This morning on the Tube, I read the first stanza of William Blake’s Augeries of Innocence on the Poems of the
Underground poster. It reminded me of my favourite poem by Blake, which I learned of by heart in my melodramatic teenage years (13-16yrs) but which over time has become more and more clear to me.
Tonight I saw Invictus the story of Mandela and the Springboks ( the SA rugby team). The story evolves around the political times and situation in 1995’s South Africa – the year of the Rugby Worldcup. Mr Mandela understood very well how important Rugby could be for his divided country and his active support led to a unity no one could have imagined five years previously. Now,I don’t know anything about rugby because the Dutch don’t play it. I also think Afrikaans is funny and if we all speak slowly the Dutch and the Afrikaners can understand each other thanks to the roots of their language, but it does take a very good-looking man to pull of the accent!
Matt Damon gave it a shot though and I applaud him ( Morgan, you know you are great, still the accent slipped when you spoke fast. Guessing they did this because it would have been even a longer movie otherwise: a fast speaker Mr Mandela is not.) Yet despite all the above and the slight over-egging (the music, the scene with child and cops, Clint was directing it and he does have a sense of drama dahlin’) it was a very engaging film. It painted a very touching picture of a country in a time of turmoil when it really could do with a lift and some inspiration.
I fully accept parts were dramatized for the effect, one of them being Matt as Francois Pienaar who in real life is about a ft taller than him. (Yet it still wasn’t as bad as Tom Cruise in Top Gun.) Another significant thing is the poem Invictus which Mandela gives to Pienaar as inspiration, it supposedly helped him through 30 years of imprisonment. It is in debate whether this actually took place, though it is known that the poem was real for Mandela.
Invictus by William Ernest Henley, tells about strenght of man: the master of his own fate and the captain of his soul. Nelson Mandela has obviously embraced this thought and has started to personify it. Which leads me back to my memory of this morning: just four simple lines, easy to remember and reflect upon now we are nearing Ash Wednesday.
One day, what seems a long time ago now, I wrote a post about ignoring love until it stopped hurting me. Today the combination of the poem and the film and no doubt the passing of time, made me realise that it was never love itself that had hurt me. The pain stopped.
For all the faults I have, for all up and downs in faith I experience, and for all the fat lot of good it may do me amongst the cynics and the critics, I still believe in these four lines:
Love seeketh not itself to please
Nor for itself hath any care
But for another gives its ease
And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair