Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Beyond this place of wrath and tears": Invictus

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

Jim and Dan and I went to see "Invictus" yesterday. It's the story of how Nelson Mandela enlisted the Springbok rugby captain François Pienaar to help unite South Africans as the team battled for the Rugby
World Cup. If you have to pick one film to see this holiday season, make it this one. Take your teenagers, too. The rugby players drop the F bomb a few times (really?), but it's not excessive. Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman give strong, understated performances, especially Damon. It's based on a book called Playing the Enemy by John Carlin. I'm off on Saturday to buy it at the bookstore.

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