Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

I Wonder If Mary Todd Lincoln Had A Chance To Say Good-bye

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Yesterday was the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s anniversary. I wonder about Mary Todd Lincoln who on that fateful Good Friday dressed for a night on the town with her husband, who attended the theater to enjoy a play with the well-known actor, John Wilkes Booth, when he shot her husband in front of her eyes. I wonder what she thought as she watched her husband slowly die from the assassin’s bullet. I wonder if she had the chance to tell him she loved him and that now he would be with their beloved Willie. I wonder how she coped with such a public end to her husband’s life. I believe Walt Whitman’s tribute to him is appropriate.

O Captain! My Captain!


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.


Written by Gloria Ferris

April 15th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

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