Friday 24 October 2014

My Favourite Poem

This is one of my favourite poems, by the American poet Walt Whitman from his book ' Leaves of Grass '. It is a mournful elegy, and was written soon after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. The ' Captain ' is President Lincoln. 'the fearful trip is done' means the end of the American Civil War ( 1861-1865 ). 'The ship has weathered every wrack ' means that America has braved and survived the storm of the civil war, ' the prize we sought is won ' means American unity and end of slavery has been attained, 'the people all exulting ' means the jubilation of those who wanted America to remain united.
 The writer cannot believe or accept that President Lincoln is dead, and tells him that honours are being showered  on him ( for his sagacious handling of the situation ), and asks him to get up. However, he ultimately realises that Lincoln is dead

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,
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;
                         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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