Each week I pray that my inscription insights wisdom, knowledge, and purpose amongst my readers. It matters to me whom I reach through my life experience. For me this is not a hobby, but directly tied to my purpose. I aim to inspire before I expire through my weekly discourse. This week I am inspired by one of the most profound poems I’ve ever read: Invictus by William Earnest Henley. “Invictus” means UNDEFEATED. This poem takes you down the path of the unconquerable believer. The figurative language paints a picture of both strife and triumph. No, we have no control over the circumstances we are born into. But you determine how you want to operate within your life once you have the ability and knowledge to fiend for yourself. Defeat should never result in your head being bowed. It should result in your brand being birthed. You close the final curtain.

Ironically and unfortunately Henley was in the hospital fighting Pott’s disease when he penned this poetic prose. It reads:

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.

 The last two lines of the poem are the most powerful to me. I remember hearing those very two lines at a Black History play in grade school. Of course, back then, I had no clue what those words truly meant. I was reintroduced to the poem again in college. I connected with it more but not in the sense of applying the message to my own life. Currently, in the English classes I teach, we are studying poetry. I assigned the students to bring in a poem that has inspired them at a point in time. The students had to annotate the poem and then recite for the class. They also had to provide the inspiration behind it. One of my shyest scholars couldn’t wait to read her poem to the class. Because she was always so quiet, I was shocked to learn that she wanted to go first. After reciting the poem, the class gave her standing ovations and applause! She then announced to the class that her mom used to recite the poem to her when they were homeless.

She said she didn’t understand what it meant then, but after analyzing it for her project, she understood what her mom was trying to instill in her. She was preparing her for the pains that would allow her to walk into her purpose.

Know that the fight is already in you. You have every piece of artillery needed to win this battle of life. You compete with no one but yourself!


By Dr. Avis Foley

Co-Publisher, Purpose Weekly 

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