Friday, August 15, 2014

Another tribute to Robin Williams

O Captain! My Captain!

From the film: The Dead Poet's Society
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.

I don't think the death of an artist and performer has ever resonated so much with us  as the the passing of Robin Williams.  I think most Americans felt his passing in their hearts and souls because he made us laugh and he made us think with the dramatic roles he played on the screen.  His photo, articles about him and television news reports about him are everywhere.  Entire magazine editions have been created in his honor.  The last time I remember this much coverage of a death is the death of President John F. Kennedy.  Yes, Robin Williams is of Camelot.  He represents the best of  America.  He represents the best of the gifted and talented.

Probably because I am a teacher, my favorite role of his is as the teacher in "Dead Poet's Society."  His portrayal of the nonconformist teacher who would rather be fired than compromise in his beliefs in his students ability to rise to any heights they wanted to, his strong belief in his unorthodox teaching methods, and his inspiring his students to challenge the notions of what is expected of them, resonated with me as a teacher.

Carpe diem!