Those in Australia, and other participating nations, would be aware that Sydney just hosted the Invictus Games 2018. The Games website reveals that there is a story behind the Games:
The word ‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’ and embodies the fighting spirit of our wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women. They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven that by embracing each other and the support of family and friends, they can reclaim their future. They are Invictus.
Most of us will never know the horrors of combat. Horrors so great that many servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible, while serving their countries, while serving us. How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries? How can we challenge perceptions and send a positive message about life beyond disability to an international audience?
More of the story can be read on this link.
But, I wish to look at one of the, shall we say, back stories behind the poem ‘Invictus’ chosen as the poem for the Games. The poem is by William Ernest Henley and the Invictus Games website tells us that Henley…
was himself an amputee and the poem reflects his long battle with illness. The title means “unconquered” and the 16 short lines of the poem encapsulate the indefatigable human spirit, which is at the heart of the Invictus Games.
For more about Henley see The Poetry Foundation biographical notes. An excerpt of his poem, ‘Invictus’ is below:
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.
The full text can be found here.
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After having a month off #WATWB it is good to be back. I missed it!
Ever thought of doing an ice bucket challenge
Or a water fight with flour?
Then read on.
While flying home from the Portuguese Camino I got to binge the in-flight entertainment on Qatar Airways. This included movies and some TED Talks. One of the TED’s that struck me was on saving water by Lana Mazarhreh. Lana grew up in Jordan and knows about being water wise. Oh, yes… and about that ice bucket challenge too! Her TED talk can be listened to here.
Lana begins by talking of the experience of Capetown in South Africa. Afterwards she talks of other countries. She gives some handy hints along the way. Some may dispute her strategies. This can be tested and we all know that numerous strategies are needed to tackle complex problems.
Many of the countries participating in this #WATWB know cycles of droughts and floods. Some of us know of where there are vast quantities of water that is unsuitable for safe consumption. I thought it timely that I saw Lana’s TED talk and am glad to offer it in this post.
Thanks to the Poetry Foundation for a poem on water. The selection is ‘The Water Diviner’ by Dannie Abse. Full text here. Excerpt below.
The Water Diviner
Late, I have come to a parched land
doubting my gift, if gift I have,
the inspiration of water
spilt, swallowed in the sand.
To hear once more water trickle,
to stand in a stretch of silence
the divining pen twisting in the hand:
sign of depths alluvial.
Water owns no permanent shape,
sags, is most itself descending;
now, under the shadow of the idol,
dry mouth and dry landscape.
No rain falls with a refreshing sound
to settle tubular in a well,
elliptical in a bowl. No grape
lusciously moulds it round.
Our cohosts for this month are Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Mary J. Giese and Roshan Radhakrishnan. Please do visit their posts and join in the sharing of stories.
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Beauty is found in airline seats
Where a little family greets us
On their way to London Town.
Their mother’s eyes aglow with the beauty
One may know is her love for her little ones.
Beauty is found in an accent recognised
In a bustling bus queue
As a lovely Darwin female says
“Join me here.”
Beauty is found in the methodical air of
A stewardess following the line
Of passengers to check that all
Are there to enter the deck aboard.
Her beauty is seen in her assiduousness
To not leave out a single one.
One other scene of beauty is enjoyed
By staff employed in a restaurant
As the first diners arrive.
All care descends as they strive
To share and explain all there is to name
On menu and wine list.
It wasn’t to be missed
But miss them we did after retiring from their care.
Simon C.J. Falk 28 September 2018