Author Topic: Invictus  (Read 915 times)

Offline Steve C

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« on: October 21, 2011, 09:29:29 AM »
I watched the film 'Invictus' the other day. It is a film about the South African rugby team and Nelson Mandelas quest to help unite South Africa through rugby. A great film starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. A link to a page describing the film.

The reason for the post here is the history behind 'Invictus'. Invictus is a poem by englishman William Ernest Henley and written in 1875.

Mandela was so inspired by this poem that he wrote it on a piece of scratch paper and kept it in his prison cell while he was incarcerated for 27 years. The movie Invictus (film) presented more information on Mandela's thoughts of Henley's poem, as the movie is based on his life. Mandela even admitted that he probably would not have made it through the long years in prison if it weren't for the words of this English poet.

The reason behind the poem.
At the age of 12, Henley fell victim to tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate directly below the knee. It was amputated when he was 17. Stoicism inspired him to write this poem. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.
Taken from

The poem itself:

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.

A truly inspiring poem. Something to read when the leg is acting up or really anytime life seems to throw a 'curveball'. The fact that it was written by an amputee makes it even more poignant for me.
Where ever I go, I'll always have one foot in Ireland   /   I'm not a complete fool. Some parts are missing.

Offline ann

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Re: Invictus
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2011, 08:39:51 PM »
    Everyday I find something else enticing about you FRIEND.    ;)