It seems that I tend to post this once in a while, and there’s usually good reason each time. Aside from the fact that this is one of my all-time favorite poems, for me it also calls up a reality check. I’m not alone in that fact, either. And, I have always loved the version that Joni Mitchell arranged, so today I am posting that with the text of the poem. Read deep.
We humans have enough of a history that shows how clearly we are capable of existential damage to each other, as well as our environment. I don’t believe there is anything particularly prophetic in this poem/song, but there are some huge reminders.
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?