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O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! My Captain!


by Walt Whitman

Analysis: Tough-o-Meter

(2) Sea Level

With the exception of some tricky words like “rack” and “keel,” the language is pretty straightforward. Although the syntax (the word order) is shifted around a bit to make the poem rhyme, Whitman wants you to focus on the subject and not get caught up in parallels to Greek myths or fancy poetic forms. If you read the poem out loud, you can’t help but find its rhythms, and the rest of the poem will follow.

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