(Image captured at Hamlin Fistula Clinic in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo by Lori Dorman.)
Whenever I hear this poem, I think of the women who were strong (and lucky) enough to make it to one of the Hamlin Fistula clinics in Ethiopia after severe birth trauma. These women have been shunned by their community, many have lost their unborn children during labor, and they are left with nothing… but they press on.
(Latin for “unconquered”)
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.