The real message behind 'Invictus' the poem by William Ernest Henley
17th December 2017
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.
We all know the final verse of this poem, but the words throughout it, pull me up to remind me that we are not alone when we struggle with difficulties. Every single one of us on this planet has hard times. You may be going through a divorce, or feeling anxious/depressed about not meeting the bills, or feeling fearful of attackers, or a painful death at the end of a long illness. Henley, the author, wrote Invictus (Latin meaning: Unconquered), as he struggled through his own pain. His childhood was poor and his leg was amputated leg because of tuberculosis.
You may know of the film of the same name, where Morgan Freeman portrays Nelson Mandela. The book ‘Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation’, written by John Carlin, was about the South African Rugby team in the Rugby World Cup. Nelson Mandela read it to fellow prisoners and drew hope from it, when there was none. If you feel, as a writer you cannot change anything, think on those words. Ultimately, those words inspired a fractured nation to join together in joy. I urge you to read the book, or watch the film Invictus.
It just goes to show that when life gets tough, there is always that little light of hope. Inside every one of us there is that small part that will be unconquered.
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