Oh Captain, My Captain (Walt Whitman)

Oh 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.


After four long and terrible years, the war is now finally over. We, the United States of America, have beaten the civil war and we have preserved the Union. I have seen people waving our flag and I have seen others crying of felicity. Everyone is happy. But a war never ends only with glee, there are always victims. And for all these victims I feel sorrow and I sympathize with all who lost their sons or husbands. But I can’t live with the fact that John Wilkes Booth shot our leader. It tears me apart that our president, Abraham Lincoln, is dead.

So please let it be a dream. I am hoping so much that I will wake up and see him alive again, smiling and waving to his folk. That he is here with us again and that he can see what he has achieved. Because without him people wouldn’t be celebrating their freedom right now. All the laughing you hear and every smile you see are due to him. If there was one person who deserved it the most to be here right now and to see our country reunited again, it would be him.

But no, I won’t wake up. It isn’t just a dream. It is the horrible truth about our fallen hero. He has fought for so many years, trying to recover the peace. He has lead our country through the darkest days of its history. And now, when his hard work finally pays off, he is gone. While everyone is celebrating the victory, my heart is filling itself with sorrow. Because we, the United states of America, have lost our leader, president Abraham Lincoln.

© Pieter Goossens

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