The Second Coming
This poem by Yeats is very dark indeed. Yeats lived from 1865 to 1939 – some of those days must have seemed apocalyptic to many. In spite of the problems in our world, though, we continue to live in hope. Advent is the time of looking for that hope, and the symbol is the birth of a tiny and vulnerable child. And so I repeat the use of an image that I created months ago and posted here on March 7th, during Lent. And try as I might, I can’t find amongst my photos anything that captures the sense of the Yeats’ poem better than this.
The Second Comingby William Butler YeatsTurning and turning in the widening gyreThe 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 everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity.Surely some revelation is at hand;Surely the Second Coming is at hand:The Second Coming! Hardly are those words outWhen a vast image out of Spiritus MundiTroubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desertA 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 itReel shadows of the indignant desert birds.The darkness drops again; but now I knowThat twenty centuries of stony sleepWere vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Source:The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats, W.B. Yeats. New York: Simon &Schuster, 1996 – found on the Education for Justice website.