O Captain My Captain, Walt Whitman

O Captain! My captain! is a poem by the American poet Walt Whitman. Walt Whitman wrote this poem in homage to Abraham Lincoln after he has been murderer in 1865.
In the film Dead Poets Society the English teacher John Keating (played by Robin Williams) encourages his students to call him “O Captain! My captain!” in an obvious reference to this very poem.
A regular topic in Walt Whitman’s poems is the American Civil War and having that in mind it makes complete sense that the first line is a reference to the end of it. The goal may have been reached (the end of the Civil war and the end of slavery) but many men lost their lives and for that the American hearts still ache.
The poem swings between a joyful mood since Whitman was a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln ideals and a mournful mood even though Whitman seems unwilling to accept his death.

O Captain! My Captain (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. 

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