Poetry Sunday: The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats

I have featured this poem here before in 2018, but as events unfolded over the past week, it's the poem that kept coming to mind. It has never seemed more apropos.

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?


  1. It is indeed a poem that has seemed apropos far too often. How many more times are cities going to have to burn before equality and justice are achieved for all? How many times? How many times? How many times? "The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned." Your country I fear, Dorothy, is in terminal decline.

    1. It is certainly in decline. Whether it is terminal remains to be seen. Will we be able to rouse ourselves to throw out the greedy, amoral bastards who are destroying the country from within? We'll see finally whether the center can hold.

  2. This was too perfect, considering that the poem was written in 1919, during a great pandemic. Now, we do not know if our center will hold.

    1. It is quite eerie considering the similarities between the time when it was written and now.

  3. This poem is so fitting for right now! Couldn't have chosen better!


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