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.
Invictus, William Earnest Henley
I had found this poem not long after recovering from an extensive and life changing back surgery, when I was 12 yrs old. In no time I remember it word for word (keep in mind I've often forgotten my own phone number) and to this day I can recite it at the asking.
The poem inspired me-made me feel stronger and made my situation feel more real while making it also more manageable. Back then it had made me feel less alone. The irony in that is it took me 22 years to research the writer and find he'd wrote this from his own hospital bed, recovering from a amputation--the result of a illness he was diagnosed with when he was 12. Maybe a century separated us but his words had been there for me when I truly needed them.
How many of you have words that do for you what this poem has done for me--still does? Or a writer thats reached across cultures or time to lend you inspiration?