I’m a sucker for subtlety;
for the allure of alliteration.
And yet sometimes, I speak far too much. I utilize many more words and syllables than I really should, employing wordiness and verbosity when simplicity and conciseness would actually, most certainly, suffice.
I settle on cliches when I lack an original thought.
I put my foot in my mouth when, really, I ought
to bite my tongue.
I saw Maya Angelou speak at the Phillips Center earlier this year and she recited this poem.
She shared the story of when her son phoned after he’d had a major surgery and asked her to speak it to him.
Memorize poems to store in your head and access in times of trouble, she said.
At the time I memorized this one.
Invictus by William E. Henley
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.