Originally published January 3, 2015. Funny. I had that One Hundred and One Famous Poems with a Prose Supplement laying on my desk for a few weeks and almost every time I picked it up, I read this poem.
Why am I quoting so much poetry, you may wonder. Two reasons. 1) That’s just the way it is. I mean, like, umm… I dunno. There just happens to be a lot of poetry laying around the joint lately. B) I need to learn how to format poetry– because I do quote poetry from time to time, don’t you know?– in WordPress using code so it appears as I wish.
Invictus by William Earnest Henley is a poem brought to my attention by Miss M. She asked if I could find it in any of my crappy old books and indeed I did in The Book of Knowledge: The Children’s Encyclopedia (The Grolier Society, 1954, Volume 5 in the section titled, “Poems of Courage”).
I have no idea why Miss M was interested in this particular poem this afternoon but it’s a good one for a rainy, stormy day at the start of the new year.
Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods there be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced or cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.