As we are getting ready to present you with the winner of our October Poetry Challenge about fear – later this month-, we are also covering some of the scariest poems ever written. This time we introduce the work of William Ernest Henley (1849-1903). This is his poem Invictus. This poem may not be the most scary poem there is, but it is about fear and conquering your fear.
About our Poetry Challenge
At the end of the month, on Halloween (31-10-2017), we will announce the winner of our Poetry Challenge about fear. You can enter too! Submit your work to us, we look forward reading this!
About the poet
William Ernest Henley was born on August 23 1849 in Gloucester (England). He is well known for his poem Invictus, a poem he wrote in 1875. Fighting his disease, tuberculosis, made it possible for him to write this poem. Invictus means uncoquerable.
This poem is certainly not the only poem written by the late-Victorian poet. He was also an editor of literary magazines and journals. He wrote reviews about the work of others and placed his mark on the literary world at his time.
Henley died of tuberculosis on July 11 1903.
About the poem
When you are faced with darkness, there must be a way out. Darkness causes fear and there is need to fight. That is what the poet wants us to tell us and that is why we found this poem to be fit for our Month of fear. It might not be the most scary poem there is.
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