O Captain! My Captain!
- O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;1
- 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 bugle2 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,3
- 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.
The author had just landed in La Guardia Airport after the flight captain died. All the passengers stood up to applaud the co-pilot. We have it in good authority that the event in question led Yoko Ono to write her “Letter to John”:
- On a windy day let’s go flying
- There may be no trees to rest on
- There may be no clouds to ride
- But we’ll have our wings and the wind will be with us
- That’s enough for me, that’s enough for me.
The bugle is a small trumpet implicated in the military industrial complex. ↩︎
Another footnote. Why not? ↩︎