O Captain! My Captain!

Robin WilliamsEveryone’s funnyman Robin Williams passed away at the start of this week at the age of 63 leaving the world in disbelief and shocked by his passing.

I grew up watching Williams shows, an almost unavoidable encounter because my local TV channels are constantly broadcasting re-runs of Jumanji and Flubber that he became part of my childhood memories. But one of his most memorable shows for me would have to be the Dead Poets Society where Williams in the role of John Keating taught me about the latin word Carpe Diem, or seize the day, and brought me down Robert Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled.”

And it is only befitting that this week’s tribute to Williams would be Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!”, one of the most notable poems from that movie. O captain, my captain, bon voyage!

O Captain! My Captain!
By Walt Whitman
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.

12 thoughts on “O Captain! My Captain!

  1. The Dead Poets Society is one of my all time favorite movie ever!! I am doing a unit with 8th graders based around it! So many quotable moments!!!

  2. Fabulous tribute. I have long adored this film and have always wanted to read the book. Robin Williams’ performance in this was absolutely superb. I was so sad when I learned what happened- but I am grateful his art and humour live on.


    Autumn Jade

  3. My published poem for Tuesday was composed on Monday 11th August 2014, it was already live when I read of the sad passing of Robin Williams R.I.P. if I had only known…

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