What Gives You Courage?

Here is the poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley. During Mandela's twenty-seven years of imprisonment, he was empowered by its affirmation of the "unconquerable soul," and often recited it to other prisoners:


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
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.


To paraphrase two lines from a poem by Auden in memory of Yeats, "Earth, receive an honoured guest/Mandela has been laid to rest"...