Monday, June 11, 2012

The Second Coming

This age, our age, hurries towards its long prophesied denouement... like a global Titanic steaming full speed through a sea of icebergs and disregarding any notion of consequences.  Soon enough, one of them will appear out of the darkness ahead.  There's no hope of a safe arrival - though some must survive.  Through some lightly regarded miracle the world has avoided the collision with reality that it's strained every muscle to ignore, if not avoid.  But as someone once said: You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

William Butler Yeats wrote The Second Coming as a reflection on the world following WWI.  He died shortly before WWII... and long before WWIII.


               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?

William Butler Yeats

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