Invictus: How Does Art Inspire?

The new movie Invictus describes a portion of the journey of Nelson Mandela and how he used the South Africa rugby team to help unify his country.

But while I look forward to seeing the movie, the title caused me to stop and pondered how the Arts affect everyone.

This is the poem that inspired Nelson Mandela through decades of imprisonment to continue the fight against apartheid.


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

It is also the poem that spoke to his heart so deeply that Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, submitted it as his last statement prior to execution.

Amazing how the same words can have such deeply different impacts on people.


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