September 28, 2007

Invictus

Posted in Randumb at 11:41 am by Iram

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.

–William Ernest Henley

1 Comment »

  1. tom said,

    Another poem for you, this one to illustrate how even the conquerers can lose. A WW I poet this time, as a group, some of the best poets ever produced. Granted, most of them died… This one didn’t, and went on to great fame, though not as a poet. His pen name for this publication was Clive Hamilton. A life-long friend of J. R.R. Tolkien, if that helps.

    French Nocturne (Monchy-Le-Preux)

    Long leagues on either hand the trenches spread
    And all is still; now even this gross line
    Drinks in the frosty silences divine
    The pale, green moon is riding overhead.

    The jaws of a sacked village, stark and grim;
    Out on the ridge have swallowed up the sun,
    And in one angry streak his blood has run
    To left and right along the horizon dim.

    There comes a buzzing plane: and now, it seems
    Flies straight into the moon. Lo! where he steers
    Across the pallid globe and surely nears
    In that white land some harbour of dear dreams!

    False mocking fancy! Once I too could dream,
    Who now can only see with vulgar eye
    That he’s no nearer to the moon than I
    And she’s a stone that catches the sun’s beam.

    What call have I to dream of anything?
    I am a wolf. Back to the world again,
    And speech of fellow-brutes that once were men.
    Our throats can bark for slaughter: cannot sing.


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