Yeats was on to something…

I (sort of, loosely) just missed writing in the month of  February (I so want to write at least once a month). Shoot! And I even had a leap day…

I’d like to share a poem with you: “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats, written in 1919.

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?

From the first time I read this poem it has been one of my favorites. It captures the tenor of our times quite well, doesn’t it? My favorite line is “The falcon cannot hear the falconer.” We spiral out, getting further and further away from the voice we ought to be listening to. Then hate and fear grow until it feels as if things are falling apart. Innocence is lost and we struggle to stand up for what is right. The worst parts of ourselves are loud, passionate, and intense, while the better parts hide quietly.

As the poem turns into the second stanza, I’m loving the strength of that repetition:

“Surely some revelation is at hand;                                                                                                  Surely the Second Coming is at hand.                                                                                           The Second Coming!”

I sense change and justice in those words. We stand in hope and faith that they will come. The lion with the head of a man is not a comforting figure, but he has the strength and power to make things right, which is something I think many of us long for.

Writing about this poem makes me think about how we all have those pieces of art that touch our souls and say what we can’t quite express. Do you have a song, novel, poem, essay, or painting that really speaks to you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

More to come soon- in the next 30 days I’m celebrating my 5th anniversary AND my best friend is getting married! Whoopee!