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.
This was an easy one for me to pick for Josh; he actually picked it himself.
A couple of years ago I had shared it as a Quote of the Week (even though it is a poem), and it seemed to touch him. So much so that he read it over and over. He talked to me about it. We learned about the connection to Nelson Mandela and talked about it’s meaning in great depth; stanza by stanza.
For his birthday last year, I wrote it up, and had someone create a special “poster” of it for him. He keeps it by his bed. Recently, we decided to start to memorize it together. He suggested that we recite it when we go to the jail Nelson Mandela was in when we are in South Africa this coming March. Love this about this guy. This poem just speaks to him, just touches him. I love sharing memorizing it with him and reciting it with each other over the phone, or while walking to school, or while lying and cuddling in bed at night.
He is the master of his fate. The captain of his soul.