Out of the night 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.
It was written by William Ernest Henley in 1875 when he was in a hospital bed after having his foot amputated because of tuberculosis. It is about remaining strong despite incredible adversity. I find the poem to be very inspiring. You may know it from the movie Invictus with Morgan Freeman about Nelson Mandela, who read this poem during his imprisonment on Robben Island.
I have traveled to Robben Island a few years ago. Seeing where Mandela ate, where he slept and where he worked for over 27 years of imprisonment was very impressive.
Here is a clip from the movie where Freeman recites the poem as Matt Damon visits the island: