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"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley, 1875


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.

Poem Club Wednesday: This Floating World of Sorrow

On like an apple

don’t go geese! everywhere it’s a floating world of sorrow

That is the Issa haiku that is the subject of poem club today. And now for the discussion of the four poem club questions: (1) do I like the poem, (2) why or why not, (3) do i like other poetry by this author, and (4) is this poem connected to other poetry I am interested in.

1. I like this poem so much I am considering having it tattooed on my chest. Just kidding, but I do wish I'd written it. Because...

2. Issa captures exactly the fleeting impermanence of life and its calm center of beauty and truth. The stillness of recognizing love and loss as one inseparable experience, the fact that the only permanent aspect of existence is impermanence. Maitri, saudade, the dewdrop-like elusiveness of happiness, whatever you want to call it. The good stuff.

On top of that, I have a powerful and strange relationship with birds, which I used to hate and which I now love. So the geese get me.

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