Invictus: A Poem to Inspire. In these uncertain times of unrest, I often call to mind things that inspire me. Ways to help bring a sense of hope and perspective, to look beyond the uncertainty— the ‘new normal’ in social distancing and the stand against racism, with a bigger perspective, more confident view. To open up a wider understanding— as we respect the distancing, as we listen to one another, and learn from one another—we ultimately grow with one another. My hope is that through all of these unsettling times we can ultimately come together and stand strong as Americans, united.
I looked back to this past December, when I wrote this piece.
I have a morning ritual of drinking coffee, reading a couple chosen articles from the newspaper and if I’m lucky enough time to journal a few pages. This morning was one of those mornings. I probably came into this habit through observing my dad for so many years. He was an academic who was a fierce reader. Today, is the 5th anniversary since he went to heaven. And today, I feel he gave me a gift from one of his favorite newspapers to read, the Wall Street Journal.
A Prescription of Poetry was the article I read today. It talks about how poetry can help patients spark a stream of consciousness through the written word of poetry. How patients can process what is going on in their life and perhaps help with the healing. The article quotes a famous poem, Invictus (which unbeknown to me) was written by William Henley back in the 1800’s. I was so inspired that I had to look up the poem and learn more.
I was excited to also find that the poem was published on the day of my birth, Nov 26th, 1888 (13 years after he wrote it). I feel a special connection to this poem and feel perhaps my dad’s birthday gift to me, of courage. And, so I pass the gift on to you.
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.
Listen to Elizabeth read the poem on video at
Elizabeth Irvine: nurse, educator, jewelry designer and award-winning author. She is the founder and owner of Truewellbeing Inc. — visit her website to purchase her books and intentional jewelry and sign up for soulful workshops and retreats around the world. www.elizabethirvine.com.