If ever a poem felt right on the money — despite entirely different times and circumstances in which it was written — WB Yeats’ The Second Coming’ is breathtakingly prescient…
“The best lack all conviction while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity”
It’s like the man was alive today… And, then of course, there’s the closer:
“What rough beast, it’s hour come round at last,
Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”
What rough beast indeed…
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 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?