While listening to the TV news this evening, one word struck me as
appropriate: CHAOS. This somehow caused me to recall the great poem by
William Butler Yeats entitled “The Second Coming.” Without too much
difficulty I located my copy of the Yeats “Collected Poems” in a
basement semi-office (i.e., with an old computer), and not so strangely
found that there was a single bookmark inside the book at page 215 where
that poem appears. That told me that CHAOS is not new, but has been
around for a while. Here is the poem, which seems more relevant day by
day. The images confirm that this is neither a religious nor a sectarian
poem. It is historically a political poem, and what we need today.
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 the 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?
Robert V. Keeley