My friend, Brian, is in the terminal cancer zone but he is handling it well. Recently his family chipped together and bought him a wheelchair made from the latest lightweight material. You could lift it with a finger. He is so agile now he is talking of upper-body strength. Last week he texted the family and said he was going to take up a new sport and asked if anyone had a basket ball.

I love that. There is one poem that links to Brian and that is “Invictus” which translated from Latin means “undefeated.” It was written by William Ernest Henley who lived just over the border in Gloucestershire. He suffered from TB when he was young and would have lost a leg had he not fought against his doctor. A Scottish doctor, Lister, subsequently saved his leg. The analogies in the poem were used by Churchill and Obama but the most well-known is Mandela who was inspired by the poem.

There is always a place in our lives for special poems for special occasions and “Invictus” is one for when you feel pressured, down, invaded by illness. Here are a few lines to get you started:

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.

First published in Swindon Link

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