Sunday, February 08, 2009

Poem: Invictus

by William Ernest Henley; 1849-1903
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. (taking responsibility for one’s destiny by William Ernest Henley)

I remember the day just like it was yesterday. I was in the tenth grade and for extra credit we could memorize and recite "poems". I chose Invictus, For many many many years I used this poem as my "mantra for life" . Then , one day I had a moment of clarity, an insight. I had been beaten in the game of life and hadn't died (close though). I became willing to rely on a God of my "no" understanding for direction. So, how do I look at this poem today? First, I am not covered by night I live in the sunshine. I believe there is just one God but he/she/or whatever has a lot of names. "Fell clutch of circumstance" is just life on lifes terms. I have winced and cried aloud. As a matter of fact crying is a "good thing". Today my head isn't bloody but it is bowed with gratitude. Today, life isn't a place of wrath and tears but a place to be of service to my fellow man. Death ,probably not such a bad deal., after all don't caterpillars turn into butterflies. All the years I used this poem as a "manta" I was scared to death. Today I am not. Today I know I am not master of my fate nor am "I" captain of my soul. What "I" must do is rightlly align my will with God's will and let him be both master and captain. In doing this I have found, for me, life is good and I have the promise; "everything is going to be ok".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so strange. I know that we have both referred to this poem before, but I didn't know you had used this for a class. I used this poem for my 10th grade class. I remember writing in my journal that I felt that I could relate to this poem. I remember my teache responding by asking how I fel I related to it. Well, looking back, I didn't relate to it. I just liked the poem. I still do like it, but I can relate to it now.