The Second Coming — W. B Yeats

From the Book: The Collected Poems of 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?

gyre n.
1. A circular or spiral form; a vortex: “rain swirling the night into tunnels and gyres” (Anthony Hyde).
2. A circular or spiral motion, especially a circular ocean current.

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. ”

That sounds familiar.

(2014 Update: I seem to have posted this poem twice. I must have been REALLY passionate about it.)

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