Monday, February 15, 2016

Honoring Two Presidents

"O Captain! My Captain!" is an extended metaphor poem written in 1865 by Walt Whitman. The poem is classified as an elegy or mourning poem, and was written to honor Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. Walt Whitman was born in 1819 and died in 1892, and the American Civil War was the central event of his life. Whitman was a staunch Unionist during the Civil War. He was initially indifferent to Lincoln, but as the war pressed on Whitman came to love the president, though the two men never met.

The fallen captain in the poem refers to Abraham Lincoln, captain of the ship that is the United States of America. The first line establishes the poem's mood, one of relief that the Civil War has ended, "our fearful trip is done." The next line references the ship, America, and how it has "weathered every rack", meaning America has braved the tough storm of the Civil War, and "the prize we sought", the preservation of the Union, "is won".

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.

Source: Leaves of Grass (David McKay, 1891)
Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa in 1753 and sold into slavery in Boston at a young age. She rose to literary prominence while still a teenager and gained fame as a poet throughout the transatlantic world. Revolution had been simmering in the American colonies throughout Wheatley’s lifetime, and war officially broke out with the firing of shots in Lexington and Concord in April 1775. 

By October of that year, Wheatley had written a poem commending General George Washington's achievements -- aptly titled "To His Excellency General Washington" -- and sent a copy to his headquarters in Cambridge. Washington was so taken with the poem that he considered publishing it, but was concerned that such an action might appear vain or conceited. Though he chose not to publish the poem, his cordial response to the young poet, some months later, expressed his admiration for Wheatley’s talent, and extended an invitation for a visit: “If you should ever come to Cambridge, or near Head Quarters, I shall be happy to see a person so favoured by the Muses, and to whom Nature has been so liberal and beneficent in her dispensations.”

Historians have not found any official record of the visit between Washington and Wheatley, but it likely took place at Washington’s headquarters during the spring of 1776.

"Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side,
Thy ev’ry action let the Goddess guide.
A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine,
With gold unfading, Washington! Be thine."

Read the complete poem here, and find more of Wheatley's work here.
Pepperoni Puffs
Cook's notes: This easy recipe has lots of possibilities depending on what ingredients you use. Each bite is chewy filled with cheesy oozy goodness. It's totally a game food item and even kid friendly when served with warm pizza sauce. 
Recipe adapted from spendwithpennies and makes 8 puffs. 
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded cheese ( try taco or Mexican blend cheeses) 
  • 3/4 cup diced pepperoni or cooked sausage
  • 1/2 cup finely diced mini red and yellow peppers
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning 
  • 4 mozzarella cheese string sticks
  • store bought pizza sauce
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a standard muffin pan well.  Combine flour, baking powder and spices in a bowl. Add in milk and egg. Stir until combined.
  • Stir in shredded cheese, peppers and pepperoni or crumbled sausage.
  • Let mixture set for 10 minutes. Fill each muffin well with batter.
  • Cut each mozzarella stick into fourths. Gently press one piece into the center of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned and puffed. 
  • Cool puffs on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping.  

1 comment:

  1. YUMMMMYYYYYYY, Pepperoni Puffs would make a GREAT after school snack!