October 17, 2005

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...

While I usually use my own words to describe how I am feeling, what is going on in my life, or my rant du jour, I have recently become unable to get this poem out of my head, as it covers so much of my life and the world as I see it.

The Second Coming
-- W. B. 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?


Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said...

My father has a saying, "Life consists of a series of small miracles."

That's my response to the Yeats poem. I often feel the way that Yeats presumably was feeling when he wrote it.

But somehow the center does hold, if just barely. Somehow the rough beast is held at arm's length, harrassing us from the periphery, while day-to-day our lives tick along — if not perfectly, at least acceptably well.

You'd have to know the family history to fully appreciate my father's saying. He has known a lot of setbacks and even tragedy over the course of his life (he's now 75). And still, when he looks back his dominant impression is that he has somehow, surprisingly, gotten by … through that series of small miracles.

9:06 AM  
Blogger frog said...


12:45 PM  

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