Sunday, February 21, 2010

Obsessed with the Haka

I am now obsessed with the New Zealand All Blacks doing their pre-game Haka.  I have even less interest in Rugby than I do football, but when I first saw this during the movie "Invictus" I was mesmerized by the primal nature of these men throwing down a challenge, and by my own visceral response to watching it.  There are dozens of versions available on youtube, but this is one of my favorites because of the quality and because of the translation provided. 

The way I feel when I see it is very much like the feeling I've had whenever witnessing a Bahamian Junkanoo.  The pulsating rhtyhm makes me feel like I could just be swept away and forget everything else around me.  It's slightly scary, yet truly invigorating.

Speaking of Invictus, after seeing the movie I also could not get the poem from which the movie took it's name, by the English Poet William Ernest Henley out of my head:
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.

I love the line - "I thank whatever gods may be for my inconquerable soul."  Isn't the human spirit magnificient?

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