Monday, June 14, 2010

Patriotic Gull

June 14th-- ah, I seem to remember it well. Back then, school was ALWAYS out by the middle of June, no question about it. Flag Day was usually one of our last days before we broke for about 10 weeks. In eighth grade, Ms. Storer read Whitman's "Oh Captain!, My Captain!"(on the death of President Lincoln), a couple other patriotic poems she enjoyed and gave us a brief history of the holiday. To this day, I still remember this poem, because during our poem unit earlier in the year we all had to memorize a poem. I chose this one. I loved the imagery and the metaphors at work in it. Happy Flag Day!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered 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 ribboned 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 anchored 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.


  1. Praise the Lord for poetry. And the flag. And for the bird.

  2. Reading the newspapers from that period, you know the poem captures the mood perfectly. And you capture the mood of June 14, 2010 quite well with this.

  3. It has been a long time since I heard that poem. Thanks for including it. I has such a melancholy feel to it, entirely appropriate for a memorial for Lincoln.