From the “I Wish I’d Written That” Department — On December 29, 2020, The Writer’s Almanac ( reprinted one of the all-time great poems, Invictus by William Ernest Henley. This is painted on the wall of the in-school suspension classroom at the high school where I substitute teach. It’s a good way to end the year.

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.

“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley is now in the public domain. Henley’s works can be purchased at this link.

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