Walt Whitman

(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892 / New York / United States)

O Captain! My Captain!



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; 10
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; 20
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Form: Elegy

# 29 poem on top 500 Poems


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Comments about this poem (O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman )

  • Veteran Poet - 1,142 Points Roy Allen (3/12/2015 1:19:00 AM)

    Powerful poetry capturing a sad and dramatic loss (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,365 Points Sagnik Chakraborty (9/25/2014 1:57:00 PM)

    Since my childhood, I've always admired President 'Honest Abe' Abraham Lincoln hugely, and together with him, this poem. This was the first poem of Whitman that I read, and even after I read his other poems from 'Leaves of Grass' and started liking him even more, this one remains one of my most beloved Whitman poems. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 20,980 Points Chinedu Dike (8/12/2014 3:07:00 PM)

    I read this poem and Ozymandias every now and then. What a masterpiece! (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 4,243 Points Primrose Tee (7/2/2014 1:37:00 PM)

    Great poem indeed , l like (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 762 Points Michelle Claus (7/2/2014 10:57:00 AM)

    My first introduction to this poem was in the film Dead Poets Society - particularly the lines O Captain! My Captain! Since then, I've loved this reverent phrase, and now,20-plus years after the film, I admire the poem even more than I did when I was younger. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 24,737 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (7/2/2014 3:06:00 AM)

    The end of captain is very sad and poet describes it beautifully and makes a nice poem and interested. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 13,881 Points * Sunprincess * (5/13/2014 10:21:00 AM)

    ...........oh this is very sad, the captain dies just when he reaches port....sometimes for some this happens...just when you reach your dreams life ends....very impressive write... (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,625 Points Herbert Guitang (4/25/2014 8:01:00 AM)

    Fantastic and brilliant poem. Perfect 10 (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 23 Points Thomas Vaughan Jones (1/19/2014 4:16:00 PM)

    One of my favourites when I was a boy. Why oh why did a man who could write like that turn to Free Verse. :) (Report) Reply

    Gold Star - 6,927 Points Khairul Ahsan (5/30/2014 7:28:00 AM)

    I too wonder like you.

  • Bronze Star - 2,993 Points Wahab Abdul (12/12/2013 3:41:00 AM)

    words and phrases such as grim and daring, weathered every rack, fearful trip, flag is flung, bugle trills, ribboned wreaths, and swaying mass cast a shadow over the celebration, much in the same way the dead cast a shadow over any victory in war celebration. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 423 Points Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/8/2013 2:02:00 AM)

    I salute the captain who did sink
    To ensure his ship stayed afloat
    You are dead, but you wil foreverl live
    In this poem Walt Witman wrote......

    I welcome all ye poets to my page too for your esteemed comments (Report) Reply

  • Rookie John Manulat (11/3/2013 1:15:00 AM)

    If i will rate it i will give a perfect 10 (Report) Reply

  • Rookie John Manulat (11/3/2013 1:14:00 AM)

    This poem is my favorite (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sami Murray (10/16/2013 12:43:00 PM)

    This poem is great...But its not the type on poetry i favor. I am more into nature poems. I only looked this up for my 10th grade english class. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Anele Gxoyiya (8/11/2013 2:33:00 AM)

    I heard this poem for the first time in 1985 when I was doing Standard 7. My English teacher, Mr A. Doko was so passionate that his passion was contagious. I never forgot his teachings. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 701 Points Shahzia Batool (7/2/2013 12:21:00 AM)

    i heard this poem for the first time in a movie, DEAD POETS SOCIETY, the Academy award winner, since then the poem became my favourite...i can still hear that recitation..O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN...a MUST watch! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Buddha Buddie (4/11/2013 2:28:00 PM)

    When I was just a youngon, I would play with all sorts of toys like Barney stuffed animals and such...but one day I went fishin over yonder over dem hills ya know? ... Well as we was fishin, a dun big ol beaver jumped outer the grass and dun bit my nipple of me boddie! I just dun couldn't believe it so I ran home and iced that sucka for a couple of hours and it grew back...when I got in my room...I noticed dat da beava dun stole all mi toys! So dun ran back down to da lake over yonder ova dem dun hills! I got me some dumplings and through me in da water and waited...IT CAME! So I jumped in da lake and grabbed hold of dat beaver and bit dat dun beavers nipple off and he dun gave me my dun toys back! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Buddha Buddie (4/11/2013 1:03:00 PM)

    Walt Whitman was a fantastic ball player in his day...he loved ice cream but his parents died when he was 10 from then on he lived on the streets and lived as bully (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Buddha Buddie (4/11/2013 1:01:00 PM)

    I'm beginning my own poem called how to be a Buddha buddie and love beavers at the same time (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Buddha Buddie (4/11/2013 11:44:00 AM)

    Big foot is real and so is Sasquatch u just have to believe in him and every night he will took u in.. (Report) Reply

Read all 55 comments »

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