Invictus | Unbeaten

“Invictus” Latin for “unbeaten” is the name of a poem, written by British poet William Henley, in 1875 whilst in recovering hospital after having his foot amputated because of the tuberculosis he had suffered.

The poem figures in the 2009 film  Invictus , directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, as Nelson Mandela.

During his incarceration, Mandela had used the poem to motivate himself and fellow prisoners and in the film, he gifts a handwritten copy to François Pienaar, the “Springboks” captain – The Springboks go on to win the Rugby World Cup, in 1995.

The poem  was also used in the film Casablanca, in 1942 and in Kings Row, in 1945.


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.

Whatever words you use to provide drive to your life, just get that you are here, now and that here and now, you are unbeaten

Stay Great BE Awesome

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I was in conversation with Jo recently and she sent me a copy of her poem.
She said
“It was really strange how the poem came to me.  It was about 15 years ago. I woke up at 4am scribbled it down and went back to sleep.  It won an international poetry competition. “

Jo Dean lives on the Isle of Man and wrote her first novel ‘Forty Not Famous’ when she moved back to the Island in 2002.
Whilst Jo stresses that all of her characters are fictional, she admits that many people she has known have provided inspiration for her work.
We all know a ‘Charlie’ or a ‘Henrietta’ and I am sure we have all met a ‘Mr Wrong’ or even a ‘Mr Wrong Again.’

Jo with family friend Chris De Burgh



I am drawn from other people’s images;
the fleeting touches
of those passing
through my existence,
leaving traces of their expressions
etched upon my face.

Some are butterfly wings
gently caressing my dreams,
others knife wounds
leaving scars of truth
which frequently weep
and cannot be grafted
by new experience.

I am painted and masked
with the foundation
of my dreams;
sprinkled with a collage
of dust streaked
with desire;
daubed from
a hardened palette.

The watercolours of my life
are washed over
in layers of moonshine,
starlight and cobalt blue;
until they seep into rainbows
and the canvas of tomorrow
is painted from a million todays.

by Jo Grey