Paxtonvic’s Blog

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Day off!

Which means I will let myself play a little with some “free flow activity”. Heres a little poem I found by an English poet I’d not heard of before called William Ernest Henley- it was published in 1875 and is called  Invictus – Latin for invincible.

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.

It helps to put the poem in the context in which it was written – and here is a bit about the circumstances Henley was in when he wrote it:

“At the age of 12, Henley became a victim of tuberculosis of the bone. In spite of this, in 1867 he successfully passed the Oxford local examination as a senior student. His diseased foot had to be amputated directly below the knee. Henley persevered and survived with one foot intact. He was discharged in 1875, and was able to lead an active life for nearly 30 years despite his disability. With an artificial foot, he lived until the age of 53. “Invictus” was written from a hospital bed despite Henley’s condition. (Thanks  to Wikipedia)

Brave man. Reading the poem, there doesnt seem to be much self pity around but a strong sense of wiming through despite the distress he was in.

I wonder what a Christian response to the poem might be? Do we believe we are the captains of our souls?

I often wonder about the characters and lives of those buried in our churchyards – each was an individual with a life story, joys and fears and hopes. I rejoice that particularly older stones  can vary much  in appearance and age of course gives them added individuality. Each of us who ever has lived or who is living is precious to God – as is our individuality and character. May we rejoice in it!

stones in GP churchyard

Stones in Great Paxton Churchyard – inscriptions now unreadable.

June 12, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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