The photo above is William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
“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: a waste of desert sand;
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
wind 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?”
I find there is something visceral about Yeat’s poem “The Second Coming”, his words and phrases reach into my gut, grab hold, and demand my attention. His poem has been often quoted when people write about social change. “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold… The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” These lines seem to perfectly describe events unfolding today. Yeats wrote this poem after the end of the First World War, a time of great social and civil unrest. The poem captures more than just political unrest and violence of his time.
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