We all have off days, or times when we feel down and depressed. We have our own ways of coping with these dark times in our lives. For me I turn to poetry to pull me out of my funk. One particular favourite of mine is the superbly inspirational “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley a poem borne out of the author’s battle with tuberculosis which after several years he sadly lost.
The poem recurred in the popular consciousness after the Clint Eastwood film depicting the events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa and the dramatized relationship between President Nelson Mandela and Springbok (SA rugby team) captain Francois Pienaar. The poem inspired Nelson Mandela during his captivity on Robben Island and from my point of view it is easy to see why. The poem has a unique ability to lift ones spirits however far they may have fallen.
So next time things are not going well for you and you feel disheartened read this poem and let yourself be lifted up and inspired:
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 bludgeoning 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.