Have you heard of an English poet named William Ernest Henley? I was 15 when I was introduced to his “Invictus” in Miss Lorena E. Fry’s English Class in high school. Now that was a very long time ago, it was the era of World War II, or as many of today’s collegians say, “W.W. Eleven” ( you know I’m speaking the truth ). I thought of Henley as totally in control , evinced by his most powerful poetic conclusion as follows:
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.
Wow ! I’ve quoted that composition for close to 70 years, actually it became my personal mantra. Ask my children, they’ve heard it enough I’m sure, and one of them can recite it by rote! Imagine that through these years of adulation. I was made aware that this multi-talented genius possessed “feet of clay” and is believed to have ended his own life ! That shines a new light on his words and causes me to revisit his works with a different perspective, a deeper meaning. Will you join me? Or accept it for what it is, his heroic creed!