“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.”
- Simonides of Ceos

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

"O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman

Probably the most well-known poem by Walt Whitman, "O Captain! My Captain!" is a moving metaphor for President Abraham Lincoln's leadership of the country during the Civil War and his assassination which shocked the nation. This poem is actually only one of a handful that Whitman wrote in honor of Lincoln, whom he greatly admired. "O Captain" was written in 1865 shortly after the death of the President and was published later the same year in a small booklet containing a collection of 18 of Whitman's poems.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: B.J. Harrison
Composer: Conner Savoca
Sound Design & Mixing: Christopher Green (Some sound effects courtesy of http://www.freesfx.co.uk.)
Photography: Johannes Plenio
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for "O Captain! My Captain!"
Entry on Wikipedia for Walt Whitman
Whitman's Bio on the Poetry Foundation
Analysis of "O Captain! My Captain!" from PoemAnalysis.com
Extended biography of Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman, 1872
By Photographer: G. Frank E. Pearsall (1860-1899) (NYPL Digital Gallery) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman

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

Whitman's notes for a revision of "O Captain! My Captain!"

Public Domain, Link

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"The Crucifixion and Resurrection. An Ode." by Mary Leapor

Mary Leapor was a young poet born into Britain's working class. She died at the young age of 24 and therefore her body of work is not very large, but it contains some lengthy pieces which are quite respected and have received much acclaim to this day. Published posthumously in 1748, "The Crucifixion and Resurrection. An Ode." is a beautiful and vivid depiction of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. Leapor recounts this event in her signature style and the poem's first three stanzas seem to focus on the effect Jesus' death had on the natural world and then in the second half she shifts to show what His resurrection means to humanity.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: Laura Richcreek
Composer: Natasha Green
Sound Design & Mixing: Christopher Green
Photography: Gerd Altmann
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for Mary Leapor
Mary Leapor's Bio on The Poetry Foundation
Poem Analysis from Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive

NOTE: We could not locate a royalty-free image of Mary Leapor to include in this post.

The Crucifixion and Resurrection. An Ode. by Mary Leapor

What means the reeling Earth? O why
These Wonders in the dreadful Sky?
The frighted Sun withdraws its Beams,
Deep Groans are heard and doleful Screams.
O say, what this Convulsion means:
Afflicted Nature with a Shriek replies,
A God expires, a mighty Saviour dies.

The conscious Stars their Rays deny.
The Moon receives a crimson Dye.
The Temple conscious of its Fall,
Now shakes its emblematick Wall.
The Ocean stagnates, and the Mountains bow,
And Angels weep that never wept till now.

Still tremble, Earth, and still, O Sky,
Thy ever-chearing Lamps deny:
Amaz'd still let the Ocean stand,
But what remains for guilty Man?
What Groans? what Sorrows are for him decreed?
For Man whose Crimes have made Perfection bleed?

But see, O see, the Sun returns!
No more afflicted Nature mourns!
The Stars their vacant Orbs regain!
And the Moon sheds a silver Beam!
While heav'nly Voices warble in the Skies,
"Behold your Saviour from his Tomb arise!"

While Saints attend the blessed Morn,
He rose: — The God in human Form,
A Form not made of vulgar Clay:
Which, tho' it slept, cou'd not decay!
Hail, Mortals; Hail (transported Seraphs cry)
Redeem'd, and favour'd by the God most high.

In Heav'n let Joys eternal flow,
And Mercy in the Worlds below;
The Penitent shall Peace obtain,
And not a Tear shall fall in vain.
Then join, ye Worlds, in one glad Chorus sing,
Praise to Messiah, and th' Almighty King.

A high-resolution scan of Leapor's Poems Upon Several Occasions: Volume II

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

“Eldorado” by Edgar Allan Poe

The poem "Eldorado" was first published in 1849 in the Boston-based periodical, The Flag of Our Union, a publication which also printed works from Louisa May Alcott. Incidentally, this poem was published just a little over five months before Edgar Allan Poe would meet his untimely–and still unexplained–death. Poe is, of course, known for his melancholy and dark writings and although there are some gray undertones in "Eldorado", they are far less overt than those in many of his other pieces. The text of the poem has been set to music in its entirety as well as adapted into song by many musical acts over the years.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: J.D. Sutter
Composer: Conner Savoca
Sound Design & Mixing: Christopher Green with assistance from Roy Allison
Photography: Patrick Neufelder
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

Entry on Wikipedia for "Eldorado"
Entry on Wikipedia for Edgar Allan Poe
Poe's Bio on the Poetry Foundation
Analysis of "Eldorado" from gradesaver.com
Analysis of "Eldorado" from shadowofiris.com

1849 Daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe
Source: Wikimedia

“Eldorado” by Edgar Allan Poe

       Gaily bedight,
       A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,  
       Had journeyed long,  
       Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

       But he grew old—
       This knight so bold—  
And o’er his heart a shadow—  
       Fell as he found
       No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

       And, as his strength  
       Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow—  
       “Shadow,” said he,  
       “Where can it be—
This land of Eldorado?”

       “Over the Mountains
       Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,  
       Ride, boldly ride,”
       The shade replied,—
“If you seek for Eldorado!”

By William Heath Robinson - books, Public Domain, Link