Inspired by writers whose words become my own

To write is to risk. It is creation just as tangible a product as a painting or sculpture. I've found inspiration, solace and hope in the writings of those who risked.

It occurs to me that as we read a poem or an essay that has found renown - we see only the words presented by the author. The circumstances that formed the thoughts that moved the author to write the work are unknown. This is a gift - it allows us to adopt the words as our own.

The following poem is one that inspires me:

Invictus by William Ernest Henry

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.

I have no idea what challenges faced William Henry - but believe the night that covered him, "the black pit" - was as real as any I may face. For the unalienable gift of freedom - and to be the captain of my soul - I'm grateful, and for his poem that reminds me that the decision surrounding my fate is my own.

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