‘O Citizen! You Citizen!’

Find a shortish poem that you like, and rewrite each line, replacing each word (or as many words as you can) with words that mean the opposite.

I don’t really understand this, but in the spirit of Dead Poets Society, here’s my spin on Walt Whitman. The original is here.

O Citizen! You Citizen! your fearless trip is not done, The ship has not suffered any harm,
the commonplace thing we sought is still out there, The port is far, the bells you don’t hear, the animals all morose,
While eyes ignore the wobbly keel, the vessel lighthearted and timid; But O heart! heart! heart!
O the clotting torrent of red, Where off the deck your Citizen stands, Upright warm and alive.
O Citizen! your Citizen! fall down and ignore the bells; Fall down- for me the flag is hung- for
me the bugle lulls,

For me dried flowers and ribbonless wreaths- for me the waters
For me he fails to call, the stiff soldier, his blank face staring;
There Citizen! wretched son!
That arm over my head!
It isn’t some reality that off the deck,
I’ve not stood warm and alive.

Your Citizen answers, her lips glowing and trembling,
Your mother feels your arm, a pulse and will,
The ship floats unsafe and loud, its voyage open and not done,
To fearless trip the loser ship goes out without object won;
Morose O shores, and hold O bells!
But You with exuberant pace,
Walk the deck your Citizen stands,
Upright warm and alive.

Attribution: In assenza – Conspicuously absent by gualtiero, CC-BY-SA-2.0


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