Poems men should know – part 1 – Invictus

Invictus” is a short poem by English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). It’s something I come back to from time to time. I find it quite settling and imagine that its words have the power to stir up even the most weary souls!

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.

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