Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Second Coming -- W. B. Yeats

...I'm sure that you've read about Sandra Day O'connor's resignation from the Supremes and the partisan shift of legislative parity implied therein. (I wrote this a week or so ago so bear with me). This might be that "worst-case scenario" that got people's skin leaking last November but all that's in the rearview mirror; the Rubicon's been crossed...Move along...nothing to see here...or is it? The former and the piercing shriek of hundreds of political daggers getting sharpened in D.C. in preparation for the impending "court room wars" reminds me of a piece by Yeats that typifies the heightened sense of forboding many are starting to feel...


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 convictions,
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?, now the falcon has circled back to peck the eyes out of the falconer with such fury that the mighty Sphinx, himself, may soon arise from its millennia-plus slumber. While I deem the concept of "Judgement Day" questionable, and I'm certain that I'm not the religious type, I won't rule it out either. (I could be all kinds of wrong, yo.) The first time I read this piece as a child in the 70's I hadn't a clue of what the author was implying...but the macabre feel and that closing sentence gave me goose-bumps anyway -- still does...Years later, I got the zap on my dome when I "really got it." In reviewing Yeats' piece more recently, I started to wonder what the Sphinx, that mythical beast of stone W.B. refers to, might embody if it chose to just get up and go; start moon stomping all over us humans like Godzilla in downtown Tokyo. What would he embody? The good guys or the bad guys? Them or us? Would he stop and ask what our political affiliations were before doing so or would he just hulk-out indiscriminately? Guess we'll find out...I gotta run...yeah, I'm running out of's getting dark, Uncle Fester's stuck in the chimney and Rod Serling's knocking on the screen door trying to bum cigarettes -- again...Laters

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Blogger mj said...

you did it again, got me going on so much i had to move it to my own blog.
check it when you can.

7:44 PM, August 04, 2005  

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