In the summer of 2002 I started reading a lot of poetry. One of those struck me in my head and helped me through many a tough times, helped me achieve many things. A taut and liberating piece of writing. It became a source of inspiration, it motivated me. I wrote about my life here, here and over here. These posts don't tell everything about me but they would give you a good idea about me. Most of you might be thinking "how can a poetry do that?" but let me tell you that simple words have amazing strength in them. We read so many 'inspirational' things here and there but how many of us think about them? How many of us implement those 'suggestions' in our life? A month after I read this poem our school re-opened and we had this Independence Day Function. By then I had never actively taken part in anything that was on stage and one of my teachers asked me to take up the role of Ranger in the Little Red Riding Hood play my class was doing. I told my teacher that I will get my parents' permission first and will let her know then. I remember coming home and reading that poem and it took me an hour or so of reading it again and again before I could let go of my stage-fright. I said yes to my teacher next day and when we did that play we even got the 'Best Performance' award, the whole cast got it. That day onwards this poem has helped me find motivation to do a lot of things.
At the age of 12, Henley fell victim to tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate directly below the knee. It was amputated when he was 17. Stoicism inspired him to write this poem. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.
Here it is:
|Out of the night that covers me,|
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor 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.
Invictus - William Ernest Henley (1875)
And here is a short note about the author:
- Source: Wikipedia
Those of you who watched Clint Eastwood's movie about Nelson Mandela titled 'Invictus' (the same title as that of the poem) must have heard this in the movie. It is said that Mandela was inspired by it when in incarceration. In the movie they show it when Mandela sends South African Rugby Team to visit the prison he was contained in. Good movie, must watch!
That's all for now, hope you like it and get it's meaning and that it might be useful for you too.