As some of you may know, I publish a Vlog on Youtube (steelcityman) and during the covid 19 Pandemic and the consequent lockdown and restrictions on traveling, I’ve been doing poetry readings each day rather than a generic Vlog. The latest reading I did was an excellent poem by the very influential American poet, WALT WHITMAN. Its entitled, ‘O Captain My Captain. It’s been immortalised in modern times by the late ROBIN WILLIAMS in the film ‘The Dead Poet’s Society’. In the Vlog, I read the poem and did a brief analysis of the metaphors involved……Trying to upload it to my Youtube channel however, was a very different kettle of fish !! After 30 hrs of uploading it was still only 52% done !! ….. That’s where the INTERNET MADNESS comes in ! The Upload speed is driving me crazy ! At this rate it will take in excess of 60 hrs to complete the upload of a 2G/byte file to Youtube !! I know Ive mentioned it before, but I am living in an ‘Internet Black Hole’ that even the late Stephen Hawkin wouldn’t be able to escape from !! Anyway I’ll keep trying and wait until something better than a length of copper wire is used to connect me to the outside world. In the words immortalised by CAPTAIN OATES, “I may be some time” …………. ( before Fibre optic is discovered in the postal district of S35 !! ) It’s rather ironic that I have just paid over £50 to WordPress for a domain name and the ability to include my vlogs into my Blog !!! Ha! That’s a bit rich isn’t it ?
Because the vlog has not been uploaded ( I’ve since scrapped the process until I’ve scratched my head enough to come up with another solution ) I’ve decided to write the poem in this blog for the delectation of anyone who is not familiar with WALT WHITMAN and ‘O Captain my Captain’, I must admit, Until I’d seen the Dead Poet’s Society, I’d never heard this poem myself. One last word before I launch into it….. I am NOT going to write the verses in the shape of a ship !!! If you want to see that, please refer to the Wiki link above and you can see Walt’s original manuscript……..
OH, CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Oh, 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 anchored safe and sound, it’s 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.
WoW !! That is a a powerful poem and one I return to every now and then for the pleasure of reading WALT WHITMAN, poet extraordinaire. O Captain! my Captain! was written after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and is known as an extended Metaphor type of poem. Also classed as a mourning poem, or an elegy. During the Civil war, Whitman moved up to Washington D.C. where he cared for the wounded, and many of his poems have the war as a theme. In O Captain! My Captain!, the ‘Fearful Trip’ that the ship and crew undertook is a metaphor for Civil War and the Prize they sought and won was the victory over the Confederate cause. The ship itself was the NATION which the Captain (President Lincoln) steered to victory. As the war was won, Lincoln was assassinated, hence he was ,’Fallen cold and dead on the deck’ of the victorious ship.
Like I said Earlier, “It’s a powerful poem and one I revisit from time to time.” …… Anyway, I’ve waffled on far too long now, I’m just thankful it’s been a very warm and sunny end to the month of May and I’ve been able to compose this blog outside, amidst the birdsong and buzz of Bumble Bees.
I follow many bloggers, too many to name them all, but of all those I follow, and remember, although I don’y comment too as much as I should, I do read your work, there are two bloggers in particular I will mention who have inspired me tremendously, both in my writing and my outlook on life, they are ;
CAROL. A. HAND with her blog, VOICES FROM THE MARGINS which she describes as , “A welcoming place for resistance to the forces of oppression and hegemony.” Carol is a truly inspirational human being and a writer of the highest order.
ELLEN HAWLEY — with her blog, NOTES FROM THE UK An American in Cornwall, Ellen gives her perspective on the quirky side of life here in the UK …Of course Ellen is much more than a blogger, she is a published author as well. Her sense of humour is second to none and she weaves it skilfully through her work. I would describe her work as “a riveting read ” One read and you’re hooked !!
THANK YOU LADIES
9 thoughts on “INTERNET MADNESS !! …. AND WALT WHITMAN.”
I feel your pain. A year ago, it was taking almost an hour to upload my blog photos. My solution, once I got the company’s attention, was a new cable modem.
Dear Pat, it’s so good to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words dear friend. I am deeply grateful for your kindness. It has been a crazy spring here with so little time to blog or stay in touch with dear friends.
I look forward to the opportunity to catch up with your vlog posts as soon as I can. In the meantime, I send my best wishes to you and your lovely family across the big pond. 💜
Thank you, Carol. It’s always good to hear from you. All we are hearing from your side of the pond at the moment is the terrible strife since the murder of the black man. The talk is all about the coming black revolution, whilst the cauldron of hatred is boiling over. Anyway stay safe and look after yourself, Carol. Love to you and your family. xxxxxx
It’s interesting to hear how the situation is being framed in other places. My greatest fear are the white supremacists who are eager to begin “a race war” to please the, ahem, president…
I have been heartened today by the many examples of police “taking the knee” or shaking hands with peaceful demonstrators, and even exchanging hugs. Perhaps the craziness of an unhinged “leader” is encouraging police to rethink which side they’re on… But police violence is still taking place, along with petty property crimes initiated by a few non-police even in the city where I live, over 100 miles from the site of George Floyd’s murder.
Duluth, Minnesota, where I live, has a very troubled history that continues to be reflected in ongoing racism and differential treatment of people of color. June 15 will be the 100 year anniversary of the lynching of three innocent Black men (https://www.mnhs.org/duluthlynchings/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920_Duluth_lynchings).
Minnesota also has a troubling history with Indigenous People who were driven from their homelands and often treated violently (https://www.mprnews.org/story/2017/06/08/mankato-hangings-an-uneasy-topic-for-minnesota-schools), It’s a past, as the linked article argues, that is not something most people know. Divisions and mistrust remain, though. The site where I teach is 20 miles away on an Ojibwe reservation, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (http://www.fdlrez.com/). My students come from a variety of backgrounds and are a delightful group eager young people who are eager to learn and be part of creating a healthier future.
Sending love back to you and your family, dear friend. 💜
Thank you for the links … I will follow them and learn more about the history. I’ll give you my thoughts in a day or two … your love is returned tenfold. xxxxxx
Thanks for bringing me back to this poem. I don’t think I’ve read it since high school, and although I liked it then (and felt very clever at getting the metaphor), it moved me this time, and although I knew it already, it surprised me. Maybe it’s the grief all around us in these times, maybe it’s just coming to it as someone old enough to have known grief, but it resonated.
I’m so glad you got something out of this classic poem Ellen, (over and above the nostalgia). I only discovered Walt Whitman after seeing ‘The Dead Poets Society’, but I’ve enjoyed his works ever since. Thanks again for YOUR inspirational writing.
Whitman’s amazing. And I should’ve thanked you for your kind words. I do appreciate them.