Friday, 6 December 2013

Day 504: RIP Nelson Mandela


'I am the master of my fate:/ I am the captain of my soul.' 

I've posted this poem before of course, but I'll post it again today in remembrance of Nelson Mandela who died yesterday. A man of indomitable strength and courage, wisdom and compassion, an icon for peace now and evermore, one of humanity's greatest ambassadors.

'Invictus' is the now famous poem he was inspired by when he was in prison on Robben Island for 27 years. He had it written on a scrap of paper in his prison cell and would read it to fellow prisoners to inspire morale. It became the name of the 2009 Clint Eastwood film about the leader's bid to unite the country with its rugby team. It also became an easy synonymn for strength. The word itself, fittingly, means  'unconquerable'.  

Here is a poem that is a testament to the power of poetry, the power of the human spirit, and the power of this extraordinary man.

Invictus - 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. 

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