Day 22 (30 days of June)

When I was in school, I was very active with various curricular and extra-curricular activities. Among the many areas I participate in was declamation. I did declamation contests in elementary and high school and even opted to declame instead of write a book review in college. Well, it's more of a monologue in college than a declamation but you get my drift. I think I liked it enough to volunteer to go up infront of people and speak, which can be real horror.

Anyway, back in the high school days, the very first piece I was given to memorize and perform was O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN! by Walt Whitman. I recently just learned that it's about the assassination of US Pres. Abe Lincoln. I really never learned what the poem is about because no one discussed it with me. I never asked the question of what the poem is about. I knew how to put emotions into it. Yet I was totally ignorant of what I was voicing out. Until I wikied it.

I cannot fault the teachers. Back in those days when you go to a public school, well even private schools, the resources are limited, if not entirely absent. Unlike today when you can easily find what you want to find via the internet. Learning is so much easier and faster in today's world isn't it?

Anyway, here's one of the most popular declamation pieces back in my days of competition:

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.


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