Kenneth Madden

Monthly Archives: May 2011

O Captain! my Captain!

O Captain! my Captain!
Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered 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 ribboned 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 anchored 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.


A deep, deep longing to connect once
and for all into everything-
to moor in the sea of transience,
troubled seas rage with a peaceful stillness
at its heart,  at the centre

No-thing will be found,
but ears are deaf when I’m listenin’
and it’s hard to hear when
when you’re drowning
in the need to know.

As the first light of day breaks
with readiness in the raging
wind and in the perfect stillness
a constant whispered shout says:
Friend, This is your harbour,
this the long lost lover
Unknowable now and waiting
with a patient smile.

This simple

He remembers playing
before they started telling him
how he should be
doing it

He can’t remember how he did
or how he can get
back there but
somewhere and somehow
he senses that knowing

will take him only
to the border,
up to the very fence
that seems to hold him
in place with a world
he relates to.

Then a suggestion- it sings
the body electric*

But could it be this simple?

*Walt Whitman.

My goodness

The amazing thing about liberation* is that it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with how you think you are or how you experience yourself to be. It doesn’t require thoughts or feelings or behaviour to stop or for anything to start. The energy of feeling like a separate ‘Me’ in the world is one of anticipation of things being better** tomorrow, around the corner, we’re never quite there, or any arrival is temporary. It is also an energy of unworthiness. We feel we have lost wholeness and therefor have a feeling of incompleteness. This is pronounced to a greater or lesser degree obviously in every apparently separate self. Most people can relate to the feeling of ‘I have to….’ ‘I should…’ ‘I need to…’ then I’ll be there! But you never get to the idea of where you think you should be.

Incredibly- what is looked for has no interest in how neurotic or unworthy you feel yourself to be. You cannot ever be more or less ready to see what it is you look for as you are already the wholeness that you seek irrespective of how fucked up or fabulous you perceive yourself to be.
You will never be ready to find your own absence and of course you can’t find it. This is an amazing paradox and yet stunningly simple. There really is only life, this.

* There is no such thing as Liberation- the term is used as to address a problem that is only apparent to begin with.

**Or worse, whether it’s a better me or a worse me is irrelevant it’s simply two sides of the same coin and energy of being a separate me will do either way.

“Bold Mommy, no bed time, me not tired.”

Not a direct quote, but that’s how he’d put it.