Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An ode to Mrs. Cannon -OR- re-re-recycling

"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 punishment the scroll
I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul."

Invictus- William Henley 1875

The first real hurdle to overcome. 11 years old, in front of the sternest of stern, dour, demanding English teacher ever, 51 peers as audience and judges, and the looming horror of public speaking. Eyes glazed, brain fogged, still something of a stutterer, the words began as they were written.
Out of the darkness.

Fighting to emerge from beneath the dread that had been building since the task was assigned. Mattressed by "winning" the lottery. TWICE. Once for the day of the process I was to perform. Again for the "honor" of going first. Stepping to what would pass for the podium, turning to face row upon row of my classmates, seeing Mrs. Cannon, clipboard in hand, raise her hand for quiet.

Then, only a vague detached sense of beginning and ending. Still on my feet.

Today, I'm sure that minute eternity would be video archived for my permanent record. A learning experience. Primitive survival. Indelibly burned into my ethos.
Wow, that was excruciating.

I will draw upon that life experience and again, Henley's words, with each tick of the clock for the next 5 days, 15 hours....

Thank you Mrs. Cannon.

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