William Ernest Henley began to write poetry at the age of twelve, when he was confined to his hospital bed following the amputation of his leg. Best known for Invictus, Henley continued to write poetry on the theme of inner strength and perseverance.
Please search for the full poem in an anthology or at your local library.
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 bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Listen to Dana Ivey read Invictus at The Poetry Foundation.
Most quoted is the line from Invictus, “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul” which has inspired much popular culture. Nelson Mandela read the poem to his fellow inmates at Robben Island prison, as portrayed in the Clint Eastwood film, Invictus.
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Read these other excerpts and find a new poet to love:-
‘A thousand years, you said’ by Lady Heguri
‘Winter Song’ by Wilfred Owen
‘Not Waving but Drowning’ by Stevie Smith
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A #poem to read in the bath: ‘Invictus’ by WE Henley https://wp.me/p5gEM4-4bR via @SandraDanby