A Warning from 1919

Written in 1919, Yeats’ poem carries as much warning in December 2020 as ever. We have a president who lost but flames the fires of his MAGA worshipers. Not even United State Senators will call for calm but remain silent for reasons of greed and power. Read The Second Coming and ponder its warning of things falling apart because the center, our democracy, is being torn apart and will not hold under such an onslaught.

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?

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