It’s always at this time of year I look back and consider my life, my freedom and what it means to me. People often ask how do I feel, or how can I cope? There are times, especially in the present day, when we all consider our freedom and other people’s suffering in the fight to protect it, especially in times of war.
Freedom comes in many different guises and release from physical pain and illness is freedom too. I might be physically incarcerated but my mind is always free to wander anywhere in the world, to the ancient pyramids, or down to the farmlands of Essex.
When I consider how I personally feel, I often read this poem by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). Invictus, was written during a time when the author felt he too had lost a part of his freedom. For me this work sums up how I feel and I’m sure there are others who can relate to these words, which have a universal message about suffering. So as I enter my thirtieth year of wrongful imprisonment, let's all remember to cherish the freedom we have, even if it is limited to four walls.
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 bludgeoning’s 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.
I am the captain of my soul.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,