INVICTUS - by William Ernest Henley
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.
Not long ago, there was a man who was sentenced to life in prison. The conditions were such that he had no bed and very little communication with the outside world and he was forced to spend many a day chiseling away at the rocks in a lime quarry under the hot and oppressive sun. These are conditions that would have broken any man's spirit. Yet this man endured because in his heart he knew that he served a greater purpose.
In his cramped cell, he would unfold a piece of scrap paper from which he read the poem INVICTUS. It was these powerful words that inspired him to carry on, to endure, and to eventually live out his life's purpose.
This man is Nelson Mandela.
We all have struggles. We all experience hardships. These are our prisons. Use this poem as Mandela did and let it inspire you. For no prison exists that can hold the spirit of man.
So long as we live and act with a sense of purpose, we too can endure.
***This article was originally published on Monday, December 14, 2009 in my old blog NewSchoolBiz.com***