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.


Wow, what an inspirational poem. You are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul. Only you can achieve what you want to achieve!

This poem was featured in the movie “Invictus” about Nelson Mandela and the South African rugby team that overcame many challenges to win the 1995 World Cup on its home ground and inspired a nation. In the movie, Nelson Mandela gives the poem to Francois Pienaar, the captain of the rugby team. It is meant to inspire him, just as this poem inspired Nelson Mandela, while he was in jail. Nelson Mandela did indeed often read this poem while in jail at Robben Island, however the poem that he gave to Pienaar was instead a passage from the speech of US President Theodore Roosevelt, called “A Man in the Arena”.

Let the above words inspire you to take things into your own hands and achieve greatness!


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