Thursday, February 12, 2004

O Captain! My Captain!

By Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered 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 ribboned 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.

[A 4th "unspoken" verse suggested by Scott L. Vanatter to the poem O Captain! My Captain! -- with apologies to Walt Whitman.]

My Captain does now answer! A new trip to begin;
He’s risen with the morning sun; another prize to win.
The ocean calls, the lines cast off; the people all a-joining;
Its you we see, its you we love—our victor, firm, unbending.
O feel, my heart—it is no dream—
With his arm supporting me
We walk the deck of eternities,
Risen bold and free.