Tuesday, 2 April 2013

New feature: Fighting Talk

This is the first post in what will be a weekly reoccurring source of encouragement and inspiration for my readers. I've always found words to be incredibly powerful. Words have the power to destroy, or to build up, a person. When I need to be inspired, I look for quotes, or bible verses, and use them to build me up and protect me. I use them like a shield to block any negativity which comes my way. 

From now on, at the beginning of each week, I'm going to post on here some words to inspire and encourage so that you can shield yourselves against inner and outer critics, and begin your week with momentum.

This week's post


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.

By William Henley

This poem by William Henley has become very well known. Famously, Nelson Mandela recited it to himself in prison when he needed to find strength. By posting this, I'm not being very original. I expect many of you have heard it before. If you haven't then I'm delighted to be the one to share it with you. I wonder, however, how many of you know the story behind the poem?

William Henley wrote this after losing his legs to tuberculosis. "Black as the pit from pole to pole" refers directly to his amputated leg and artificial replacement. In addition to this, Henley, by this point, had lost his entire family to the illness.

For me, knowing that this is the background to the poem gives his words additional power. If he can speak of an unconquerable soul after enduring such hardship, then so can I, no matter what the world can throw at me. This poem inspires me to keep on fighting, no matter what blows I take or hardships that fall on me. He inspires me to overcome depression, illness and the pressures of being a carer. Despite these obstacles  I will continue to fight to achieve great things. My head will be bloody but unbowed.

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