June 30th, 2010:

Two Powerful Poems

I enjoy good poetry–poetry that speaks to you. It can be a reminder to keep you going, despite your challenges. Or something that just makes you feel wonderful. I’ve loved Robert Frost’s poems since college, especially the one below because it reminds me that I took a road in life that was unique and just for me. And it has made all the difference.

The other poem is a powerful one from a 19th century English poet, William Ernest Henley. Many of my readers may know the last two lines. I was inspired by watching the great movie Invictus (also the name of the poem). Morgan Freeman plays the indomitable and courageous Nelson Mandela in this movie about the World Cup for Rugby in the mid ’90s that was held in South Africa. It also reminded me of the current World Cup.


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

INVICTUS — 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 straight 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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