Poetry: The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats

I finished Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe Monday, this poem is a fitting salute to a marvellous and moving novel.

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?

 

4 thoughts on “Poetry: The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats

  1. Legitimately one of the creepiest poems I have ever read. (Poe is sad that I’ve said that — sorry, Poe! but it’s true!) I love it, but man it creeps me out. Those last two lines make quite an awful visual in my mind.

    Like

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