Proust Questionnaire Number Seven

Proust Quote:
“Our intonations contain our philosophy of life, what each of us is constantly telling himself about things.”

Confessions Question:
Your favorite poets.

Confidences Question:
My favorite poets.

Proust’s Answer:
Baudelaire and Alfred de Vigny

I’m not sure that there are any poets that I have “discovered” this year. My affection for William Ernest Henley grew over this past weekend after I saw a movie based on one of his short poems. I had heard the last lines of this poem before, but I don’t believe that I had read the whole thing before.


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.

The title is Latin for unconquered. On Monday mornings I struggle to leave my bed as my body is sore after Sunday night’s basketball game I feel like a bit of a wuss, because William Ernest Henley wrote this poem. William Ernest Henley wrote this poem despite suffering from tuberculosis. He wrote this poem despite having his foot amputated directly below the knee. He wrote this poem despite having lived for 30 years with an artificial foot. William Ernest Henley wrote this poem from a hospital bed. And I wince a little bit on Monday mornings because my back is a bit tender.

Of course, my fondness for the poetry of local poet Dawn Krause has increased this year as well. I encourage you to check out her writings on her blog: Impassioned Versifier

One of my favorites of Dawn’s poems:

Finding Inspiration

To be creative I must waste my time
Clear my head and be sublime
Find my muse and set it free
Let the words come in to me
Venture mourning and venture death
Give every word it’s living breath

Of course there is also the poem that this picture slightly inspired…

Thelma & Louise

Louise a waitress in small town
Not known to be much of a clown
Thelma married without a life
Is miserable as Daryl’s wife

Drive away for weekend retreat
No clue of what fate they’ll meet
Encounter with a macho cad
Turned their weekend from good to bad

A girl cries like that she’s not happy
Keeps the movie from turning sappy
Stop his words and gun him down
Hurry up and get out of town

A hint at Louise’s secret past
Cop with pity wants to help them last
To Mexico they must make haste
Avoiding Texas time to waste

Make a stop to get some money
Thelma finds herself a honey
Sexual awakening for our gal
She learns too late he’s not a pal

Money gone and time running short
To rob a store their last resort
Thelma shows off her new learned skill
Cops closing in armed for the kill

Comic relief in the truck driver
His gestures insult every nine to fiver
Final standoff with obscene man
Set ablaze his rolling gas can

Thelma, Louise in their car sit
Symbolizing fear and grit
A friendship till it’s dying day
That’s something fate can’t take away

There are days when I fancy myself somewhat of a wordsmith, but poetry just isn’t in my arsenal. There are days that I wish that it was, but most days I’m thankful that other people have put words together in a way that is pleasing to me and they save me the struggle of having to try to do it myself.

3 thoughts on “Proust Questionnaire Number Seven”

  1. I read a wonderful book earlier this summer, and really found a lot of mysel in the poem "Aftor Labor Day" by Sydney Lea. I can get you the text of the passage that I found moving, if you want.

  2. Angie,

    I would be very interested in reading that poem.


    If anything, I give you too little credit.

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