Sunday, November 06, 2005

Come Again?

This shows up probably on a monthly basis over in the Eschaton comments, and I've always liked Yeats, so here it is in its entirety:

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 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
Printings: The Dial (Chicago), November 1920; The Nation (London), 6 November 1920; Michael Robartes and the Dancer (Dundrum: Cuala, 1921); Later Poems (London: Macmillan, 1922; 1924; 1926; 1931).

For those that may be further interested there is some useful commentary here and some insights down in the posted comments, here.

Lines 7 and 8 seem to see the most action these days.

I will leave with one observation of my own about the poem: falcons have no need for falconers.


PaedsRN said...

I'm trying to think of the SF novel that used the last two lines in one of those pithy start of chapter quotes, or after the dedication, but can't remember for the life of me. A Google will no doubt yield thousands of undergrad English Lit papers so that's no use.

Maybe Greg Bear?

Love it though... 'slouches'. Amazing mental image.

Thanks for linking GeekNurse BTW.

dorsano said...

interesting post.