in my mind.

    On the surface it's a narration of a son losing his father and a ship returning with plunder. But breach the hull; and metaphors, hidden meanings and morals swirl in.

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    Default Re: O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman

    This is one of the two major poems Whitman wrote memorializing Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's here depicted as the fallen captain of the victorious ship of state (the Union). It's probably Whitman's best known poem, and one of the few Whitman wrote in formal verse. Whitman hated that the poem became so popular, particularly because it wasn't representative of the main body of his poetry, and at one point fumed "Damn My Captain . . . I'm almost sorry I ever wrote the poem."

    My favorite short poem by Whitman is "A Clear Midnight":

    This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
    Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
    Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best,
    Night, sleep, death and the stars.

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    Default Re: O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman

    It adds a whole new meaning to Dead Poets' Society;
    I remember the lads calling after Robin Williams and he
    doesn't answer them until one suggests "O Captain My Captain!"

    It adds a "hidden metaphor" to their relationships which were
    already frowned upon by the headmaster of his school. But it
    also lends an element of foreshadowing -- at the end of the
    poem, the Captain is "dead," and at the end of the movie,
    Robin Williams' character is defeated.

    ♫` ∴|| ~∞≠∝ ♫♪ $ -4C

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    Default Re: O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Frost View Post
    This is one of the two major poems Whitman wrote memorializing Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's here depicted as the fallen captain of the victorious ship of state (the Union). It's probably Whitman's best known poem, and one of the few Whitman wrote in formal verse. Whitman hated that the poem became so popular, particularly because it wasn't representative of the main body of his poetry, and at one point fumed "Damn My Captain . . . I'm almost sorry I ever wrote the poem."

    My favorite short poem by Whitman is "A Clear Midnight":

    This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
    Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
    Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best,
    Night, sleep, death and the stars.
    I really enjoy Walt's style and prose. When you recite them you get a feeling that you're speaking a prayer or some sort of ancient calling.

    Welcome to the forums by the way !!!!

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    Default Re: O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman

    Thanks for the welcome!

    Whitman was greatly influence by the King James Bible, which is probably why his long, rhythmic free verse lines sound a lot like scripture.

    I have to admit I'm not the biggest Whitman fan. I most enjoy poets whose work relies a bit more on formal strategies, poets like, um, Robert Frost (if you couldn't guess!).

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    Default Re: O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman

    I too had to memorize this and recite in front of the class in junior high.

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    Elite Member Daphne's Avatar
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    Default Re: O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman

    Leaves of Grass is my favorite Whitman work.

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