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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 12/19/20


Happy weekend,


It’s Saturday, so it’s time for poetry and music.


Every year brings its share of loss and tragedy. This year, perhaps more than others, we are keenly aware of the many homes that have been profoundly affected by the scourge of this pandemic and the gross mismanagement of our response. Over 300,000 Americans are dead today, with many more likely to die. We all have those whom we lost—the nameless who died from this plague, famous personalities we remember from our youth, and those closer to home who are no longer with us.


Thinking of memory today, these are two of my favorite poems about death, a condition that eventually will find us all. The first is Whitman’s paean to Lincoln after the assassination. The second was penned by a Canadian military doctor to mourn the soldiers in World War I.


POETRY


OH 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.


In Flanders Fields

By John McCrae


In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.


MUSIC


“Puppy for Hanukkah,” written and performed by the great Daveed Diggs, who played Jefferson and Lafayette in Hamilton. Enjoy!


“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” by U2, performed by Postmodern Jukebox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EbLlgKFk9c


David Bowie and Freddie Mercury singing “Under Pressure”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HglA72ogPCE


Have a good weekend,


Glenn

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