A Wonderful World!

In life's lessons about Hills and Valleys, the sharpness of both pain and joy sometimes gets blunted out of perspective. Sometimes one comes across words or music that remind you of this sharpness. This morning was one of those times. So instead of my usual pop-spiritual rants, hackneyed lifehacks, or laughable attempts at satire, I thought I would share with you two uplifting pieces of creative work that found me this morning.

View of our balcony through our bedroom door, the first sight that greets us every morning

First, I re-encountered the poem by William Ernest Henley, (made famous by Morgan Freeman's rendition in the film of the same name) Invictus which were recently tweeted by a fellow traveler, Ratnakar Sadsyula (@Scorpiusmaximus). These lines have been looking back at me from a postcard-sized printout on my work desk for nearly two years, and have given me hope and courage during my darkest and most difficult times. I was reminded by the tweet that though I have been living out of the strength that these lines have given me, I have never shared this with the readers of my blog. Therefore, without any further delay, here they are:


*****
Invictus

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 second set of words and music that I encountered were from an old post by an astute young blogger called Rohan who blogs at A Learning A Day, basically lyrics and a video link to an all time classic. This is Louis Armstrong introducing and singing What a Wonderful World. I am reproducing the spoken introduction and the lyrics below the video, but you really have to listen to the recording to get a sense of how it will make you feel. Go ahead, you can't be that busy...



Some of you young folks been saying to me,
"Hey Pops, what you mean 'What a wonderful world'?
How about all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful?
And how about hunger and pollution? That ain't so wonderful either."

Well how about listening to old Pops for a minute. Seems to me, it aint the world that's so bad but what we're doin' to it.

And all I'm saying is, see, what a wonderful world it would be if only we'd give it a chance. Love baby, love. That's the secret, yeah. If lots more of us loved each other, we'd solve lots more problems. And then this world would be better.

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah!”

 *****

Hope you enjoyed what I had to offer in this post. Let me know what you think in the comments. Have a wonderful life, dear reader, and may the road always rise to meet your feet. On the SJD anvil, a post on how to manage time, a post on how to write a killer (not literally) resume, and a guest post on how to handle adolescent temper tantrums. Stay tuned, stay protected, and stay cool.

28 comments:

  1. manjudasgupta8:12 AM

    The plant has really grown tall . What plant is it ?lovely post . Life truly is wonderful.love u. ma

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  2. Beautiful post...I simply loved the picture. I must say the view of your balcony is simply superb. Must be a sure shot mood changer early in the morning.

    Loved the lines ' I am the master of my fate:I am the captain of my soul.'. How true that is....will remember these lines in times of my trouble!

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  3. I loved this SO deeply. I absolutely love louis amstrongs song, I paused the lullaby anika was listening to and played this for us. It was love baby, love!and I am so glad for the poem that i've not heard before. Thanks! :-)

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  4. @Manjudasgupta - That is the tulsi on top, with crocuses at the bottom and money plant in between.

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  5. @Me - Appreciate your taking time out to comment. The small pleasures of life sometime get lost in the overwhelming clutter of things to complain about. GLad you liked the poem.

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  6. @Betweenlifesdoings - Anika's spiritual education advances another step! I am so happy that this post brought some joy into your lives, Aarathi. And the poem is truly inspiring.

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  7. wahh...
    It's a wonderful day and by saying that, it gives a positive energy..
    glad to read it by beginning of the day

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  8. Very impacting indeed; Invictus. The words will linger for long in my mind. Maybe I should read this post first thing every morning.

    Thanks for sharing these 2 works of art with us all. Have a wonderful life too, dear writer :)

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  9. Great of you to share. Incidentally, my 13 year old son thinks that the song "What a wonderful world" is the best one ever sung.

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  10. @D - We have started our days with these lines of Invictus every single day for the last couple of years. And trust me, we have been able to see ourselves through some real dark times, with hope, courage, optimism, and faith. Thanks for taking time to leave a comment, Divya.

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  11. @Vishal Kataria - An absolute delight to see your comment here. Like I replied to D's comment above, I have walked through some weird roads with the help of these lines.

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  12. @Raghu - Kids like yours are proof that there is hope! Glad that you liked it. In my scheme of things, this version by Louis Armstrong competes with Ella Fitzgerald's Cry Me a River and Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit for best sung song; maybe your son will want to give those a listen in case he already hasn't.

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  13. There's a certain sweetness and innocence to the plants in the balcony, this along satchmo take it to another level.

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  14. Absolutely...life is wonderful indeed :))
    Early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet for you...nice picture :)

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  15. Thanks for sharing the video, loved it :)

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  16. The song's okay but the "Bloody, but unbowed" business sounds a bit thick, isn't it? A rather Casabianca type approach to life. I personally would prefer to engineer an arrangement both "Unbloody, and unbowed" if you please.

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  17. Wonderful poetry. I'm a fan of both the poems and the song. Just yesterday I was reading this poem written by William Ernest Henley. Made me happy to read about it again on your blog :)

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  18. I loved the poem, the song and the inspiration. The morning is a very important part of the day. And if it starts with an inspiration like this, not much can go wrong. Thank you. :)

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  19. inspiring post. i m so moved in every line of statement and so from poetry ..

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  20. Positive. Uplifting. A feel-good post. I'd heard a wonderful world before and liked it too. But never had I listened to the words, like I did to day. Love does make it a wonderful world.

    This post does lift our moods. Thankk you.

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  21. @ghazala - Welcome to SJD. Glad you liked the video. Hope you will keep coming back for more.

    @saikat - Thanks for your comment, Saikat.

    @Jyothismusing - I hope your day went off really good.

    @Jasmeet - Thanks, and I am glad you liked the post.

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  22. @Sandeep - Those plants have been playing our song every day like fellow travelers and have been a constant source of encouragement to us. And like Satchmo says, What you play is life.

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  23. @Panchalibolchi - Thanks for your kind words, and it is truly mystic, we stay at Panjagutta, less than 200 yards from one of the noisiest, busiest, and most polluted junction in Hyderabad, yet, it is an island of tranquility indeed.

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  24. @Rahul - I quite agree, unbloody and unbowed would really be nice. On a relative scale though, bloody and unbowed would rank higher than bloody and bowed. Nice to see you frequenting SJD again!!

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  25. @Neha - One of my inspirations is the work done by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, who said that all events are blessings given to us to learn from. Interesting "coincidence" that you came across the poem again.

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  26. @D.Nambiar - I shared this post primarily to help myself put things in perspective. I am so happy that in the process it has uplifted you and so many others. What more can a blogger ask for?

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  27. Wow! You read my mind! Invictus is my favourite poem.
    Regarding lyrics, I like the songs of Simon & Garfunkel and Neil Diamond, perhaps especially "I am I said".

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