Oh Captain, My Captain

As it is known throughout the shipping and marine industry, the captain is always the last one off the ship and when worse comes to worse, he even goes down with the ship.  Oh Captain, My Captain is a poem written by the late Walt Whitman. It is about the Captain lying dead on the deck as his ship returns to the dock one last time.

In life we are each our own Captain. We guide things along, see to it that our vessel is seaworthy and our crew competent. Their safety is in our hands as long as we are on the water.  We try to keep things on an even keel, pray for smooth sailing and when the storms hit- we look to the horizon for the sun and land, hoping the journey will soon be over. When the ship finally docks in safe harbors, we breathe a sigh of relief. But at some point we feel the itch to hit the seas again, turning the wheel and heading for open waters...

But there are ships out there that shouldn't be. Ships with defects, faults or flaws if you will. It's only a matter of time before they sink. What of their Captain's? Do they not see the weakness in the hull? Do they not hear the skip in the rhythm of the engine? Do they fathom the depths of the unforgiving dark waters they sail?  Do they know they are but biding their time, not wisely?

The day will come that the seas are rough, the weather doesn't ever seem to break and the bitter cold is unforgiving. The brutality of the lifestyle will finally take it's toll.  Sometimes the Captain will still push on. Driving headlong into the onslaught, expecting more, pulling every shred of strength he can get from what is already used up, worn and with nothing left.  The empty hulk of steel, heartless as she may be, pushes on. Often giving more than she's got, but still she pushes on.   

The ship will either sink or be decommissioned into dry dock, stripped of any and all usable parts, pride and the last remains of her dignity. Either way she is dismissed from service. After all she has given her Captain, she is no longer a passing thought.  Her stoic and relentless nature has been cast away, much like the crew as they stand at the islands edge.

Day after day they stare hopefully out to sea for a sign of their awaiting rescue.  Day after day, she lays at the bottom of the ocean, aching for the ability to take them home once last time.  Sitting at the helm in her wheelhouse, in what has become the watery grave they shall share, is her Captain.

Oh Captain, My Captain.

Comments

  1. wow! that is a powerful statemnet and post !Well done

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  2. "In life we are each our own Captain. We guide things along, see to it that our vessel is seaworthy and our crew competent. Their safety is in our hands as long as we are on the water."
    Fantastic. Sooooo well said, Pixie. :) Happy Thanksgiving!!

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