i pulled a book off my shelf yesterday.
one i had given to an older gentleman.
after he died,
i brought it home with me.
i had forgotten that in the clearing out of his possessions,
i had slipped three poems of his inside the book.
not ones he’d written himself,
but ones he’d saved and had stashed away.
two are love poems.
sorrowful ones of love lost.
knowing a little bit of his history,
i found them very moving.
he was a bachelor his whole life.
and he died all alone.
but he had loved –
and he had told me a little bit about it.
his life was definitely one of hardship.
so when i read this last poem –
the non-love poem –
the only one written in his own handwriting,
i just sat with it and thought how strong he had been
and how hard he had worked at surviving.
the poem itself is inspirational.
i am pretty sure we all know it.
but when i tossed in who had written it down
and who had saved it –
i was even more inspired.
wanted to leave it here for all of us today.
a little reminder that we are the captains
of our souls…
thinking of you, ed.
and toasting you.
by 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.