This poem makes me feel so powerful. The words flow so amazingly. Go on, try reading it out loud. It just sounds so good!
You probably know the last two sentences, they are quite well-known. They’re also one of my favourite quotes. It’s something I’d consider for a tattoo, so who knows 😉 one day…
About the poem:
In 1875 one of Henley’s legs required amputation due to complications arising from tuberculosis. Immediately after the amputation he was told that his other leg would require a similar procedure. He chose instead to enlist the services of the distinguished surgeon Joseph Lister, who was able to save Henley’s remaining leg after multiple surgical interventions on the foot.
While recovering in the infirmary, he was moved to write the verses that became “Invictus”. This period of his life, coupled with recollections of an impoverished childhood, were primary inspirations for the poem, and play a major role in its meaning.