April 15 quatrain
Taxes in the mail
today without fail.
To the government
is where the money's sent.
The Dangerous Book for Boys, a book Ken and I found rather random given its many weeks as a bestseller, lists the poem Invictus as one every boy should be familiar with.
I recall it as being one of the poems that was xeroxed and taped to the bathroom stalls in our dorm at Simmons. I guess someone thought girls ought to be familiar with it as well. More recently the poem gained notoriety as Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeighs final statement prior to his execution.
I read one website that described Invictus as being poet William Ernest Henley's "one hit." It's funny to think of poets as one hit wonders, but I guess for every Emily Dickinson there's the poetical equivalent of Alan O'Day.
"I said, what?"
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.