Monday, December 14, 2009

Strenght of Character

I saw the new Clint Eastwood movie "Invictus" this weekend and it was very, very good. Even accounting for literary license and romanticism, Nelson Mandela is one impressive, compassionate, and courageous leader. I must admit that I have not done much to acquaint myself with his history, other that the things that were newsworthy with the abolition of Apartheid. I plan on correcting that deficiency!

The movie, featuring Morgan Friedman in a Oscar-worthy performance as Mr. Mandela, derives its title from a poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley, who lost his foot to tuberculosis and (according to Wikipedia) wrote this very powerful reflection on the human condition.


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.

All I can say is "wow". I know; inadequate and banal but heartfelt. I am not much for poetry, but the emotions in this work really connected with me at a visceral level. And it seems to perfectly apply to Mr. Mandela, who emerged from a 27-year imprisonment to go on and lead South Africa out of the darkness of Apartheid into Integration! Go see the movie.....

With thanks to Wikipedia!

1 comment:

C R Krieger said...

Strength of character.  Twenty-seven years in prison—a third of an average person's life.  Mr Mandela does show strength of character.  And to emerge without the bitterness that could have ruined the transition is a testament to his own moral development.

Regards  —  Cliff