O Captain My Captain, by Walt Whitman

A poem about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the only poem by Whitman using standard meter and rhyme. Perhaps he thought the occasion required something more formal. Goose bumps.

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.

O Walt, my Walt: An homage

I’m afraid my multitudes
Have become fractious
No longer content to simply
Contradict myself
I fly off the handle
At the slightest whim

Come tell me, old man
What great love-burst
Straightened your back
In your days of reckoning?

How did you feel when those
Crusted and cracked hands you held
In the stifling wards of Washington
Ceased finally to stir?

The sweet cleansing heat
Of salty tears and sweat
How you must have howled!
How the moon must have shuddered
To hear it!