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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Second Coming

On the Heroes season premier, Mohinder reads Yeats' amazing poem, "The Second Coming." It fit the story line of the show, for certain, with evil brewing, people groping at power and wreaking havoc with their carelessness, etc. After hearing it the other night, I went to my book of collected Yeats work, and couldn't help but notice that it's even more relevant to our current political/economic/everything terrifying situation in real life. Yeats wrote it as the ruling class in Europe was on the decline, in the aftermath of the first World War, as revolutions and uprisings were happening all around the world and all around him. I've found myself revisiting the Modernists a lot lately.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center 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?

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