A Poem For Our Times

Yeats wrote his poem The Second Coming in the aftermath of World War I in 1919, but I think it has special resonance in the closing years of the Obama administration:



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 convictions, 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?

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  1. The reference to his mystical occultic belief in ” Spiritus Mundi” does seem to make this a poem for these times. People debate about Islam and Christianity in this administration and in the world, but the new ageism of this last century has been a largely unrecognized part of the spiritual war.

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