O Magazine Readers' Favorite Poems
A few years ago, I discovered that my birth mother was married with three children. As I have all my life, I was so angry that I had endured such pain and suffering, that I told myself to forget the past and simply move on; just accept my fate like a grown woman. Nevertheless, the simple task has never been an easy one.
Recently, I was nearly bankrupt from the loss of my job and bad business dealings. Not to mention an extremely rare disease called anencephaly robbed my daughter of life on earth. Now with all that's transpired, I am struggling to move forward. On my bad days when I'm laying lifeless in bed, I read a poem that inspired Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment. It was written to R. T. Hamilton Bruce by William Ernest Henley, called Invictus.
—Submitted by Christine Evans, Leonia, NJ
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.
—William Ernest Henley