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.
- William Ernest Henley, 1849–1903
~ "Invictus" is a short poem by the British poet William Ernest Henley, which is the source of a number of familiar clichés and quotations. The title is Latin for "unconquerable." In this piece, Henley gave the world the familiar phrases "my head is bloody, but unbowed" and "I am the master of my fate". These lines have been quoted many times by people who may not realize the source. It was first published in 1875.
This prose was one of the first I ever learnt by heart. And it went on to inspire me to want to write poetry as beautiful and as touching... It really was my first ever inspiration (in many ways)!
in-Joy : I AM.
ps - I hardly ever include works by other poets here on my blog, but seeing as this one was a primary inspiration for this budding poet...I felt it imperative and respectful to include it here.