Clareified

Where does the good go

The Second Coming

I feel wretched.
I can’t see the doctor until tomorrow, made some poor choices about over the counter medications and now I’m afraid to sleep because there may be contraindications and I might not wake up. I’m kidding. Mostly.
FYI: Comtrex is the suck.
Anyway, I’ve already published my favorite poem about death, so I’ll just go ahead and republish my favorite poem. Or as Kanye West would say “Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn is nice and imma let you finish, but Yeats is the best poet ending in “eats” of all time.”

I used to know all the words of this poem by heart, it is so ominous, yet full of a curious optimistic hope:
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 Spritus 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?

What was it making its way? The future? The apocalypse? Salvation? Who knows, but you can see it…anticipate it, even…All through college I would throw my hands up at any problem, shrug my shoulders and say “things fall apart.” What? It’s true. They do. Here today, stabbed to death in your bathtub tomorrow.
Also, the line about “the best lacking conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity,” always makes me think about American politics. The Democrats with their never ending willingness to compromise; Republicans with their insistence of divine command theory. This is no way to govern. The center cannot hold. After 20 centuries, something better this way comes.

9 Responses to “The Second Coming”

  1. Angela Says:

    Wow, even with all your help I just DO NOT GET poetry. That jumble of words forms no image in my mind. I must be missing that part of the brain. I wonder what I got instead? I’m pretty sure it’s extreme karaoke skills.

    Even so, I still look forward to your poetry Wednesdays because I have faith that one day, I will get it. (Not bloody likely.)

  2. Fisch Says:

    That’s one of my fave poems as well. For some reason, the words “its hour come round at last” brings up such a feeling of evil dread and foreboding within me…love it.

  3. Dawn Summers Says:

    Heh, all you need to do is memorize one line from each poem and you can successfully fake your way in most circles. With this one it’s “the center cannot hold” or “things fall apart.”

  4. VinNay Says:

    Something better this way comes? It’s a slouching, rough beast. More like something wicked this way comes.

  5. Dawn Summers Says:

    Wicked, huh? Maybe it’s fisch making a return?

  6. Fisch Says:

    Yea. I ate Doris.

  7. Annika Says:

    Yeah this is a tough one. But it’s necessary just so you can know where all those “slouching towards…” references come from. Nice KanyeWestism btw!

    Get well soon babe!

  8. Pearatty Says:

    Yeah, I always read this one as saying we’re so messed up, the coming of the anti-christ is more likely than the second coming.

    This really is the best line for thinking: “The best lack all conviction while the worst /Are full of passionate intensity.”

    The best line for feeling: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,/Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”

    Angela, I had the problem of visualizing anything with this poem too, when I first read it. Eventually, I started picturing a weird distorted Dali/Bruegel-esqe desert landscape, with cracks opening up in the earth and people and demons all running around like headless chickens and the Sphinx coming alive and something big and scary forming and making a move.

    Good one — one of my favorites.

  9. Pearatty Says:

    Ooh, some internet research reveals that I probably meant a Dali/Bruegel/Bosch-esque desert landscape.

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