And as Y2K draws near...
(Poem #289) 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: 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?
from Michael Robartes and the Dancer, 1921. A rather nightmarish vision of the Apocalypse - it sends shivers down my spine. thomas. [Links] There's been a lot of Yeats done on this list: 'The Song of Wandering Aengus' was the very first poem I ever sent out, almost a year ago - poem #1 'Sailing to Byzantium' - poem #21 - and 'Byzantium' - poem #60 are masterpieces of dense, evocative imagery. Universally beloved are 'An Irish Airman Foresees His Death' - poem #32 - and 'The Ballad of Father Gilligan' - poem #237 My all-time favourite Yeats poem (and one of my favourite poems ever) is 'Red Hanrahan's Song about Ireland' - poem #79