Thursday, October 23, 2008


If I had one wish for my life's journey it would be to inspire someone, anyone - whether my children or complete strangers - at least once in a lifetime.

I looked up the following poem by Walt Whitman after reading this post on Berry Blog (Charlie is a former teacher). I remember only two teachers in my life who inspired such depth of feeling.

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;
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.

Oh, to be remembered like this.


Kay Dennison said...

I love that poem! I believe it was written about Abraham Lincoln!

Whitman was an amazing man himself!

I do apologize for not having stopped in so long, Ellen. Life has been keeping me far too busy and I really hate when it interferes with my blogging. I hope to do better as I get everybody on me following list.

ell said...

Yes, the poem was Whitman's tribute to Abraham Lincoln. His Leaves of Grass was my favourite book of poetry when I was in high school.

Glad you dropped by, Kay. :-)

Berry Blog said...

why thank you El.I can't read it without tearing up. I taught this every year along with a scene by scene discussion of Dead Poets Society. We threw a big Poetry night for many years creating our own beatnik hippy coffee shops and reciting our poetry. Kids came back for years that night. It got too big to handle and I switched to a poetry contest.No certicates and pins...we gave out trophies like the sports teams. Now my former kids are competing in poetry slams around the country. When I left, poetry was dropped.