I can be pretty hypocritically judge-y sometimes.
Like when I scroll through my Facebook feed, and I see that one of my friends has not only taken but also posted the results to one of those inane online quizzes. Something along the lines of What Color Is Your Aura/What Russian Aristocrat Were You In a Former Life/What Kind of Sandwich Are You/What Would Your Drunk Game of Thrones Porn Star Cat’s Name Be?
When I see that someone has touted to all in cyberspace that they are, indeed, a ham on rye – just like they knew they’d be! – I’ll admit to a little eye-roll here and there. I might even smirk or let slip a “Heh, sucker!” under my breath while my cat looks on in uninterrupted boredom.
And then I gleefully take the quiz.
I might even post the results. Because who doesn’t want to know that I am really Alice in Wonderland and I should live in Paris and also in a cottage by the sea with no children and three cats?
So color me surprised when I happened upon a quiz the other day where I actually learned something not only useful but also inspiring – What Famous Poem Was Written About You?
Full disclosure – I’ve never really liked poetry all that much. I try, I really do. I really want to like it. I’m an actor and a writer, after all. I’m supposed to like it. But often I don’t get it. I read it, and it makes no sense. Like Shakespeare. I’ve been studying Shakespeare for 20 years. I’ve performed in many Shakespeare plays. I know what a spondee is. Hell, I’ve taught the stuff. But I didn’t really get it or like it until a few years ago when I played Olivia in Twelfth Night. In the span of a few short weeks it all kind of clicked together for me and I had one of those “Aha, Come to Jesus” experiences. The words suddenly made perfect sense and so beautifully articulated the soul of this character it felt like a gift to be able to say them out loud every night. So I like Shakespeare now. And I get it (kind of sometimes).
I saw this quiz and I thought, okay, let’s just see what kind of poem the programmer’s algorithm comes up with. After answering all the usual things like “What kind of writing utensil would you use?” and “What decade fascinates you?”, the quiz did it’s little bubbly, calculation-thingy as though it was actually thinking, and it spit out this:
Invictus by William Ernest Henley
It’s embarrassing to admit that I did not know the poem or the poet, and that I had to look it up. Go ahead and judge me, I deserve it.
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 was transfixed reading it. This poem speaks to me so clearly and straight to my heart. And while I’ve heard the last two lines before, I did not know the whole thing. I felt pretty stupid, but also like I was just given this huge gift. I’m eager to explore more of Henley’s work, and endeavor to learn a little bit more about this unconquerable soul of mine.
So, yeah. I’m the “quietly judging you but still taking them” kind of Facebook quizzes. What kind are you?