Saturday, November 21, 2020

Poetry Sunday: The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

This is one of William Butler Yeats' most famous poems. I have featured it here before, but it seems especially appropriate to these times when "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned..." So here it is again.

The Second Coming

by William Butler Yeats   

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?

10 comments:

  1. This poem has been so impacteful. It has seeped into our culture. It is indeed a part of how we talk about things falling apart. Reading it, I can see why it has been so influential.

    Let us hope that our current times do not continue to be representative of what is described here.

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    Replies
    1. We could all wish for a time when the worst are not so full of "passionate intensity."

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  2. A well known verse, Dorothy,, oft repeated yet ever true, perhaps never more than it is today.

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  3. Sadly, still relevant. It seems like you posted this only yesterday...

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it hasn't been that long, but the poem has haunted me recently.

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  4. Replies
    1. It speaks to almost any time in human history, so, yes, its fame is well-deserved.

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  5. I can see why this is so famous. It's very well deserved!

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