Friday, 15 July 2016


The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

W. B Yeats, 1921

A few thoughts:

1. Beauty points to truth, whether the author intends it or not.

2. Yeats always strikes me as a man with a blindfold, groping about and creating a strange mythology from the shapes he feels, but incapable of the act of will necessary to remove the blindfold, or even aware of it as a possibility. A bit like how my entire English Lit class was unable to answer our professor what should have been blindingly obvious, namely that Dover Beach was about the absence of God (nope, didn't even cross our minds).

3. "Mere anarchy" strikes me today. A lesser poet would have said "sheer anarchy". But that's what anarchy is, petty and less than.

4. We're fine. The family's fine, they hadn't gone to see the fireworks. I don't know how many more times I'll stomach having to write these words this year, though.