Camden Mural: "I Saw A City Invincible" (Detail)

Camden Mural: I Saw A City Invincible (Detail)

Artists: Cesar Viveros, 2005

The official motto of Camden, NJ is "In a Dream, I Saw a City Invincible"; A line from the Walt Whitman poem I Dream'd in a Dream. It's ironic that Camden turned out to be the poorest and one of the most violent cities in the United States. In 2010, Chris Hedges wrote an informative article titled City of Ruins, explaining what happened to this "invincible city". Camden, NJ is also one of the subjects of his new book: Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is among the most influential American poets that have ever lived, often referred to as the father of the free verse. Near the end of his life, he moved to Camden, NJ, and died there. A wake held at his Camden home was attended by over a thousand in three hours.

Walt Whitman has been called the first American poet of democracy. In 1856, he wrote to the men of the South: "you are either to abolish slavery or it will abolish you". He grieved the assassination death of Abraham Lincoln in his poem, O Captain! My Captain!:
  • 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.
You may remember this scene from the 1989 film Dead Poets Society starring Robin Williams. A "must see", if you haven't seen it.

Song of the Day: When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd (Apparition) - George Crumb (1979)
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