Tag Archives: civil war

The Creeps: Issue 25

Catching up on my creepy collection of classic chilling tales of spine-tingling terror. This issue has six shocking stories of scintillating suspense, but I am going to only focus this post on one of the tales.

It seems that in every installment of this publication, they do a short illustrated version of a classic horror story, and in this issue they present a graphic version of The Other Lodgers by Ambrose Bierce. Basically, it is the story of a man who sleeps in a deserted hotel and encounters restless spirits, since at one time it was used as a hospital to treat soldiers in the Civil War, many of whom died there as a result of their injuries.

“Sir, if you’ll sit down, I’ll tell you of this place. It’s not a hotel… It used to be a hotel, and afterwards it was a hospital. Now it’s deserted and unoccupied. The room you slept in was the hospital’s dead-room where were always plenty of dead. The night-clerk you described used to check-in the hotel’s guests. Later he checked-in the hospital’s patients, but he died a few weeks ago!”

(p. 17)

I have not read Bierce’s original short story, but I think I will. I enjoyed this graphic retelling, so I am sure I would like the original text.

Thanks for stopping by, and keep reading.

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“Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman

It took me quite a while, but I finally finished reading all of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. My overall feeling is that I now have a deep sense of who Walt Whitman was and what it was like to be an American during that period in history.

Whitman’s poems parallel his own journey through life, from youth to old age, as well as the coming of age of America as a country. I see the poems structured into four categories: youth/pre-Civil War; early adult/Civil War; adult/post Civil War; and old age/the future.

The earlier poems reflect a youthful optimism, both for himself and the young America. The poems exude wonder and the promise of infinite possibility. Whitman captures the growth of the new country and is thrilled by everything that it has to offer.

Then came the Civil War and the poems take on a sense of boldness as he struggles to make sense of the chaos around him. Common themes of turbulent waters appear in these poems, as he must have felt himself tossed about by the throes of war. During this period, Whitman served as a medic and witnessed first-hand the graphic horror of warfare.

When the war ended, Whitman was a mature adult, and the poems from this period reflect this maturity as he ponders the change in America. The assassination of President Lincoln at this time also figures prominently, most notably in “O Captain! My Captain!” (see my earlier blog post about this poem).

Finally, in old age, Whitman’s poems become reflective on his past, his earlier writings, and the future. He meditates on what his legacy may be and what lays ahead for the country that meant so much to him. He sums this up beautifully in the poem “L. of G.’s Purport”:

Begun in ripen’d youth and steadily pursued,
Wandering, peering, dallying with all–war, peace, day and night absorbing,
Never even for one brief hour abandoning my task,
I end it here in sickness, poverty, and old age.

I could continue to write about the poems in this book, but poetry should really be experienced on a personal level. I encourage you to buy a nice hardcover or leather-bound version of this book and spend the time reading through it. It may not be the greatest collection of poems ever written, but I would venture to say it is the greatest collection of American poems ever written.

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“O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman

I have been slowly working my way through Leaves of Grass, reading some poems between other books, or when I feel inspired. This morning I read “O Captain! My Captain!” which I was first exposed to in the film “Dead Poets Society.”

In the poem, Whitman expresses his feelings of loss over the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is the Captain, who navigated the ship (America) across the turbulent sea (the Civil War). The poem is more structured than most of Whitman’s poems, and the rhyming scheme and rhythm makes it feel like a funeral dirge.

This is a short and very accessible poem, even though it is instilled with strong emotion. If you have not read it, then you should. It’s a must-read.

Click here to read the poem online.

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