Famous Inspirational Poem

We are the master of our destiny. We are responsible for our own happiness. This famous inspirational poem charges us to accept responsibility for our lives no matter our circumstances. Invictus in Latin means unconquered.
William Ernest Henley (1849-1903), an English Poet, had one of his legs amputated at the age of 17. The poem, which he wrote while healing from the amputation, is a testimony to his refusal to let his handicap disrupt his life. Indeed, he led a meaningful life as a poet and editor until he passed away at age 53.

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I was hurt very badly many years ago and wound up in a wheelchair for years after being told I'd never walk again. At first I was very depressed about it and wound up addicted to pain meds....

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William Ernest Henley By more William Ernest Henley

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.



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Has this poem touched you? Share your story!
  • Sherry Busche by Sherry Busche
  • 1 year ago

I was hurt very badly many years ago and wound up in a wheelchair for years after being told I'd never walk again. At first I was very depressed about it and wound up addicted to pain meds. For years I was useless...to my kids, my family and friends and most of all to myself. Then something happened that was to change my life again...this time positively. I had eaten my way up to 300 pounds to top it off. I was watching a spiritual program and the pastor recited this poem. I had read it many years ago but never really got it...til that very moment. I've been walking, dancing, doing my own housework, and attending college for almost 2 years now. I am 59 years young. And lost over 150 pounds! I implore everyone to read and explain it if necessary...don't wait for all the years I did. Godspeed.

  • GeMa by GeMa
  • 1 year ago

Oh Wow, the poem gave me goosebumps. The back-story about William and the poem resonates with each and every one of us who have been and gone through hardships and heartbreaks, yet we live apologetically and laugh unconquerably. Oh yes, I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul!

  • Anne Smith by Anne Smith
  • 2 years ago

I am a very proud Mancunian, and consider myself to be a Lancashire Lass through and through. In recent days our largest indoor concert venue the Manchester Arena was attacked by a bomber, targeting youngsters having a fun night out. Those not killed have been left with horrific injuries, and many will have had the future they dreamed of snuffed out in a matter of seconds. When I heard the news, the words of this poem popped into my head, along with Kipling's IF. This poem is a timeless classic because it reflects human resilience, not just to survive, but to achieve even greater success.

  • Syed Khalid Kamal by Syed Khalid Kamal
  • 2 years ago

I only heard this poem after my arrival in America. English is my second language, and I had to work long and hard to learn it well. I love this poem for it gives me and every human a backbone and resolve not easily broken.

  • Catherine Soper by Catherine Soper
  • 3 years ago

In 9th grade English class we had to memorize this poem and then sometime during the year our teacher could stop us anywhere and we would have to recite it. That would be 35 years ago and I still can recite it to this day. It reminds me to always be my best no matter what.

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