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O Captain! My Captain!

Two poems by Walt Whitman

Nashville Predators v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The only home ever owned by American poet Walt Whitman was in Camden, NJ. Whitman spent the final two decades of his life there, where he published his famed collection of poetry, Leaves of Grass. The book included four poems he had written about Abraham Lincoln, including “O Captain! My Captain” and “Hush’d Be the Camps To-day.” His life as one of America’s most prominent and defining poets is memorialized with a bridge named in his honor, which connects Camden County, New Jersey with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, overlooking both his still-standing former home and the Wells Fargo Center.

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The team has weather’d many losses, the prize we sought unwon,
The end is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the shaky keel, the Flyers grim and sulking;
And O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the block my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and traded.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up— for you the flag is flung— for you the goal-horn trills,
For you bouquets and jersey’d shoulders- for you the seats 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 from the block,
You’ve fallen cold and traded.

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 team is quiet, safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the orange ship comes in with Cup unwon;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
And I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and traded.

Hush’d be the Camps To-day

HUSH’D be Philadelphia to-day;
And, fans, let us drape our war-worn jerseys;
And each, with musing soul retire, to celebrate,
Our dear captain.
No more for him our stormy conflicts;
Nor defeat—No more time’s dark events,
Charging like ceaseless clouds across the sky.

But sing, poet, in our name;
Sing of the love we bore him—because you, dweller in
Philly, know it truly.
Sing, to the waived NMC;
Sing, with the thousand games that fill the grave—a verse,
For the heavy hearts of Flyers fans.