Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Invictus

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

My grandfather quoted the last two lines from this poem several times in the hospital on Sunday, which is the last time I visited him. "Invictus" is Latin for "undefeated." My grandfather, who survived the horrors of the Holocaust and made his way to England as a little boy without any family, who never went to school and yet became a powerful orator, and who has struggled with many things throughout his life, always kept his mind and wishes his own. He was always undefeated - always the master of his fate, the captain of his soul.

I will miss you, Saba.

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